25/05/2017 – Not all about the weather!

Days seven and eight were a great improvement on the previous few days, at least in terms of weather. The seas calmed down to about 2-3 metres, the winds dropped and eventually all but disappeared for most of Wednesday. We made the most of having to use the engine to fully charge the batteries and make a tank full of water. The day’s run, Tuesday to Wednesday, was a paltry 122 nM, aided by 6 hours of motoring early in the morning. Wednesday to Thursday wasn’t much better, 128 nM with far more engine hours! VMG is a term used to describe the average speed towards the destination, the day’s run is calculated as the distance travelled towards the waypoint, therefore our VMG for the two days was 5.2 knots, not good. We have, in fact, travelled much further and faster but not quite in the right direction. ..... ..... Wednesday was a productive day. As it was a lot calmer we both had showers, something which is hazardous in rough conditions. They say, you know you are a cruiser when the doctor notices your numerous bruises and mentions spousal abuse! I then did the washing and hung it across the back of the boat. In the afternoon I made up a large batch of chewy bars, very tasty but not good for the diet. It was also a lot warmer, we spent the day in t-shirts and trousers (not warm enough for shorts!) rather than fleeces. When the sun went down it rapidly became quite chilly again. Wednesday was also a day of celebration. Just on 0800 we reached the halfway point to the waypoint from Bermuda. For breakfast I made up some American style pancakes, served with poached eggs, grilled BACK bacon and maple syrup flavoured Golden Syrup! It’s worth shouting out about the bacon. In the USA you can only get streaky rashers or very small, expensive medallions. I found this British made back bacon in the freezer in the small supermarket in Nanny Cay in the BVI. It’s actually not the best but it easily beats the 50-75% fat content of US streaky! ..... ..... The kicker that holds the boom down when the mainsail tries to lift it has a wire rope in its block and tackle. This finally succumbed to old age and overwork and shredded. Fortunately we have some fantastically strong non-stretch rope (Dyneema) that John cut to length and spliced eyes into each end. Job sorted. A full job that involves dismantling a telescopic strut will have to wait for Horta. ..... ..... Also on Wednesday a small pod of dolphins arrived to again entertain us. No major leaps but seeing them always brings a smile as they swim around alongside and in the bow wave. ..... ..... Today’s job was rubbish; that is sorting it compacting it and storing it because the bin was overflowing. The job is not as yucky as it may seem. All food wrappers, milk containers, yogurt pots etc. get washed before being put in the bin, no vegetable or other food waste goes in, so it is just a case of cutting up plastic bottles, yogurt pots etc. and folding wrappings. Scrunched up paper takes up so much more room than folded paper, the same goes for plastic wrappers, cling film and foil. My aim is to have generated only a couple of small bin bags by the time we reach the Azores. ..... ..... We are expecting some more weather, not the nice sort, this evening but by early tomorrow afternoon we should be able to alter course for the Azores. ..... ..... Tuesday’s dinner was an easy meal because it was still rather bouncy, grilled sausages, couscous and ratatouille. Wednesday’s celebration dinner was steak, ranch chips which I cooked in the oven, with green beans and butternut squash followed by a fresh fruit salad with cream. ..... ..... We are happy to be keeping a place in the middle of the fleet as most of the boats should be faster than us. With some rough handicap calculations we really are doing well. Final positions will all depend on how many hours each boat motors for. ..... ..... Joyce

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