29/055/2017 – Going slower

The weather system which affected us Thursday evening and through Friday did leave a very short lived legacy of better speeds but unfortunately the high pressure ridge, which had been pushed south, fairly quickly filled the void left by the departing Low. This brings more settled weather but very little wind and we have been suffering ever since. Day 10, Friday to Saturday, kept reasonable winds through to mid-morning Saturday when we had to resort to the engine. The day’s run was 144 nM, giving us hope of a daylight arrival on Tuesday. Saturday to Sunday was not so good, resulting in our lowest day’s run on this trip of just 110 nM and that’s with some help from the engine! By Sunday noon reality had set in that the chances of a daylight arrival on Tuesday are non-existent, daylight on Wednesday also looks a bit difficult! ..... ..... In an attempt to coax more speed out of Starblazer in these weak fickle winds we keep gybing the main, putting the pole up then down, then up again. We have even used the staysail as well to try to encourage the extra half knot! At least the seas have flattened, though the ocean swell means we still roll. The other boats on the SSB net all seem to be making progress under spinnaker or Parasailor, a fancy expensive type of spinnaker. We cannot handle a spinnaker with just two of us and the cruising chute, if we could fly it, wouldn’t cope with the wind from almost straight behind. ..... ..... One of the amazing things about sailing oceans is the wonderful night sky. There is zero light pollution, even the moon has been turned off for the past few days. In fact, the moon doesn’t rise until just after dawn at the moment and is only about 10% so offers no light. When it was very cloudy the darkness was intense. Now the skies are clear the Milky Way is spectacular in its sheer enormity, with millions of tiny pinpricks of light. I guess we could see it at home if we went to a very isolated area with no ambient lighting. It might even be possible from our garden when the trees are in leaf and hide the motorway services completely. ..... ..... Friday’s dinner was pork cutlets with apple and chilli sauce, potatoes and veg then the cook went on strike on Saturday. It was he Skipper’s turn to cook his speciality, Spaghetti Bolognese, and very tasty it was too. ..... ..... Joyce

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