18/06/2017 – Challenging sailing!

The challenge we are facing on this leg is to keep Starblazer moving as far as possible without reverting to the engine. Friday morning’s efforts are a bit more than our normal cruising behaviour though probably familiar to racers. It was a foggy morning, we only saw the ship passing 1.5 miles behind us as a blurred outline though he knew we were there. AIS is a wonderful tool; we had received notification of his details and a CPA (Closest Point of Approach) of between 0.1nM (18.4 metres) and half a mile when he was 12 miles away. John called him up and he offered to alter course to starboard to pass safely behind us. The separation between us increased when the wind piped up a bit and we sailed at a speedy 6 knots for about a quarter of an hour. Ocne he was clear of us we altered course to aim for a new waypoint a little further east, as the new GRIB file suggested no strong headwinds in a few days’ time and the possibility of keeping the weak but usable breeze for another day or so. The new heading brought the wind aft of midships so we decided to try the cruising chute since John has repaired the stem head fitting damaged last time we used the chute. Unfortunately we still had the inner forestay attached, in readiness for the staysail if the strong headwinds materialised, which made pulling up the sock to allow the chute to fly rather difficult. The wind was a bit variable, the mainsail kept blocking the air flow to the chute so it kept collapsing and cuddling the inner forestay! I succeeded in pulling the sock most of the way up before it stuck, possibly because it was wet from being stored on deck. Ten minutes later we decided to snuff the chute, pack it back in the bag and pull the genoa back out on the pole to port. Half an hour later we had to gybe the genoa which meant rolling it away, attaching the pole on the starboard side, sorting out the sheet so it goes through the aft block then back to the winch and pulling the sail back out. This represents several days’ worth of activity for us, well not quite but certainly several hours’ worth. After lunch we changed the waypoint again, this time heading straight for Camaret as we expected to be motoring in the very near future! We decided to plan on 100 mile day’s so needed an average of just over 4 knots which we maintained until about 0300, then the average dropped to about 3 knots. Sadly the day’s run was only 83 nM towards the waypoint mainly because we had been heading further north for half the time and then suffered very weak winds. We continued sailing until 1800 on Saturday when we had to give up but at least we had conserved some diesel. The highlight of Saturday afternoon was undoubtedly the whale! I looked up and saw a black shape, not the normal dolphin shape. It wasn’t terribly close but you could clearly see the square head with the blow hole right at the front, no obvious fin on its back and a definite whale shaped tail when he dived. My book of Atlantic species clearly identified it as a Sperm Whale. Saturday morning was a cooking frenzy on my part, a loaf of bread for lunch and an old fashion bread pudding (English version not American which is closer to a French Pain Perdu or English bread and butter pudding). My mother used to make a large one every week, baking it in the meat tray; we used to call it ‘thud’ because that’s the noise it made if you dropped it. I’d discovered on Friday that the large white loaf was stale so a quick e-mail resulted in Richard sending a recipe very quickly. A check of the lockers confirmed I had all the ingredients so I made it on Saturday. It tastes just like I remember from more than half a century ago! It’s also not too unhealthy if you only eat small slices as it is low in both fat and sugar compared with a normal cake, just possibly more heavily laden with carbs. On a food note, Friday’s dinner was beefburgers with spiced couscous and ratatouille. Saturday’s dinner was pork chops with chilli apple sauce, mashed potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli. Joyce

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18/06/2017 – Challenging sailing! — 1 Comment

  1. Old bread pudding recipe was rather heavy with suet, but those juicy sultanas and raisins make it a healthy option, shame others do not agree with me

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