South Africa to the Caribben – day 48
Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Thursday 9th March was
on a course of 298T with 50% cloud cover.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 139 miles. Average 5.7kts We have 1267 miles to go to Barbados
OK where’s my helicopter? Has no one sent one? Surely you would all realise by now that I would want to get off. You know I don’t like sailing and never will – ok got that off my chest and now we have NE trade winds.
We spent most of yesterday sailing slowly in and out of the clouds. At 3pm the wind disappeared yet again but this time we had to put the engine back on and motor through another patch of the doldrums and the main came down. It was off at 6pm and the sails were back out. We sailed for an hour but the wind kept changing direction and the main sail was flapping badly so at 7pm the engine went back on again. During the evening we were surrounded by a massive cloud system that brought winds from all directions along with a deluge of rain, despite the fact we were now 02 degrees north. It’s been suggested we just motor north until we find the trade winds but the ITCZ doesn’t have a straight edge, it moves, and the gribs aren’t very good at predicting exactly where it is and what’s in it. So we just keep to our course and hope the trade winds come through soon. Bill went to bed while I sat in the cockpit with my umbrella shielding me from the rain coming around the edge of the cover. It was probably our worse night so far on this passage. The sky was so black despite the moon being behind the clouds. It was a difficult decision leaving the main up, it was slatting badly but to take it down would have meant getting Bill up and someone going on deck to sort it. The gooseneck was getting stressed and it’s something we don’t normally do but if it came down it might have to up again in half an hour. So I persevered with changing course all the time trying to keep it inflated. Our track is a really wiggly line. Suddenly at 11.45pm the NE trade winds came from no where, literally, and Camomile was off. I pulled the genny out, turned the engine off and we’ve sailed through the night. Bill was surprised when I woke him at 1am for his watch to see us sailing so well. “Did we have much rain?” I won’t print my answer.
Bill sailed the boat through the night and so far the NE winds have held so we think this is it now. The main sail was reefed this morning and there’s one reef in the genny. We have a F4 on the beam so our speed is on average 6.5kts but we are getting 7 and 8kts regularly. Our course is 300T. Out of the last 96 hours (4 days) we’ve motored 50 hours, of those the last 9 have been motor sailing trying to keep the sails inflated. Should be a fast sail to Barbados hopefully. The GPS has given us an arrival date of 18th right from the beginning but yesterday it slipped to the 19th which was depressing but this morning, with the speed we are doing, it’s saying 16th so we’ll see. That’s still another week or so away and my helicopter might be here before then!
I lied yesterday and said we were passing the two thirds of the way from St Helena to Barbados. It’s this morning that happens.
Last night we had pork chop, sausage, bacon, baked chip potatoes and baked beans. Now that we’re heeling more, cooking is going to be difficult. We are on starboard tack which means the wind is pushing us onto our left side which causes me a problem because my galley is on the right side. Every time I open a cupboard I have to be prepared for things to fall out. They don’t usually because I have everything wedged in but sometimes something escapes. I have a galley strap so when I’m cooking I’m literally tied to the cooker and can lean into it. I can’t cook while hanging on for dear life.
All well on board. sort of.
The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.