Friday at sea

Our slow and gentle progress continues. We are casting a wary metaphorical glance astern as it looks like we will have some “weather “ in 3 or 4 days time. If we can keep our speed up we may just keep pace with the high as it retreats east and so the kite goes up at dawn , and is taken down , dew soaked , just as darkness falls ,to be replaced by the less demanding poled out jib top. The wind has been between 10 and 12 knots and our speed varies between 4.5 and 6.5 depending on the sea state which has been far more confused than would be expected for these mild conditions. I think this is partly due to strong winds around the low to our north setting up a big swell coming in on the beam, and partly a wretched westerly eddy at the extreme edge of the North Atlantic current which has been taking a knot or more off our progress for days now , and provides a “wind over tide“ chop over and above the northerly swell to further reduce our speed.

We have been trying to work North as much as possible (difficult because of the swell and wind angle ) and to our delight in the early hours of the morning we sailed into an easterly current at last. Immediately the seas went down , the SOG went up and life became significantly easier. If anyone is following it seems that the foul current is south of 36 North, although I have no idea how much of a fixture this is.

There is an informal SSB net amongst many of the Northbound yachts for mutual aid , and in our case we are kept informed by e-mail via the satphone. One of them is in trouble. A chap called Roy sailed a 1935 double ended cutter , Guiding Light , singlehanded out to Antigua , took part in Classic week and swept the board both in terms of presentation , distance travelled and on the race course. He was delayed because of engine problems and set out some days ago to return home. I haven’t been getting his positions as his computer was drowned ( I think he must have tangled with one of those nasty subtropical depressions I mentioned a day or two ago) but I understand that he now has a leak from the bow that he is only just able to keep pace with , he doesn’t have an engine ( he may have been unable to repair it ) , and only limited petrol for a generator. Several of our friends have been involved in alerting Falmouth and US coast guards and I understand a ship has been diverted to his position. The only good news is that he currently has light conditions.

On a happier note we reached the 1200 mile to go , 1/3rd of the way across position at 1230 UT this morning (0930 ships time) so are deep in discussion as to when we can broach our celebratory packet of crisps. Lynda is adamant that I cannot possibly have them for breakfast so it will probably be tonight as an hors d’oevres – unless I get hungry in the meantime! We will probably have to share them with Amos the ships monkey who is currently blissfully unaware of his promotion to cabin boy – or of the possible consequences of this advancement in his career!

So from 36 07 N , 53 18 W , Festina is finally getting a move on and all is well.

One Comments

  1. Your crisp celebration reminds me that Fiona and I are just about at our China wedding anniversary, both equally minor events although, on balance, I’d go for the crisps. In the words of Churchill KBO (keep buggering on) and keep the blog coming. I’m already looking forward with dismay to the day when you arrive back in the UK and my vicarious journey ends. Take care

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