Men o’ War

The wind went ahead and fell below 5 knots yesterday at 1400, with the possibility of no more til Sunday , so there was much calculating and perusal on the backs of envelopes ( “240 miles mutter mutter about 120 litres mutter mutter how many litres per hour mutter…………..”) Well the upshot was that we probably didnt have enough fuel , so we set off at a parsimonious 4.5 knots , cursing the 1 knot of foul tide (!) and motored through as flat a night as I can remember. By 0200 we had pushed through the ridge of high pressure and began to get a faint breeze from the West. Never mind that this wasnt in the forecast , the main went up and the speed rose by 0.3 of a knot. Redoing the calculations suggested that at this speed we were using less fuel , and imagine the excitement at 0500 when we could sail at 4 knots with 6 knots on the beam.This was manna to the true obsessional in me and through the day we managed to tick off 60 miles under sail before the wind died again and we reached once more for the starter button.

We calculated we should now have enough fuel to crawl through this second ridge and reach the wind on the other side , although we might have to heave to and wait for first light to get inside the reef to Bermuda , whilst our less hydrocarbonically challenged friends should be able to push on and get in on Saturday.

Imagine then our delight when 15 knots of wind suddenly popped up from the NE and we are rushing on again. It just goes to show that there
may yet be a God and His name is not Grib!

Lynda is still stuck into Patrick O’Brian with surprising results. She suddenly leapt from her bunk saying “Stephen Maturin says those sailing jellies are Portrugese Men O War”! And blow me he was right! We checked in our wildlife book and there they were ; little plastic looking things with sails like Cornish pasties and believe it or not , up to 10metres of tentacles as a keel. Meanwhile , outside there are positive regattas of the things sailing along . Lynda thinks they are all sailing South but I think that is wishful thinking as she does not like wiggly things with tentacles.
So , at noon today , we were being overtakien by a fleet of Portrugese Men o War but have now left them far behind at 29.58N 64.39W. All well.

One Comments

  1. They are pretty but they do sting so don’t go swimming with them or touch them if you see them washed ashore. I understand they are able to sail to windward believe it or not. Would you expect O’Brian to be anything but right. I don’t think I’ve ever managed to fault him on any point of fact whether it is ships, the sea, biology, food, wine etc. etc. I am just at Nutmeg in my O’Brian rereading so a bit behind Linda. My boat (34′ and just over 4000kg) cruises at about 6 – 6.5 knots using under 3L/hour with its Yanmar 30. My guess is you would have made it under motor but you’d know better than me.

Leave a Reply