Having solved my quest for longitude and sun run sun yesterday I have given myself a day off celestial navigation and treated myself to a whole five hours unbroken sleep between 0630 and 1130 this morning, this is the longest sleep I’ve had in the last eight days, to get two hours sleep at a time seems to be the norm.  

Sleeping can best be described as being inside a wheelie bin which is being rolled down a hill while people throw bricks and water bombs at it.  Needless to say the sleep I have had has been dominated by crazy and really vivid dreams.

Back on shift a 1200 to 1500, little to report, progress is still slow, we have a steady 10 – 12 knots of breeze which pushes us along at an average of 5 knots, 15 knots of breeze however puts our average up to 7 or 8 knots (so far on this whole trip this has happened for maybe half a day).  It would be quicker taking the Sara Lena across the Atlantic and probably quicker to walk it!  Days and days of this slow progress is painful, we are still 1800 miles from Antigua.  My current estimate another 18 days at sea.

 

Looking at the reefed main in daylight it almost looks like a sail should do, the reef has closed the top somewhat and the telltales on the leech and at the head are actually doing something now, the bottom third was doing not much useful anyway, probably just rounding us up all the time and giving the autopilot more work to do.

 

The only thing of note was that we had a fish on the line, damn thing had escaped the line.  Clearly more practice needed, but these bad boy lures  seem to be the perfect thing.  We just need to land a fish now (or stop the boys from “putting the poor thing back” FFS!)

 

I enjoyed some relaxing time on the foredeck, since we are in the bikini latitudes.  The bananas are definitely at their last so I’ve just put all the rest of the bananas (maybe about 7!) in one final banana bread.  Then dealt with some other domestics which the boys would have continued to overlook, yes, I cleaned out the vegetable store, chucked all the rotten stuff over the side, saving the rest of the spuds and onions from a similar fate.  Shepherds pie again tomorrow 🙂

 

Yawn….. Come on wind!

 

1800 is generator o’clock and my clothes are in the washing machine ready and waiting, what a treat at 20 25’N 29 30’W.

 

Dinner was a meal of leftovers and another vodka tonic treat.  Tunes at tea time is becoming a regular thing, by request of the skipper and crew, I went for the nautical theme tonight, Out on the Ocean, Captain Pugwash  and a few others.

 

Batteries….  I am still worrying that we are still losing power quickly and need to charge them more often.  I reckon we now have enough fuel to motor for 12 hours per day if necessary and just make it to Antigua on the fumes.   At the same time our skipper discovers the seawater pump to the galley has been running constantly.  It is a good job he found it, it was getting hot.  Needless to say it is off now and finally our batteries are not dropping charge so rapidly.

 

I’m on the 1000 – 0200 night watch and we have just crossed 30W so were are into a new time zone, now two hours behind UT.  Oh my days, this effing boat is pissing me off.  It is not designed to sail dead downwind and with no spinnaker it is a nightmare.

There is no kicking strap, so it is impossible to get any control on the mainsail, the leech of main is constantly open and fanning around in the swell, we need to be sailing west or slightly south of west, but at moment I’m doing nearly 290 to try and get the sails to fill, there is 13 knots true breeze out here, but I can’t get this boat to harness it.  The main is fully battened but with the spreaders and shrouds swept so far back it is impossible to get any shape in it, the front third sits on the spreaders and the rest twists around them and off.   I won’t mention the gybing angles.

 I guess having this floating hotel under us doesn’t help, our sail area displacement ratio must be a complete joke.  She sails best with the apparent wind at 90 to 120, but that would be taking us north.  We have no means of poling the jib out the windward side, so sail too low (150 apparent!) and she backs, flog flog fucking flog. 

 When I’m off watch I can ignore the pain to an extent, but sat here at the helm looking at the numbers and listening to the sails flogging around is just desperate.  Come on wind, thank goodness there is a knot of tide under us.  As a charter boat she’s perfect, ocean cruiser – I’m not so sure.

 

In other news the moon is rising now behind me in a big orange ball, and the stars will be starting to disappear.  A few hours later the breeze is starting to fill in, we’re still doing 280+ but we are at least now moving at around 6 knots instead of the 4 I was enduring earlier ahhhhh.

 

 

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