Off the African Coast

Off the African Coast

Oct 26, 2008 @ 8:46 33:24.00N 012:37.00W

Good morning from Oboe in the Atlantic 200nM off the African coast on Sunday 26 October! The crew for this leg comprises: Nigel (skipper) with Iona Smith (who will also cross the Atlantic to St Lucia with Oboe next month), Simon Figures (a distant family friend and far to young and fit!) and Richard Keeling, a towering ex-cavalry officer and experienced sailor, who is working his passage in the Galley, as well as taking on first mate duties.

Despite good intentions to make daily entries when on passage, this is the first one I have sat down at the chart table to write since leaving Lagos, Portugal on Friday 24 Oct. Sea conditions, mainly comprising 2-3 metre waves on our beam, made life below decks a bit uncomfortable.

Our plan was to make for Madeira as an intermediate stop en route to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. Yesterday, however, we decided to make direct for Las Palmas allowing us to take the swell of the sea on our stern and greatly improve the comfort of the crew.

So here we are 200nM off the coast of West Africa and half way through our 600+ nM passage. We have bright sunny days and crisp starry nights, and life in the cockpit comprises, chat, book reading and the odd bit of sail trim. Meals come and go as do the inevitable cups of tea, while night follows day as individual crew members cycle through their watches.

We are broad reaching SSW with only a headsail set, with a pretty constant 20kt following wind, trimming the sail very occasionally as the wind direction wanders a few degrees this way and that.

We are a good team, in high spirits enjoying each others company and hoping for continued fair winds to Las Palmas.

Nigel Backwith


26 October 2008

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