Experience Building by the Day

Experience Building by the Day

Dec 03, 2008 @ 13:50 16:39.7N 31:32.9W

After a tentative experiment with the big blue spinnaker yesterday, our spirits have been raised. Frankly they were sinking a little due to the very light winds, which are completely untypical for this time of year. Basically, the Trade Winds disappeared soon after we departed Las Palmas, leaving us becalmed several hours a day here mid-Atlantic. There are no signs of the Trades returning either. At breakfast this morning (pancakes, bacon and maple syrup), we held a team meeting and decided to fly the spinnaker again and to deploy it day and night if we have to, to keep up progress. This was a big decision, actually, as only one member of the crew, Mike, has any real spinnaker experience. He is however a very experienced yacht racer and a great teacher, so we have all been learning to helm downwind and to trim and tame the big beast! We are even flying it tonight overnight, hand steering all night in ½ hour shifts to improve our skills and endurance and because it is not safe to ask the autopilot to do the job.

I think you will see our daily mileage shoot up now, despite the light airs. That is the plan anyway. In case you think us unadventurous for holding off the spinnaker for so long and therefore falling a little behind the pack, you should know that we had an early failure of a fitting on the mast that holds the spinnaker pole and decided reluctantly to leave the spinnaker languishing in the sail locker. The frustration of going so slowly, however, brought out the gaffer tape and although it doesn’t look pretty we have secured the pole to our satisfaction!

Current estimate for arrival in St Lucia is 13-14 December, a couple of days later than hoped. However, our fishing prowess has landed us innumerable Mahi Mahi and so we won’t go short of food. Wish us fair winds and continued safe sailing …

Nigel

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