Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Temptress Does the Atlantic - Day 6

Monday 17th - it'll be two weeks tomorrow since we left the Canaries, seems
a life time ago! Since supper time yesterday we've suffered squall after
squall bringing rapid almost violent changes in wind direction and speed
necessitating a human helm. The accompanying rain is welcome washing off
both salt and dust but just as the boat dries out the next one hits. Overall
the wind has rather annoyingly gone round to ESE meaning Temptress has to
sail some 20 degrees or more higher than the proper course to keep the wind
on the starboard quarter where is it both more comfortable and safer for
all.

The sun rose with masses of yellow-grey cloud menacing over our starboard
quarter. Joe and I were dog tired from our previous four hour stint of
watch, four hours in our bunks not keeping us from almost falling asleep as
we sit in the cockpit cowering from the rain at times, Temptress has less
jib out that her storm sail would give us but is still making 6 or 7 knots
except in the lulls (5 knots) and the squalls (8 or 9 knots). We were woken
at 078:00 by the on watch Kevin and Paul who needed their bunks to find that
Temptress has passed the magic 800nm mark so more than a third of the way
and the halfway point only some 270 miles to go. At 7 knots that is less
than 3 days away, unfortunately it'll probably take longer unless we get
steadier winds.

A trip like this under sail makes one realise just how vast the Atlantic is,
albeit we are creeping along over it's surface compared to modern transport,
our speed of 7 knots is roughly 10 statue miles per hour. Our trail of noon
time plots on the chart have so far made little impression on the vast
expanse of paper we have to cross. And yes we may be luddites but paper and
pencil technology is more reliable and consumes less amps than a laptop on a
long passage so aided by the GPS we are tracking our way on a 1992 Admiralty
chart of the North Atlantic Southern Part. Brazil is now due south of us and
we have crossed the first fold so can see our goal some twenty or more
degrees further west. In other words there is about 1300 nm to go, another
week at least.

Squadrons of sizeable flying fish were darting away from the boat this
morning, probably about 15-20 cm long but unlike their tiddler brothers none
has landed on deck so far, we think we could feast on them if they did.
Yesterday we cleared up 3 or 4 whitebait sized ones. Still unable to catch a
fish and land it onboard so Squid Vicious became SV mark II with two triple
hooks hidden under his rubbery fringing - begining to believe we need much
bigger hooks and squids for the fish out here.

After the squalls the lulls make everyone want to put up more sail as
Temptress is capable of much more than 4 knots in the conditions but we
resist knowing that it will all have to come in within a few minutes. The
gentle swaying rocks everyone to sleep whilst the wet clothing and the heat
is turning down below into something of a sauna. The clocks went back
another hour so ships time is now UT-3. All well on board.

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