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[ THE WIRE ] Skipper’s Report

22nd January 2017
Time: 1808z
Position: 19°04.2N 42°54.7W
COG: 255°T
SOG: 2-3kts
Wind: SE 2
Swell: NE 2-3ft
Sky: 4/8 cumulus
Weather: Good

Well, this morning I wrote to the shore-team that I hoped the good wind would hold out, as I was feeling that anything below a Force 4 would put the brakes on what has otherwise been great progress. It didn’t.

We are currently wallowing around in less than 7kts of breeze, making an awe-inspiring speed over ground of <3kts. Oh dear. I’ve just put a reef in the mainsail so it doesn’t flog itself to death as the boat rolls from side to side, the swell being the most dominate input in the boats motion. The spinnaker is hanging limp from the masthead, the weight of the sheets along heavy enough to pull it flat, with no wind to combat their weight. Oh dear.

There is nothing worse than being becalmed in a boat, especially when you’re actually trying to get somewhere. An otherwise quite purposeful life (i.e. sailing the boat) quickly loses its sense of direction. On the plus side, the Uno cards have been wheeled out (a throwback to being aged <10 for me), and there is a Scott vs Scott game of backgammon in full swing on deck.

Henry is trying to catch a fish for dinner. I can’t ever say that he’s got all the gear and no idea, as he doesn’t even have all the gear. The fact that Alex has just walked out of the galley asking me if I want some freshly baked bread, while offering a handful of charcoal, does not instil within me great faith as to the promised wonders of suppertime.

Connor’s solar shower has been out on deck, providing some much needed relief and hygiene. Creating clean crew from what was foul odour in the shape of people has been a miracle, however it has given a couple of people a greeting sight that they weren’t expecting nor wanting when they stuck their head up the companionway hatch.

The noise down below is almost as dramatic as in a gale, due to the deck gear and mainsail slamming around with the unimpeded sway of the boat. I reckon these kinds of conditions are just as hard on the sails and rigging as higher winds, just due to the snatch loads alone. At least when it’s really windy the pressure in the sails is generally constant.

I’ve been at the arts and crafts, using an old chart folio and kitchen foil to create something to block the sun and its heat from our main windows, as I noticed the med kits were getting a tad warm when I went digging through one earlier in the day.

What is early, late, now, or any form of time is still in question for many. I’ve discovered half the boat have moved their appreciation of the time back an hour (as have I), whereas the other half have moved the watch system forward an hour. I’m going to do another hours change this evening. That will really mess things up.

Lea has just jumped on the helm, and immediately found a patch of wind. A woman’s touch perhaps. The boat picked up and suddenly felt like a sailing yacht again, rather than living in a swaying and noisy sauna that affords none of the customary civilisation to which we are all well adapted. It’s gone again now, and I’m struggling to keep the laptop on the table.

A long evening ahead I think.

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