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[ THE WIRE ] Skipper’s Report

30th December 2016
Time: 1857z
Position: 42°10.7N 009° 37.7W
COG: 185¬°T
SOG: 6.5kt
Wind: S 2
Swell: W 2-3ft
Sky: 0/8
Weather: Good

The good pace continued all night under white sails, to a point where we nearly considered a headsail change as it was getting so lively. Disco was flying along, fully powered up downwind and a great drive, with a couple of VHF exchanges between tankers the most excitement outside the norm.

Early this morning the wind lightened, died, and then returned as a light breeze from the South. Not quite enough from the entirely wrong direction is by far the most frustrating situation! Batteries needing a cycle anyway we cranked up our secret 130hp sail, and engaged Penelope (our propeller) to drive us along at a gentle pace while we played with sails. We were desperate to sail if at all possible, but our angles trying to get south were shocking with our normal headsails.

In our arsenal of sails we acquired what I believe is one of the genoas from Discoverer’s Global Challenge days. All the other sails aboard are local Lymington made by Sanders Sails, and of superb quality, with much good sailing life left in them, even to second hand owners such as us. Sanders have been of great assistance to me in getting Disco ready in the UK, as a source of advice and providing the various bits we needed to get what we already had in full working condition, and I’m feeling very confident heading into nearly 9 months of non-stop ocean sailing with our Sanders Sails.

So, the genoa, the black sheep of the sail locker. Also the only sail with no hanks on it. Hanks for sails and rigging this size are REALLY expensive. Like £52 p/hank expensive. For sail that needs 18 hanks, that sort of money was prioritised to items such as lifejackets and the sat phone, and the genoa was consigned to the bottom of the sail locker, not expected to see life for many months to come. Well, with little wind, a lust for sailing, and a general dislike of motoring, innovation breeds like wildfire. All we were missing were solid brass hanks, so just needed something else that would do the job. What did we have that could be tightened on to a forestay and withstand the loads of our largest headsail for hours on end… Yep, you guessed it. Cable ties! Not just any cable ties – some semi-permanent-polymer-rigging-support cable ties left over from my event rigging days, just waiting for an opportunity worthy of use. Henry and Seb were on it in a flash, and with our lightest alternative to sheets (the spinnaker pole guys) run, the genoa was up! Another sail ticked off the list, and back in its natural environment after many long months in a wet bag.

All the work was, alas, in vain, as even with our crack helm ninja ’10 feet cross-track error’ Moris, we were still choosing between East or West, with very little South getting a look in. Moris couldn’t’ handle that level of inefficiency (he’s very attentive to detail is our Moris), or let so much cross-track error blemish his otherwise perfect record, so it was sails down, revs up, skipper to bed for the second time of the trip, and the M/Y Discoverer continued her journey south.

Having woken up after an extended snooze, I was greeted by the information that both the heads were u/s again, the wind was still AWOL, Ty had inadvertently thrown away the lemonade concentrate that the morning watch had painstaking created from real lemons (morning watch not impressed…), and Connor had attempted to give Henry a haircut with the clippers. This is why I don’t go to bed… I would like to make clear to Henry’s parents that there are some bits of life onboard that I just can’t control, and haircuts are one of them. I promise to bring him back safe, but can’t extend that same guarantee to stylish. That should give you some idea of quite how bad I think it is…!

I’m off the tackle the plumbing again. Becoming dangerously familiar territory this is – more crew training required I think.

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