[ THE WIRE ] Stowaways & Skipper fuel

The biggest bread making failure of the trip so far, a noisy stowaway, and what really drives Disco.

None of us thought it possible to top Ty’s epic failure to cook pasta, on a now infamous occasion anchored round the back of Gran Canaria many months ago. Today proved that wrong. I went to bed for the first time since leaving Panama, and woke up to chaos. No wind, a seemingly happy crew, and the biggest excuse for a loaf of fresh bread the boat has ever seen.

Now, I won’t name the culprit in this monumental achievement, but let’s just say there are only so many nicknames one man can have! The rest of the day has been spent using every opportunity possible to bring up the failure, to everyone’s amusement.

It’s been a combination of motoring and sailing here, taking any opportunity possible to turn the engine off and conserve our precious reserves of fuel. This has led to the phoenix-like rising of the genoa, back to fight another day and harness every little gust to pull us forward to San Diego. The yankee 1 was up, but not quite making the best out of the light airs. Despite not wanting to use every remaining cable tie on the boat to reinstate the genoa, it was just too painful to watch the yankee hang there, flat and inefficient. The last round of giant cable ties were broken out, and soon we were moving again. Here’s hoping for as much life out of these cable ties as the last ones gave us…

Onto the stowaway. He is small, loud, and very good at hiding. We were first alerted to his presence on the first night, and he now serenades us nightly, whether we want it or not. The crew has named him Ben, as I think it gives them some comfort to have a ‘Ben’ onboard in some form. Ben is a cricket, and is hiding in the port LPG locker. It’s incredible how much noise one cricket can produce for such extended periods of time, I’ve suggested that a bucket of saltwater into the locker would sort the problem with minimal fuss, but the team are fond of Ben’s presence, and I’m loath to deliberately put salt water on the LPG regulator, so for now, Ben survives to pollute the otherwise beautiful silence of night at sea.

Now for the secret of what really drives Disco. It’s not wind. It’s not sails. It’s not diesel. It’s definitely not riches. It’s a nice mix of enthusiasm, determination, the occasional grit, and a constant supply of coffee.

The team provides the first three items, and one of the great things about this crew is that they all bring those elements in different quantities, creating a potent mix. The coffee, however, being the single most important article, we have outsourced out to the professionals. For this reason, we are proud to be partnered with Coffee Mongers of Lymington, who supply all the coffee aboard Discoverer, and for what will be The Longest Swim. We were lucky enough to make their acquaintance while preparing Disco in Lymington, and after a fun sampling session at their warehouse we settled on the Mercator blend to fuel our journey. Coffee Mongers Mercator has seen us across an ocean, through gales, calms, hard times, fun times, and the general chronic lack of sleep that sailing a boat like this in a watch system brings. There is always a tub on the go in the galley, which is currently labeled ‘Coffee’ on the lid, and ‘Skipper Fuel’ on the side. Accurate labeling indeed.

As I sit on deck and write this watching the sun go down, listening to good music, contemplating the plans and options for the next few days, I’m enjoying yet another cup of the good stuff, and listening to the team good naturedly argue about when it’s acceptable to have the ‘ultimate meal’ of pesto pasta tonight, or if it’s beans again. It’s nice that despite oppressive heat, the frustration of light winds and difficult alternative options that everyone retains good humour and maintains the correct sense of priority.

As I sign off, Ben has just chirped into life for another night, the decision is to save the pesto for a great lunch tomorrow, and with that we continue to ghost on into the night.


Date: 4th March 2017
Time: 2315z
Position: 08°10.7N 083°51.1W
COG: 290°T
SOG: 4.5-5kts
Wind: SW 2-3
Swell: S 1-2ft
Sky: 7/8 – stratus, cumulus.
Weather: Fair


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