Monday, June 08, 2009

Day 14 - Bermuda to Ireland

We are sailing downwind with following seas (and this looks set for a while). The Barometer has just started to climb following yesterday's storm. We are currently on 29.53 n Mg) after dropping all night, bottoming at 29.50. The sun is finally peeking through. Last night was raining and dreary. The storm did not turn out as bad as we thought, mostly because we were traveling with it, which reduced the effective speeds of the wind we actually experienced, and we had the seas with us. The autopilot managed well, as long as we didn't head directly down wind, and bore off 15-20 degrees either side. In the wee hours, a 2nd wave train from the west interfered with the one following us (from the SW) giving us steep and nasty waves, which slewed us around and caused the boat to roll - the most threatening risk being from an accidental gybe from a sudden heading change. With the sun now peeking through, things seem much calmer (although that could be an illusion). Waves are currently 3.5 m high (10-11') and with the occasional bigger (15' one). From time to time, one comes and rolls under the boat just slightly faster than boat speed, breaking and bubbling as it passes. It seems to take an age to pass under us. The noise and the motion is very peculiar. IF this storm is finally subsiding (we are not yet 100% sure), then there is still another in a couple of days - I should get some time for some more cooking in between.

A preventer does not come with the boat but is essential in these conditions to stop the boom accidentally flying across the boat as  the wind or boat direction changes unintentionally (an accidental gybe) and potentially damaging the boom or the rigging. For all points of sail we set our preventer out of habit, but downwind it is the most important. Our preventers are rigged one on each
side. All we have to do is tighten/loosen the relevant sides from within the cockpit. The connection point forward of the mast is the same point where the life lines terminate at the bows (other end is at the end of the boom). Yesterday afternoon an accidental gybe tugged so hard on the preventer that it actually broke one of the lifeline fittings (half of which was lost overboard) - so we had to repair that yesterday to ensure we had good lifelines. The good news is we are finally actually pointing and sailing directly towards Ireland. For a while it looked as though we were trying to head to the Azores which at one point were only 250 miles away.

Yikes, is it ONLY day 14? It seems like we've been out here a month already. I've moved onto my next book (by Emile Zola - new to me but a Penguin Classic).

Despite the weather and sea state, Dolphins still came and visited again yesterday - although it was hard to fully enjoy them given the conditions, they certainly help the mood of the day.

Food: Chili with cous cous (Surprised?).
Progress: Yesterday we made 111nm, today already (9am GMT) we've made 52 nm; things are definitely speeding up. So far on this trip
we have traveled (through the water) 1575 nm, and have 1235nm (straight line) to go.

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