Friday, April 29, 2011

UK - France - Passage Day 3

Weather: Not a cloud in the sky for the last 24 hours! Winds are slowly increasing, but it's still and easy-on-the-bones passage.
The temperature is warming, but we are still wrapped up well against the temperature and wind. We are expecting the wind to continue
to increase and possibly a thunderstorm or two later. The seas remain very flat

Sailing conditions: We continue to find ourselves sailing downwind, and when the wind hasn't been too shifty, we've used the
screacher (our light wind forward sail) and often been wing-on-wing. You can see from our progress though it has been a relatively
slow sail, due to the really light winds.

General Comments: Kyle was concerned about our low battery and ran the engine for an hour overnight, but otherwise it's been
straightforward sailing. The Bristol Chanel is a cut running to the river Severn, that divides Wales and Cornwall, and we are
crossing at its widest point (over 100miles). As soon as we entered we were greeted by a small pod of dolphins; they kept falling
back and racing again to catch up with us (we were obviously too slow for them to have too much fun, so they made us appear faster).
Dolphins so obviously alter course to come and play, they are magical, and it beats a day in the office any time. Kyle went forward
to see them at their best, while I steered and squealed with delight and applauded each time I saw them approach

We've seen very little traffic, but every so often there is a container ship on the horizon, we even saw a tall ship in full sail
off in the distance. The radio is a different matter, we can hear calls from multiple coast guard stations and yesterday was a busy
day with 3 separate life boat calls during just one of my watches, including one ship that reported itself sinking and then lost
radio contact (hopefully that is just due to a lost battery and nothing more serious!). Being on watch in such mild and uneventful
conditions leaves plenty of time to do other things. I've been finally catching up with a book about travelling the French canals by
a couple that have gone before us (thanks to cirrus cat), and repeating my French lessons all while keeping a good eye on the empty
sea. Yesterday I was treated to several hours to a coast guard (or military) exercise between a small ship and a helicopter for
hours as they drifted along practicing something as I sailed at a snails pace in the same direction.

[Kyle]Our non-stop passage to France is deceptively long, looking on the map we can see that we're never very far from land, but in
reality on this passage (except for only a couple of glimpses through the summer haze Ð the tip of Anglesey and St David's head) we
haven't seen land at all after leaving the Ribble. This gives the feel of a much longer ocean passage. The distance we'll be
travelling is equivalent (approximately) from Norfolk to Boston on the East coast of the USA. It seems like it should be shorter
since France is "next door" to England after all, but I guess we didn't plan our passage between the shortest distance between them
(Dover - Calais).

Food: Nothing fancy - Fajitas last night, and leftovers (Breakfast burritos) this morning

Progress: Yesterday we made 74.57nm (yikes, the wind is light!), So far on this trip we have travelled (through the water) 226.44nm,
and have 383nm (routed line) to go. If you've been following on each day, you will have noticed that the numbers don't seem to add
up, this is because we only measure distance through the water and sometimes the tides work with us and against us, also we end up
not travelling exactly on the route we've planned, so a few extra miles are clocked up with that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry it's such slow going. Hopefully you have your Gilbert and Sullivan music cued for rounding the next point.

Fair winds

Gavin Gemini #792