small world sailing

Day 19 »« Day 17

Day 18

N38.37.50 W047.10.30
Wind SW F4-5 Heading 085T
At dawn, 0800, the wind droped off, god what a shock. Less than 10kts. All canvas flying with the little bit of the wind on the beam and the motor at tickover in gear again.
I made 110nm yesturday but have not toped the ‘average’ 120nm in the last 9 days. In the previous 9 days only 2 days made less than 120nm. So if it’s a journey of two halfs, this north Atlantic leg has been a slow one. My┬ádesire of arriving in Horta inside 25 days is rapidly become a hopeless fancy.
Last night, sleep was interupted by a ‘vessal’ at first I thought it was a pair trawling, but the lights were wrong. In fact I couldn’t determine what it was, in the end I decided it was a fishing vessal and that it had two bright flood lights on deck. I could work out, I hoped, that it was traveling North/ South. I was obviously traveling West/ East but as you may recall, my Nav light is miss reading after the storm a few days ago. I would have given the impression I was traveling North/ South also.
So I tried to raise them on the radio, took a bearing on them and plotted their approx position, called them up to let them know what they we’re seeing was wrong. 3 times I called but I got no responce. There’s the Rub’, we should all work to the same rules, these guys neither showed the right lights nor were keeping a listening watch on channel 16. It should be an entirely safe place to be if these simple rules are observed, if not, who knows? Eventually it seemed to turn and dropped back over the horizon.
So this morning I decided that something must be done about the Nav light, it being apparently the only source of comunication with local fishing boats. I took out my Top Climber and prepared to assend the mast. Alas I only got as high as the spreaders, with the weak wind only half pressing on the sail, the boat was rolling somewhat and obviously the higher up the mast the greater the movement. In the end I worked out I needed two hands to hang onto the mast and two more to operate the Top Climber, so had I have expended an increadible amount of energy reaching the top, I would have not been able to carry out the repair.
It shall have to wait till Horta. It is the only boat in over two weeks at sea that I have come across at night, in fact I’ve only come across 5 boats in 18 days. So as much as I would like it to be right, it will have to wait.
By 1300 this afternoon I suddenly had an urge to pop the engine in neutral, sure enough the boat continued on it’s speed and heading without aid! Slowly we made progress under sail power alone. By 1600 I was reefed and sailing on a beam reach in the right direction, only the second time in the trip, at 8kts! the swell is light and although it continues to rain on and off, it is not heavy. How long this magic will last I dare’t say but for the time being it’s a fabulas bit of perfect sailing, totally splendid.
Could I make up what I’ve lost? My nerves are shattered, I wont be encouraged, just happy to take the good as it comes and endure the bad as it happens.
May 29, 2008 at 19:01
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