FROM 1-19. Senegal and Pete's Birthday

Aug 31, 2005 – 0845hrs UTC │Alcohol List, Journey Home

0845hrs 31 Aug 2005 UTC 31’59”N 018’22”W Ref 323

DB: 24hr:127, total 1290/1320 sched = -30 so we’re getting back into it.
In deep mourning for friendly little phone and the big chunk of my life’s database that went with it. Bereft, I am. And stupid. It will be sitting there on the edge of the shelf west of Madeira until the island erodes on top of it or the earth dives into its next black hole. Don’t think I will be around to reclaim it.

Lots to write about, but boring stuff – are you all bored stiff already? Seems as if you are, from the wheelbarrow loads of mail we’ve been getting. it’s difficult in these conditions to get time to write because of the need to be on deck almost constantly with the assy up and rolling swell and seas. Or asleep. Will try – and I suppose we can always crank up our stone age version of flight simulator in the bus shelter to spice up the news.

Malcom, thanks for the Ninja. Hugh, we passed a grey bearded old Turtle – Michaelangelo? Methuselah? – who asked if we knew ‘those Tacit people’ – promised him we’d pass on his regards.

Some questions, to see who’s out there: *For a friend in the USA: Do the English or the Australians use the word ‘phat’ and, if so, what does it mean? It’s apparently an acronym, in use in North America and I think I’ve heard Katherine use it. Some context please. Did you know that ‘chuffed’ is taken to mean angry or upset Over There?
*Is there an airport on Madeira? We didn’t see any aircraft – or, surprisingly, any boats except for one possible fishing boat last night. Looks to be a very difficult place to put a decent runway on.
*How did square rigged ships ever get into Funchal? Must have been difficult – big wind shadow – Cook’s Journal might have at least one answer. Perhaps they only visited Porto Santo.
* Port was originally red wine shipped out of Oporto in used brandy casks – what was the origin of Madeira in it’s bottled version?

The Flea spent all of yesterday hiking towards this big chunk of craggy gravel and dried mud rising over the curvature of the elephant’s bum, then in the evening passing its western end in the flat pink sunlight with tiny silver and gold serrated clouds right down low on the western horizon below the main cloud layer. Then most of the night watching its fairy lights disappear astern. Do dung beetles glow in the dark?

Would have been nice to drop in to Madeira. It’s about the same size and shape as the Isle of Wight, but mountainous. Perhaps a project for the future.

31/1130: Unable to hold the assy and any sort of course – now twin poled, heading directly down the course making 4-5. Got really sweaty doing the complete sail change – drop the assy, fold the #1 and put it away, hook on the 2 and pole it out and raise it, hook on the cutdown 1, pole it out and raise it, drop the main, furl and tie it down, take off all the kite lines and coil them and put them away, put away the jockey pole, tidy up the spaghetti of halyards, sheets, downhauls etc in the cockpit, trim the headsails and Consult – having done all that, between us, I thought I should change out of the gear we left Fmth in. Now very hot, we have the cockpit awning rigged for shade.

[ed: some time later…..]

It’s time to apply the fudge factor to the Daily Bull. Distance covered directly towards a destination is called Distance Made Good or DMG. The distance measured by a GPS is distance covered over the ground, which is almost never the same as DMG, because the boat’s track over the ground wanders around a bit. It is easy to program a GPS to give DMG if it knows where the destination or at least the next waypoint is but in the game we are playing here, all that it rather too vague – we don’t know where we are going, exactly, but we could program a theoretical shortest route into the instrument. Or I could get out a chart and do it with pencil, plotter and ruler. Both rather tedious and probably futile, so we will apply a fudge factor of 5% for the time being. I will modify this daily based on my assessment of the previous day’s run.

The fudge factor assumes that the GPS is reading a greater distance over the ground that the actual DMG by 5%. For this morning’s Daily Bull, the GPS total was 1290 miles. Multiplying this by 0.95, we get 1225.5 which becomes our estimated DMG. Subtracting this from the required DMG of 1320, we get 95 (ignoring the .5). On this basis, we are nearly a day (120 miles) behind schedule. This seems to me to be about right, given the last few days’ windless stinkpotting, but not a big problem – we should start eating into any deficit as soon as we get a steady wind with a bit of strength.

We are getting to the end of our fresh provisions. The bread got mouldy and has been tossed, some of the fruit went the same way. Carrots, zooks, eggplant all getting a bit wrinkly. Bacon still fine, eggs too and spuds. Cheese is looking very oily -may not last the distance. We wrap it in tissue when we open the pack to soak up the oil – the cheese goes a bit crumbly but still tastes ok. We will start making bread and soaking the dried fruit and getting into all the other dried goodies over the next few days.

For the curious, we left with 132 cans of The Doctor’s medicinal sauce, 80 Dr White Smoothies, 12 litres of gin, 42 litres of tonic, 24 litres of wine and 12 litres of cider, plus certain unspecified brown plastic bottles for special occasions. Do the numbers – it’s a relatively small medicine chest for 2 people over 110 days – one Consultation with the Dublin Doctor or his English colleague each per day, a G&T, and half a plastic mug of wine or cider.

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