FROM 1-18. Betwixt Madeira and Morocco

Aug 28, 2005 - 0900hrs UTC

0900hrs 28 Aug 2005 UTC 36’51”N 015’15”W Ref 318

DB: 24 hr 121 total 951/960 = -9 so we’ve clawed back a mile. The southerly current component was 5 miles so very nice to have. You will be getting these 0900 updates about half a day late because the propagation at 0900 is not good – and anyway, I can’t transmit with the autopilot going because it does dreadful things to our course and sometimes crashes the USB gizmo too.

Mostly assy, but now on engine again – assy great to start with then needed serious concentration as the wind died and backed – down wind with a kite in light breezes and a swell is not easy – the boat rolls all over the place and tries to overtake the kite and you have to try to keep it under and behind the kite or the kite will wrap itself around the forestay. Things can then be said to be pearshaped in the bus shelter. Today will be another big loser on schedule but we’ll catch up later.

31 miles to Trafalgar Con. Eight days down and we have measurable progress. Good feeling. About 5 weeks to 40 S at this rate, if the diesel holds out and we can go reasonably straight down the South Atlantic. I’ve got her tractoring at 4.5 knots this time – perhaps an extra knot for a proportionately smaller increment in consumption. Fingers crossed.

From Peter C.

Can’t go into any detail about what we’d like to hear – it’s more a case of “”where to stop?””.  A checklist would be all based around the experiences of you both on the voyage, and could cover:

Communications – how you did it, what worked, what didn’t, what would be better; self-steering gear; heavy weather sailing and what’s good practice on Berri; sail selection for the whole trip (what fabric? any thoughts on reefing systems? triple stitching? second track on mast so trysail can be hoisted instead of multiply-reefed main? & comments on systems for reefing/changing sail; power – electrical & motor (I haven’t seen any mention of the bike being used as a generator – was that idea abandoned?); navigation; provisioning & stowage; anecdotes from the trip – Dunedin, Falklands, Falmouth, etc; what worked well/medium/would do differently next time/would never do again; route planning & weather forecasts; various cruising weblogs & email centres; the serendipitous chats with NASA & Leroy, then meeting him; what’s boring and what’s wonderful; …….and finally: where are you planning to go for the next long trip? (obviously with Hilary as crew).

We were thinking of 90 minutes for this. And would you be available for the 2006 Heavy Weather Sailing night we run? It’d be around May/June 2006.

All the very best of good fortune.

Peter C, thanks – keep that list for me please, and yes, we’ll be available for the HWS session. Having said which, I’m going to have to get straight back to work when we get back, to try to fix the black hole in my bank account, so I might need some notice.

Have just seen an object in the water – went over to have a look as we’re motoring – it’s glassy calm but with biggish swell – and it was a small turtle about 30 cm diameter – its position, in case you want to go have a look, is just outside the bus shelter at 364316 0152118. If we manage to preserve the GPS log when we get back, it will be marked by a little circle in our track. Seemed to be asleep, but looked up at me as we departed.

I’ve been in this patch of ocean once before, must have been Dec 23/24 1963 in HMS Centaur – we’d just embarked in the squadron aircraft in in the Channel when Centaur received a mayday from the liner Lakonia, on fire near here somewhere. The engineers cranked the ship to full speed – everything shaking and rattling, huge bow wave, heat haze from the funnel, choppers ranged on deck ready to get into rescue mode. Sadly, we arrived a few hours too late – we found a gutted ship still burning, lots of people in the water but no survivors. Most of the passengers and crew had been picked up by other ships. As we were leaving, we saw a massive bow wave creaming in from the north – a Dutch tug racing in to claim salvage. It took Lakonia in tow but it sank on the way to Gibraltar. We went into Gibraltar on Christmas day to disembark the dead. Very sad Christmas. I may have written about this somewhere else in the log on the way up. [ed: the full story here].

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