FROM 1-18. Betwixt Madeira and Morocco

Aug 29, 2005 – 1015hrs UTC

1015hrs 29 Aug 2005 UTC 35’13”N 016’06”W Ref 320

DB: 24hr = 105, total =1056/1080 so schedule = -24. All on the engine – we turned it off just before 9. Within the tolerances required by significant measurement error (or at least doubt) we are burning 1 ltr/hr @ 4 kts and we’ve burnt 54 ltrs so far, leaving us with 126 in the cans. This tallies with every other measurement I’ve done over the years with this engine, but we’re a bit heavier than usual just now.

- 24 on sched is not a showstopper by any means – we know we can easily do 120/day+ with any sort of helpful wind – we just haven’t got it right now. So we’ll catch up – if not in the Atlantic, then in the southern Indian Ocean. I reckon we’ll cross the equator west of the mid point, maybe cross almost to the Brazilian coast, then loop down to 40S under Cape Town and then run 40 – 42 most of the way, with a duck down under SE Cape at the end, finishing the 2 handed circ. at the Iron Pot. With a serious Consultation with anyone who cares to assemble. Then straight back to Synney. Well, that’s the wishful think. There’s a long way to go – perhaps 12500 miles or so if we can’t cut any corners.

For those of you who need a fix of storm and tempest and greyish knuckles with your morning coffee, my sincere apologies – you must find these figures rather boring. For us, though, they are the business end of the enterprise – looks as if we’ve established a basis for believing that we can (maybe just) be home for the start. We will do our best to provide storm and tempest later – right now, apart from the frustratingly pathetic wind, it’s nice and restful.

We have the assy up and drawing again – only 8 – 10 knots of breeze and we’re getting 4 – 5 over the ground. The assy is set fairly flat – tight luff and the clew held down but not pulled down, so that the leech holds its shape as the boat rolls. There’s just enough wind to keep it filled. Pole almost against the forestay, jockey pole prodding the elements to starboard.

Another turtle – #3 – they appear as spiky humps in the water and seem to be asleep.

H & K, I’ve just finished the first crossword and I’m into the second. Thanks for taking the time to collect them all. And Hiccy Gurgle Isso – open one of those bottles. John le Carre is in the wings, waiting to enter stage right with The Gardener. Whoopee.

29/1200 And the wind dropped out again. Another turtle – which civilisation is it that believes that the universe consists of a pyramid of turtles? We’ve been working out there in the now very hot sun for an hour trying to sail- just to save a couple of litres of diesel. But the tractor is turning again…  Opened the pickled walnuts for lunch – thanks Tom.

29/1600 We were exactly 6 hours astern of schedule when we passed 1080 miles. That’s about 4 days over the rest of the voyage if we can keep this going. We will lose quite a lot more over the next few days, I think, but we will catch up later.

29/1700 – another puff – genoa up this time. All for about 1/4 knot over the engine speed.

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