FROM 1-13. Across the Equator

May 06, 2005 - 0445hrs UTC

0445hrs 06 May 2005 UTC Map Ref 203

This will be a bit of a Q&A session. Writing it at night with Pete on watch. Not as easy to write long emails on  this side of the Wall because of the shipping. On the other side, I could sit happily at the laptop for a full three hours if I wanted, knowing that there would be no ships. Here, with the possible closing speeds of modern ships, we have between 12 and 15 minutes to sight, take bearings to establish whether risk of collision, try and call and alter course to get out of the way on the assumption that we have not been seen. Easy to get too involved at the keyboard and be here for 20 minutes – essential to be disciplined, so I tend not to write in my watch any more.

AlexL, we are in international waters so international maritime law applies, particularly the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collisions at Sea (Col.Regs). I’m not a lawyer, but as designated master of the vessel, I have duties and responsibilities plus significant authority. I must read it all one day. I think we can distil our own alcohol, but I’m sure there are National laws just about everywhere we might visit that would prevent us from landing the stuff.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t remember who asked me this one [ed: Graham H] – I forgot to answer it and it is now buried in the logs somewhere. The question was which actor would I like to play myself in the movie of this venture. If there has to be a movie, I’d rather have nothing to do with it, but as for the actor, whoever it is that plays Marvin in the new HGTTG movie will do. My kind of guy, Marvin.

Ian W asked us to talk about all the stuff we take for granted like our watch system. Most of that stuff is actually there in the logs if you care to trawl through them – perhaps I should go through them myself when I have access again and make lists of things that worked, and didn’t, things we learned, what we should have taken/left behind – all that stuff, and post them for anyone who follows. As for watches, we do three hours on and three off with no dogs so we do the same four watches each day. – saves confusion and it’s amazing how the body adapts and wakes itself at five minutes to the appointed hour. Most day watches out here are pretty desperate because of the heat – can’t sleep, can’t really do anything much.

It was so hot this afternoon when I gave up soggy and sent you a shortie, that my glasses were slipping off my face as I leaned forward over the keyboard. Happy memories of the old Grey Funnel line and what it was like before air conditioning – and still is like for most of the world’s population. No wonder there were mutinies in the days of sail. Go for the biggest Dorades you can fit if you are serious, but make sure they work – they absolutely must keep the water out under any conditions and angle of heel and they must be completely sealable for the pear shaped days – talk to someone who has them? And you really need shade over the cockpit, but it must scoop the breeze as well (ours doesn’t, but we’ve modified it). Ideally, the shade equipment must be easily removable for those times when there’s a bit of action, and you have to be able to get around it to get in and out of the cockpit. These things are boat-specific but you do need to work it out.

And something else that has worked well is dried fruit. We have lots of it – sultanas, dates, prunes, cranberries, apricots, apples, figs, strawberries – and I chop up a mixture of all of them every three days or so and soak it in water. Takes a day and there’s a very tasty addition to the rolled oats or muesli (leave it for three days, Alex, and it starts to ferment…). We’d prefer to stick to the rolled oats too – just as good to eat as muesli mix and you can add nuts and other goodies if needed. And for an interesting variation on the standard Consultation – perhaps this one is with the Specialist – you can soak your dried fruit in rum. Or anything, really.

John Witchard – the engine is still going – terriffic little donk and everyone should have one. Have bunged up the fuel primer pump (grot in aged jerry cans, I think) and don’t want to disassemble out here, but it still starts. Those little valves in the pump are difficult to extract in a bumpy sea – perhaps we could design a little extractor for the toolkit.

Comments are closed.