12/16/2009, 450 miles East of Barbados
slept very well when Hans woke me for my watch at two o'clock this
night. Needed a lot of coffee to stay awake. I am perched with my legs
up in a corner of the cockpit with my lap top; which has to be used
rather than the PC for emails given our continuing Inmarsat problems.
It is a novelty to be in an "outdoors office" rather than my normal
base at the navigation desk. I hear how the boat is cutting through the
water creating a bow wave and the occasional slamming of the sails. The
sounds of water and wind, while my skin is being caressed by the
tropical air; not hot, just fresh and nice. More stable conditions have
once again returned to our little patch of the ocean. We enjoy less
rolling which is great for sleep. Wind is stronger than forecasts; so
we power along with 7-8 knots to our goal at Bridgetown. We are a bit
South of a straight line, which I don't mind as the winds are meant to
be stronger to the South and we will get a better wind angle if the
winds veer East, as they are supposed to as we near the West Indies.
Probably still a Saturday arrival for us!
Yesterday our universe shifted from Azure blue to "local authority" grey every few hours; from stifling hot conditions under the sun to refreshing tropical drizzle. More variation to our day than previously experienced! We were riding the squalls towards the goal; as the wind picked up debating whether wind shifts were merely temporary or whether it was worthwhile to gybe. Nevertheless, we had our worse daily run of 138.4 nautical miles and the first one below 150. We are now also explicitly logging our hourly runs; the worst so far was 3.5 nautical miles yesterday morning!
It is interesting how the crew start to specialise in areas of talent and interest. Not surprisingly, Hans is our onboard meteorologist and "squall guru" and Peter more surprisingly has become the "minder" of the temperamental Fischer Panda generator. Peter said to Hans last night that he was happy dish washing as "Pareto optimal" specialisation pointed to him doing that while Hans used his other (greater?) skills cooking. In all this, my "Pareto optimal" specialisation seemed to be shifting non-organic garbage to its stowage place in the anchor locker.
Garbage weather on the horizon (Hans)
I have dreamt about a trip like this for thirty years. I suddenly remembered the other day, that I used to write fictional sailing accounts in my early teens. I was inspired by the sailing accounts that I read; Naomi James, Robin Knox Johnston, Francis Chichester, Alec Rose and all the early participants of the OSTAR "Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race" including Eric Tabarly and the very well written books by the Swede Ake Mattsson. The "sailing fiction" I wrote, was in a way just like this blog; how conditions changed and I changed sails etc. It now feels like an incredible gift to be given this opportunity to experience the ocean under sail in real life.