Saturday, 13 February 2016

St Helena Inbound Day 12

Hi everyone,
We are currently in position 17 55S 000 53W and saillng at 6 knots on a course of 290M. The wind is SE at 12-16 knots with a 1m sea and 1.5m SW swell.  We are sailing under single-reefed main and full yankee.  Mostly cloudy sky.  Our day's run was 136nm and we have 298nm to go.

Yesterday afternoon we had quite light winds with an awkward, sloppy seaway.  The sea caused the yankee to slat, which with our dyneema sheets isn't good for the sail, the deck gear or our sanity.  We changed to our double-braid reaching sheets which helped all the above.  Didn't make us any faster though!

In the evening the breeze came up, particularly when rain clouds passed overhead.  We had minor squalls up to 28 knots and at 0200 we tucked a reef in and then gybed onto port tack to head west.

At 0314UTC we passed from the eastern to the western hemisphere.  I was on watch and looked carefully for the line across the ocean but missed it.  Damn - I've seen it at Greenwich so I know it exists! ;)  I did see Ursa Major, aka the Big Dipper which showed me north.  Nicki and I shared tots of rum with King Neptune in accordance with nautical lore and superstitious necessity.  Here's the navigational moment captured for posterity...

Entering the Western Hemisphere

This morning the winds have eased off again and we're cruising along comfortably.  The seaway has improved a little but the headsail still slats occasionally when we're rolled by a big sea.  Our Extreme Sails are taking our cruising in their stride - they look like new apart from the South African coal, manganese and ash which is gradually washing off!  We've had a few brief periods of sunshine but mostly it continues to be overcast today.

The water temperature has risen to 26C.  The fridge is starting to work harder and the cabin fans are back in regular use.  We're "intercepting" an increasing number of flying fish too - another indication of the tropics.  On one occasion a "flight" of six of them came aboard at once.  I expect Blue 2 to 6 were unimpressed with Blue Leader.  Sadly only one was rescued and his callsign is unknown.  His pals were buried with full fishy honours (a tea towel to avoid their go-fast goo and scales).

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