Tuesday, 1 March 2016

St Helena Outbound Day 8

Hi everyone,
We are currently in position 10 40S 019 00W, saillng at 6.5 knots on a course of 270M. The wind is ESE at 18-22 knots with a 2m SE sea and a 1m S swell. We are sailing under single-reefed main and triple-furled yankee. Sunny with scattered small cumulus. Our day's run was 151nm, our DMG was 100nm and we have 3051nm to go.

Yesterday afternoon we had a pleasant sail on port tack. We had the S swell on our beam which made the boat's motion much more regular. In the early evening the wind decreased to 10-12 knots but held in nicely overnight. Unfortunately the wind slowly backed so our course went from 280M to 260M. Period when we're not heading 45 degrees off our desired course seem to be few and far between!

The sky was clear for much of the night. The moon rose around midnight at the start of my watch. Twas a very pleasant night watching the stars, listening to music and working on our communications systems (see below).

This morning we transferred 30 litres of water from jerries into the main tanks. The filler is on the port side deck so we need to do this on port tack in reasonably settled conditions. Moving 20kg jerry cans around the cabin, up on deck and along the side deck can be exciting in a seaway. We believe we used about 50 litres in our first week at sea, out of the total of 270 litres. This is in line with expectations and means we still have about 4 weeks of water left. We expect to collect water in the ITCZ (doldrums) in a week or two.

I've been working on using our Iridium Go! with Winlink's RMS Express software. I'm discovering all sorts of interesting things about the Go! along the way but haven't got the two to play together yet. Winlink's Cape Town operator Colin (ZS1RS) is being a great help.

The voice nets on HF/SSB are continuing each day. Deesse runs the morning net on 6227kHz (changed from 6224kHz) at 0800utc and I run the afternoon net on 6224kHz at 1900utc. There are about 10 boats taking part. Some of the boats are now using DSC to exchange positions with me prior to the net. I wonder if this has been done before.

The only problem with being net controller and working on the computer half the night is the need to run the engine daily to charge batteries. The solar panels are giving us 15A for much of the day but that's not quite enough to get the battery voltage up to the level required for good HF transmission.

We're nearly half way to our waypoint near Fernando de Noronha. That's a good excuse for a (weak) rum punch this arvo. Gotta find and honour all the milestones!

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