Across the South Atlantic in winter aboard 'Pelagic'
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Friday 14 th.
Another lazy day of sailing. Little wind had us motor sailing until mid morning, then we managed do get the sails out and sail for the afternoon. Yet more whipping of sheets in weird places, the third reef needed whipping at the boom so I shinnied along the boom to do some more mending in situ. Periodical then throughout the day various of the crew went and sat on the boom lapping up the sunshine and living the dream. We are due to have good sailing weather again by late his evening so this lul in frantic activity won't last long, but has been welcome. We are having great fun with team Canada, Youri and Wojtek who are tuning out to be kindred spirits and hilarious fun, they have a wicked sense of humour.
The days are merging in to one long day, we are all ready and looking forward to Cape Town. The watches are continuing, but we are motor sailing as we have no wind, the sea is calm and the sun is shining. We woke this morning to the engine being turned off for some engine checks so dived out of bed and went for an early morning swim in the calm seas. It was a lovely wake up. I was promptly followed by Magnus diving in off the coach roof with an Acapulco standard swallow dive. Tom followed suit with a deft jump from the port rail then a quick swim around the boat. Youri and Wojtek quickly awoke and joined in the fun.
We are starting the inventory checks today. Andy is rooting through and documenting the engine bits in the port hand lockers, Youri and Wojtek are documenting the other items such as spare toilet seats under their starboard lockers. All jobs done now should mean we can finish the final jobs quickly when we dock in Cape Town. Then we can hopefully get some time to go sight seeing for a day or so when we get there before flying home next Saturday.
Andy has starting learning some astro navigation, Phil and Tom have been practicing on the journey thus far and have become accomplished so are now able to start to teach Andy and I.
We have sighted our first boat since Stanley, the cargo vessel Flama passed us by at about 2 miles.
It is quite funny that there are so many fighting over the sextant at the meridian pass, followed by some significant scratching of heads and swearing all afternoon when the calculations are being done. The outcome though is an impressively high standard of accuracy of determining our position, the bar has been set very high for our first attempts!!!!
The afternoon has been spent entertaining ourselves by trying to navigate around the inside of the boat without touching the floor, the record being 29 seconds by Phil, but fun being had by all. Then we had a visit by a pod of dolphins which was a welcome sight for all, everyone was a whooping and a hollering like cowboys on the foredeck as they jumped and dived in front of the bow.
We we woken this morning after our watch to the sounds of the engine screeching to a halt. Everyone very quickly gets to know the right and the wrong sounds on a boat, as we have mentioned before and this was a very wrong sound. Andy jumped in to action along with Magnus and Phil. Lots of head scratching, lots of worried looks, lots of wearing of YMCA boiler suits,(that I have to say we're not very fetching), lots of trying to restart the engine without much success. Those not actively involved with the engine repairs quickly saw to trying to eek out the best course we could with next no wind. The prospect of having to sail all the way to Cape Town was a daunting.The romantic idea that this lovely boat would gracefully sail the last 500 miles under her own steam, soon passed with the reality check that we have flights to catch and not enough days to get there at the 4 knots she was making under her own steam without the engine. Some hours and a new starter motor later (Pelagic carries spares of everything and having catalogued them yesterday we knew exactly where they all were) it was with some trepidation that we started the engine again, which thankfully started immediately. A huge sigh of relief for everyone. Thankfully we have not lost too much time but there is now no spare time to get to Cape Town for Thursday. We have to make 8 knots for the next 60 hours to get there on Thursday morning. That will be a tall order.
I suppose there is a little spare time but any later than that and Andy and I get no time whatsoever in Cape Town with our flights on Saturday morning. By way of note we would miss our plane if we had to continue under sail with the current wind, so all to play for!
We are back on track to arrive in Cape Town in the early hours of Thursday morning. Everyone is on count down, three weeks a sea is a long time. We are all talking about the first food we want to eat on land, not that the food has been bad on board, far from it, we are just looking forward to a restaurant meal on Thursday night. Tom has baked bread today, wonderful to have freshly baked bread with soup for lunch. He baked one loaf in the share of the pelagic emblem, a penguin head and a fish head at the other, it looked fabulous.
We are under sail today. We have quite a swell with moderate waves but gusts of up to 40 knots on our stern. We are flying towards our destination at the moment at a speed of 12 knots with little more than a knotted handkerchief up for a sail. Woo hoooo!!!!!!
Another lazy day of sailing. Little wind had us motor sailing until mid morning, then we managed do get the sails out and sail for the afternoon. Yet more whipping of sheets in weird places, the third reef needed whipping at the boom so I shinnied along the boom to do some more mending in situ. Periodical then throughout the day various of the crew went and sat on the boom lapping up the sunshine and living the dream. We are due to have good sailing weather again by late his evening so this lul in frantic activity won\