A Travellerspoint blog

ANDY: 7th

Friday 7th

Much of the same today, sailing East towards Tristan da Cunha, passed the 1000 mile to go point and also the 200,000 mile mark for PA.

Hung the washing out to dry on the stern rail today then spent a tense afternoon wondering if the the 30kt winds and heavy seas rolling the boat would shake our assorted 'smalls' free of their cloths pegs and off into the vast empty South Atlantic.

We have not seen sight of another vessel or land now for 8 days, the only other life out here appears to be birds of which there seem to be endless varieties of Albatross (yes I thought an Albatross was an Albatross, but not so apparently) today we saw Black Brow, Grey Headed and Wanderer Albatrosses, along with a large number of Cape Petrels. Apparently many of these birds do not eat fish, indeed we have seen none of them attempt to feed, the answer appeared on our deck overnight in the form of 'Simon' the squid (as he was named by one of our Canadian crew members) - a baby squid which must have been attracted by our stern light in the dark.

Claire filled the time on her evening watch by bakingq scones and mince pies(having found a stash of Robertson's mincemeat under a seat in the saloon! Needless to say this all went down well with everyone else even if the scones did not pass Claire's stringent QAstandards :-)

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ANDY: 2nd

Sun 2 June

Much of the same today, still heading North with the odd burst of speed under sail otherwise burning diesel in an attempt to get in the right position to avoid getting battered by 60mph winds and heavy seas.

We have logged 800 miles since Stanley but have only made 540 towards our target waypoint off Tristan de Cunha, which (whilst frustrating) is a necessary measure to sail around the bad weather. We are currently about 300 miles off the Brazilian coast heading North towards the River Plate and Buenos Aries where we should turn right along the top of the Forties.

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ANDY: 6th

Thursday 6th.

This morning’s watch included yet more craft workshop making of strops and generally doing the chores of the day. We each took a turn on the helm again in the fabulous blue sky and rolling seas. The helming is getting easier but is still a good work out with buckets of water being thrown at you to keep you cool. The weather is getting warmer, Claire wore one shirt and bare feet even on the helm but was slighty caught out when a wave came over the top of the pilot house. Claire has the speed record of the trip 13.7 knots from this session on the helm!!!! (it isn’t a competition ( much!)). Andy has decided that this trip is akin to our many UK holidays - i.e. days on end holed up inside looking out at the wind and rain but then when your spirits are low the sun comes out and you go for a sensational sail - today is shorts weather complete with 30kts plus of wind all of which results in the euphoria of surfing a 70 ton vessel at 13 kts - tell me again why we bought 3 holdalls of thermals and no warm weather gear - the wellies (yes spelt correctly this time ;-0) now only come out for early morning deck checks at the bow and night time sail changes!

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ANDY: 5th

Wednesday 5th.

Happy birthday to Phil. A quiet chorus was sung at the change of watch
at midnight. The postman needs to be chased own as we haven't all been
on be same watch yet to share the presents and card, and most
importantly eat the cake that Tom baked a coupleof nights ago. The day watch today has been a lovely watch. We did all the jobs on the early watch so have been able to enjoy the daylight of today's afternoon watch.
The sea is once again rough, so is once again throwing large waves as
us. In the main they roll through and gently roll the boat despite their height, but we do keep getting an odd enormous wave that has the boat on its side. When one of these waves rolled through this morning the
kitchen once again conspired against us. As I fell in to the kitchen to make the first brew of the new watch, a huge wave lifted us and somehow managed to lift the coffee from its secure slot and threw it at me. I missed the catch but bounced it over to Wojtek in all the excitement, he then then juggled it and unfortunately caught the catch on the lid which then showered fresh ground coffee all over the water heater! The next half hour was then spent cleaning up the mess as the coffee grounds got in to everything in sight! Oh well it kept us out of mischief for a while, and kept me amused. As we have said previously, fiddly jobs in a wobbly caravan.

Meal time is timed for watch changeover at 7:00pm, that means that the outgoing watch has to prepare a meal of such finery and magnitude that the incoming watch does not object (too much) to cleaning the galley by which time will be full of dirty pans and swimming with whatever cooking liquids have been involved in the process - in tonight's case the offending floor lubricant was a very tasty gravy which both ably accompanied our meal, of chorizo and mash, and turned the galley into a deadly skating rink given the tendency of the boat to frequently roll through 70 plus degrees in the heavy South Atlantic swell.

Both Claire and I have just taken a quick turn at the helm to relieve 'Percy' the [auto] pilot in an attempt to pre-empt some of the swell and stop the boat rolling so much - not sure we succeeded too well but nevertheless helming in the complete dark following just the stars with the odd glance to the the wind instruments was a real pleasure, but then Andy remembered the tea was brewing in the pot and it was back on with Percy and down with a mug of tea.

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ANDY: 4th

Tuesday 4th. June

The low pressure avoidance tactics have worked, we are nicely between two low pressures in the Roaring Forties. The low that is tracking to our West that we could have been in the middle of was forecast to have winds of up to 70 knots so we took a course to avoid which has taken us as far North as we need but not as farEast as we would have liked at this stage. However the forecast for the next 4 days appears to be perfect winds to help us sail directly for Tristan da Cunha. It has been disheartening for everyone to be heading only marginally towards our target destination for so long, however we are now directly on track with the miles ticking down nicely, only 1400 NM to go!!!! That is is a week of sailing to get there!

Having said that the low pressure zone avoidance tactics have worked we have missed the 70 knots area but are in the middle of 40 knots in rough seas, so this still makes for very interesting sailing. Magnus has hopefully managed to get some spectacular footage for us from the deck this afternoon, waves crashing over the foredeck looks very spectacular. In the most part we are we are very safe and warm on Pelagic Australis as she has a good pilot house and the foresails can be trimmed from the cockpit without having to go forward, unless the main sail needs to be altered we don't have to venture forward too often, but it makes for good footage!!! When we say rough seas that means a swell/ wave height of 4 metres in height, I am sure the South Atlantic could throw more at us if she wanted too, but that is quite enough for the moment thank you.
5 days since we last saw land. For most on board the is the longest anyone has been at sea. It is quite peculiar to think it could be up to a further 7 days before we see Tristan, that is if the winds are good enough to get us there, if not, itmay be 14 plus days to go!

Watching the bird life that is swirling around the boat is quite a regular pastime, as the only life other than our own little PA world the birds are a welcome distraction. We have Prions with us today, they have arrived in quite a flock. Yesterday we had Wanderer and Grey Headed Albatross and the usual smattering of Wilson Storm Petrels.

The chores this morning included the usual deck checks which identified that one of the ropes(the Prang ) where there had been a previous repair needed mending again. Thankfully, the rope could be temporarily swapped out for the opposite equivalent rope to allow the repairs to be undertaken inside, rather than in situ on deck. The lessons in the craft workshop yesterday have now been out in to practice andI ( Claire) repaired the rope using then skills from yesterday. It was debatable whether it was good enough as the repair may have been to thick to go through some of the blocks but with some extreme needle craft and very tight "whipping" of the rope along with some expeditious use of the persuader (hammer) to reduce the size, the Prang was out back in to action. Much to my satisfaction for a job well done. I may end up eating my words if the next one needs done on deck, but I will cross that bridge if the need arises.

Later watch.

Well the low pressure zone had us in her grasp for sometime. We had a good period of 40 knots plus winds which are at last favourable so we have now turned eastward and are travelling at a lickety slick quick pace towards Tristan. In the last 20 hours we have covered 180 NM, yyyyiiiippppeeeee! We are in the middle of the low now in calmer seas and low winds, waiting to get swept up again as the other side of the low passes over.

There have been some hilarious moments during the higher wind periods. Eating dinner was frustrating but amusing in hindsight. We served jacket potatoes with a bolognese sauce that we had frozen a few days go, having served to Wojtek he promptly sat down in the saloon to tuck in , the plate was secure on the sticky mat on the table but we are heeled so far over at about 45 degrees, the food instantly left the plate and went over the table. This was quickly followed by Andy sitting next to him, whose whole body slipped around the table loosing his dinner in the process and once again knocking Wojtek and his food. When all were tired and hungry there was a sense if humour failure, (but it was quite funny to watch:)).

I don't think we have mentioned the stars much yet. Between the downpours of rain the stars are quite breathtaking. Tom and Phil are doing quite a bit of celestial nav and know about the constellations, but to me they are just amazing to watch. We have seen shooting stars or what may be debris burning up on re-entry to the atmosphere, but anyway it gives something to watch for in the night sky.

Posted by AndyWi1son 12:21 Comments (0)

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