A Travellerspoint blog

Going for a dip 1200 miles offshore

The wind has died to the extent that we are are now motor sailing, however it is in good sunny weather so spirits are high. The paid crew did the evening watches having decided that the motoring does not require the full crew to be present on watch so all the guest crews got a full nights sleep. The day has been a thoroughly enjoyable one. The chores this morning included doing more whipping of the sheets , Andy finished the repairs to the step ladders then we were all allowed to play. Like little kids Wojtek, Youri, Tom and I took turns to climb the mast for no reason other than to say we have done it. We were all harnessed on and the the sea was not rough so was just pure fun, great views and quite an adrenalin rush. Andy has set up a fishing line from the back of the boat in the hope of fresh tuna sushi for dinner, we won\

Posted by AndyWi1son 09:56 Comments (1)

Tristan da Cunha

Well it is all action here. Andy did the passage planning and brought us in to the anchorage for Tristan passing by the other islands in the archipelago in the dark. However, much to everyone\

Posted by AndyWi1son 09:56 Comments (0)

Extreme Sewing

Well you have heard of extreme fishing and extreme ironing, well we have our own version extreme sewing. As we suspected more whipping needed to be done, this time on one of the sheets in operation. This involved hanging over the side to sew the yankee sheet under tension, great fun, I have never had to wear my life jacket to sew before. We are are looking forward to Tristan de Cunha to tomorrow. This is such a remote community we are all intrigued to meet them and go ashore. We have a book in board that tells us all about the history of the island and the residents. The islanders have 9 supply boats per year, and a few odd tourist boats like ours each year. There are circa 250 residents, the island is 5 miles diameter, and is basically a volcano with one small patch on the north side where it is flat and can sustain the community. There community is based around potato growing and fishing. The tourist walk around the village is to visit the potato patches.

Posted by AndyWi1son 09:56 Comments (0)

ANDY: 9th

Sunday 9th

We changed the watch system slightly last night. Instead of each team getting up for the full watch, three hours on, three hours off, we agreed that for the night watches only one team member would get up, but the others would be on standby if needed. This would allow everyone to catch up on some very needed sleep. The new system worked quite well other than Mother Nature decided to throw a major squall at us which had both crews out of their bunks to help.

We are running fully downwind, and have the foresails out in a goose wing formation in front of us. We had great fun putting the poles out and setting up the sails last night, but this was the cause of some of the late night issues as we were all unfamiliar with the set up when a 50 knot breeze and a rough sea brewed up very quickly. I think the most incredible thing about the south Atlantic is how quickly the weather changes. One minute you have 15 knots then gusts come through at 40 knots which gets you quickly bent out of shape. PA is very capable of taking care of us under these circumstances but it makes for a very uncomfortable ride until we get it sorted.

The noise whilst sailing is something else. There is the constant sound of the sea, sometimes calm, sometimes the washing machine with towels in spinning around making a right racket. Then there are the creeks and groans of the boat. The auto helm makes a low bass drum sound in combination with a whip crack each time it makes and adjustment which is frequently which resounds throughout the saloon. Then there is the generator which, when on, adds to the drone of the auto helm. The engine of course is noisy but is rarely on at the moment as we have such good sailing winds. Then come the noises of the sails and sheeting on deck. You very quickly get used to what are the right noises that are the boat filling her sails and rocking in the following sea, however you also get used to when the noises are when we have made a mistake and have the wrong sail set up for the sea or the wind conditions. The sails on these occasions do flap, the sheets whip across the deck all making the situation sound very dramatic and adds to the sense of urgency to get things sorted. The sounds of the crew adjusting the sheets also has a distinctive sound, the winches when under tension sound like the Viking horns sounding the impending attack, is along with the bass drum of the auto helm it is the soundtrack to a medieval movie.

There isn't much music being played on the voyage as there is nearly always someone asleep off watch, but we have even able to share quite a few albums. We have listened to Phil's recording of his singing which was good, but the recording of his daughter in a group was fabulous, Lil an Meg I believe have an album out later his year. We have all been sharing our favourite albums, as a result we have some new albums to go and buy, and have fallen in love all over again with some old long forgotten favourites. ELO to name but one album that has come to the forefront during the trip. Whilst we haven't played it, Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross " will have to be played soon as the are so many albatross around it will have to be the sound track to a least some of the GoPro footage of the trip.

Posted by AndyWi1son 12:21 Comments (2)

ANDY: 8th

Saturday 8th

Awoke for first watch to the sound of the engine running as the wind had dropped and backed to the point it was directly from astern, this did however have added benefits - that of plenty of hot water and a calm following sea allowing for showers and other chores to be undertaken. This included a freezer audit (freezer is for holding scientific ice cores from the Antarctic but has been put to more domestic use on this trip - having emptied the contents into the forehead we located not only our missing sausages but also half a lamb, two full racks of ribs and a whole Argentinian beef fillet, roast lamb for dinner tonight then!

It's starting to get quite warm now so the veg and fruit and starting to go off quite quickly which means our diet/menu is dictated by which veg has the shortest life remaining, tomatoes, cauliflower and courgettes are the first to go, we now understand the reason for washing every thing in 'Milton' before on boarding as it kills both mould causing bacteria and the eggs of fruit flies prolonging the life of the veg/fruit as much as possible. Not sure three consecutive meals which majored on cauliflower were good for the crews health or the quality of the atmosphere down below though ;-) !

More and more now we are realising that the skills being transferred on this trip are not just about the technical side of sailing (in fact those are actually quite few, compared with say inshore racing) but more about the practicalities of life on board and how to live comfortably and safely in a confined space together for weeks on end, that and of course watching the weather forecasts like a hawk so that we can gain maximum benefit of the low pressure systems which race Eastwards below 40 degrees of latitude without getting to low ourselves and being put through the 'washing machine' - we seem to be doing ok on this front after our long passage north up the Brazilian coast to avoid the full force of the first two depressions we encountered - the down side of this is that we have had to cover more ground than expected which could put our projected arrival into Cape Town in jeopardy as we still have some 2000 miles or so to go - we are still hopeful however of a brief stop at Tristan da Cunha weather permitting, apparently the seas are only calm enough to land there some 30% of the time- so fingers crossed.

Posted by AndyWi1son 12:21 Comments (0)

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