2012 Atlantic day 8 to 14

Atlantic Crossing Day 8 through 14
A further extract from the mailasail blog


Malua is at 18:22.86N 27:17.65W at 0600 on 27/11/2012

Malua has done 940 and has 1908 to go
Our daily run is 134nm
It has not been a great day on Malua because the sea came up and we reefed down to a polled out genoa and a small stay sail. Our direction is good but the waves are from all angles and the wind is barely up to 10 knots. It is difficult to move around and one has to wedge ones self into the bunk with two or more pillows if you want to sleep. I tried to sleep during the day but was not very successful so going into the night watch routine I struggled to keep awake.
I have changed the battery banks over so the fridge comes from the Bank 2 and the solar and wind generator also go into it. At the moment it is using between 2 and 4 amps.
We will keep this sail configuration while the sea is so confused but will loose miles. Tomorrow we will have to catch up.
A moment on Malua

Day 9

Malua is at 17:33.0N 29:19.2W at 0600 on 28/11/2012

Malua has come 1076 nm from Canaries
We have 1749 to go to Barbados

Today we changed our sailing strategy having expected to encounter stronger wind which did not eventuate we were running with twin headsails. The change is to a reefed main and a full genoa polled out with George steering the boat. Our days run was only 93 miles which is about 50 below our average so we will have to make that up over the next two weeks. French flour and only one cup of the Moroccan flour. The loaf turned out almost perfect (complet – French Integrale Spanish) but it was welcome for lunch which went well with the last of the fish. We will have to put out a line again.
Dinner was fried chicken breast al la Denny with Whole grain cream sauce. Just before dinner the full moon rose into the sky only minutes after the sun had set right on the bow.
A magical moment on Malua

Day 10

Malua is at 16:59.7N 31:47.0W at 0600 UTC on 29/11/2012

Distance covered 1225
Distance to go 1639
Days run 151 nm
Since we changed to a main and a poled out genoa we have increased our speed, the sea has gone down and the boat is not jumping around as much and we have increased our daily run to a healthy 151 nm above average.

We did not do much except read and sit around although around lunch time we put out the fishing lures and hauled in two rather nice wahi wahi – small but rather good. Piers got two smaller ones which we let return to the deep after their sleigh run to Malua. While I was reeling in the fish which I do from the port cockpit rail I lifted the rod, the fish rose up in the following swell and before I knew it the line was in the wind generator going round and round dragging more line from the reel. A quick grab at the safety knife at the wheel cut the line and a dive for the other end ensured we saved the fish for the pan. I had to stop the blades to untangle the line from the shaft and last quite a lot of line so now I have a knot at a critical point in the line – oh well the big one may just get away.
We are now 16 degrees west of Greenwich and the time has moved on so we set our deck clock to advance one hour. We still record everything in GMT time but my watch starts at 9:00 pm an hour later. It suits be better for I have some time after supper to settle down before it get dark.
Just before lunch a yacht appeared out of no where on the port quarter. I could not see them on the AIS so I hailed them on VHF ch 16. They turned out to be a Norwegian vessel CU @ Sea on their way to Barbados. We said we would keep in touch but before you knew it they had disappeared over the horizon.
A magical moment on Malua

Day 11

Malua is at 15:54.36N 33:59.64W at 0600 on the 30?11/2012

Distance covered 1370
Distance to go 1502
Days run 145
The swell has been up all day and night but we have been travelling rather well as seen from our daily run. The boat behaves itself very well and everything has remained in its place. The moon came up an hour after dark so the start of Piers watch was dark.
Unfortunately at around midnight the wind dropped away almost completely and we wallowed in the swell with the sails flapping. We dropped the main and rolled in the genoa and switched on the motor just to keep us on course and going in the right direction. That lasted all night however the swell dropped and the rock and roll subsided. I now understand why people after an Atlantic crossing just want to sit under a tree and feel the ground solid underneath them. Malua has many hand holds so it is not difficult to move around the saloon or to stand at the chart table or stove. I have only used the safety strap at the stove one evening to assist me balance but soon found it gets in the way more than it helps. Leaning against the sink and work area with the stove swing out on the side is the easiest position. My captain chair at the chart table is great. It is secure, does not move about and I can work the computer, radio and chart plotter without moving. I have raked it back a little and can snooze while not going out side.
A rain squall came through last night so Piers put the joining canvas up, the wash boards in and we adjourned below, he to his bunk and I to the captain chair. The rain soon stopped but it did not bring wind so we continued to motor till the sun came up and so did the main and genoa.
Our stores are looking good. The is still a lot of frozen meat and pre-prepared meals. Plus two fish meals.
We currently have:
Onions 16
Potatoes 17
Tomatoes Reddish 6
Peppers green 3
Cabbage 1.5
Cauliflower 1/3
Oranges 3
Mandarins 9
Lemons 11
Apples 2
A magical moment on Malua

Day 12 Patience is a virtue

Malua is at 15:25.09N 36:15.05W at 0800 on 1/12/2012

Distance covered 1507
Distance to go 1369
Days run 137

The wind died away and we waited and waited but soon ran out of patience so started the engine under the pretext of charging the batteries. As the sun came up we continued to motor over a flatter sea. The afternoon saw some sails but again at nightfall on came the engine and we motored again. We are not alone the boats who check into the westward net who are nearing their destination have not had wind for two days. One only did 53 nm in 24 hours. Some motor while others just wait.
The ARC fleet which is currently at 20 39N 29 56 W are experiencing strong winds of 20 to 25 and more. Charm Offensive have destroyed one foresail and damaged another. Sundancer has put in a temporary fix to their engine but pulled the head out of their main while shaking out a reef. What would you have no wind or too much.

Malua is going south – we are currently at 14 19 N to try to sail round a low pressure system which these other boats have sailed into. Hopefully down here the winds blow as Trade wind should!
As we go westwards the time changes. It is getting light later every day – one hour every 15 degrees from 0.0 Greenwich. I keep my watch on GMT but the deck watch which we eat by will change again tomorrow and we will put it back.
Still all is well on board. We are eating well, getting along well however it is getting hotter every day. It is currently 32 degrees C at 17:30 GMT.
No new news on the provisions except that I found some carrots in the fridge- more stores. Meat balls for dinner tonight.
A magical moment on Malua

Day 13 You are what you eat

Malua is at 14:30.85N 38:30.20 W at 0800 on 2/12/2012

Distance covered is 1650
Distance to go 1235
Days run 143

Today being Sunday we had the on passage traditional breakfast of beacon, fried eggs, fried tomatoes, toast with marmalade and good coffee. The stores are holding up well. We have sufficient bacon for one more Sunday so we had better get there soon.
The bread continues to frustrate me as it wont rise beyond a certain point so I am going to take a different approach tomorrow. Today I made scones for breakfast which were followed at lunch by the left over meat balls – made last night and some fried rice. Yes, you are what you eat.
It get hot during the day so I have set up a salt water shower on the aft swim platform to cool down. It does help. The fridge is working over time but seems to be copping.
The days run was quite good 143 with the main and the polled out genoa. We have been catching a cat in front of us at 100 nm over a seven day period. They only have 220 nm to go so we will see them when we arrive. After lunch we raised the large blue spinnaker and left that up until it got dark. It is just not prudent to leave it flying in the dark before the moon comes out but anyway the wind was dropping. At midnight the wind completely dropped off and I furled all the sails and put on the engine. This continued through the night and all morning when a slight breeze came up so up went the spinnaker again.
The ARC yachts Sundancer and Charm Offensive are having 20 to 25 knots of wind with a gust over 35 during the night CM is hand steering for a good proportion of the time because of the strong winds and the angle they must sail. The yachts ahead of us have had no wind but it picked up today so they are all planning their landfalls. One of the company arrived at Barbados in the dark and went into the bay and anchored. They checked in the following day. So it seams as if it is quite easy.
A magical moment on Malua

Day 14 Step by step one goes far

Malua is at 14:10.45N 41:04.72W at 1200 on 3/12/2012

Distance covered 1802
Distance to go 1085
Days run 125

The only way one crosses a large ocean is one swell at a time. The wind was only 10 to 12 knots during the afternoon when we had the blue spinnaker up but as the sun set we took it down and the wind dropped away. We polled out the genoa and had the main on the starboard side with a gybe preventer. The moon only rose after midnight prior to that it was dark. When I came on watch at 0000 GMT I could just see a dark cloud astern of us. It smelt like rain so I was watching for a squall to come through. I started to see the wind swing towards the starboard side and adjusted the autopilot accordingly but not fast enough, the wind rose and got behind the main and before I knew it the main gybed breaking the preventer securing point – a safety feature. The boom swung over to the port side and the main started to flap. Piers was on deck in a flash only to see the main swing back again to the starboard side. The wind settled and we were back again on our 250 course to Barbados. A long night ahead except the moon then came up and I could see the storm clouds pass us by and go into the darkness. By daybreak the wind had dropped so I started the engine and we have been motoring ever since. The batteries are full but the generator is still loosing water from the radiator.

Time plays such a part when one is on watch but the balance of the time it just goes by. The radio schedules are all referred to as GMT or UTC which it is now called. We are at 41 degrees west of Greenwich so we are behind their time by almost three hours. We have adjusted the watch system to start at dark but the deck clock is still set at GMT so today we had breakfast at 11:00 GMT just after sun rise. From tonight we will adjust the deck clock by 3 hour and start to live a more normal life only referring to GMT when talking radio.
The winds seem to be light for most of the cruisers who left the Cape Verdes and are now approaching the Caribbean however the ARC yachts which are still at 20 degrees North and 36 degrees West are getting good winds of 20 to 25 knots. One never seems to be in the right place. We left the Canaries a week late but we could not have caught up the 10 days we lost in Morocco due to that bad weather. We expect to make land fall in 8 days time around Wednesday 12 or Thursday 13. – the Gods be willing.
A magical moment on Malua.