2012 Atlantic day 15 to 21

Day 15 Lost time is never found

Malua is at 13:23.05N 42:56.34W at 1200 on 4/12/2012

    Distance covered 1922
    Distance to go 975 nm
    Daily run 120

There has been no wind since yesterday night. We have been under power since then. The engine is turning over at 1500 rpm. The speed over the ground is just below 5 knots, with the wind speed indicator at 0.0 Luckily the sea is flat with a long swell so it is easy on the boat. The time we loose now will never be made up so we will arrive a day later. The other boats in our area are also experiencing no to little wind while the ARC boat further north and more to the east have had 10 to 20 knots of wind.
Time moves very slowly especially as it is hot and humid.
A magical moment on Malua

Day 16 All things come to those that wait

Malua is at 13:22.46N 45:02.10W at 1200 on 5/12/2012

    Distance covered 2046
    Distance to go 854
    Daily run 124
We have been waiting for the wind for three days. No wind. The GRIB files downloaded over the sat phone shows an Easterly wind of about ten knots but the local Gods did not hear that so we wait.
I made bread again today with the Moroccan flour and it felt good as I was kneading it. It rose well but then during the proofing stage it would not rise again so we have a rather flat loaf. The taste and texture is good but it is not light and fluffy.
I also defrosted the freezer. I took all the frozen meat out, put it in a plastic crate and then wrapped it in an blanket and eiderdown. A small fan blew hot air into the freezer and onto the plate. What usually takes a full morning only took two hours so in went the meat again. We still have 3 kg of mince, 2 kg of beef for stews, 4 chicken breasts, chicken sausage and 2 kg of pork steaks. More then enough food. I cooked up some beef stew in the traditional French way with a good splash of red wine, herbs of Provence, mushrooms and a few carrots and onions in to taste. We had half this evening just after the sun set. Still hot but the heat was dropping.

I have rigged up the sun shades on the port side of the boat to keep the sun off the cockpit during the day. The forward hatch is open with the wind scoop up and all the hatches are open.
No wind. Last night I changed to the front diesel tank after running the engine for 116 hour since leaving the Canaries. Yes this is a sailing boat but no wind and we do want to reach Barbados before Christmas. In the days of old the seamen would have driven the horses over board by now ( we are in the horse Latitude) because they would have drunk too much water. We still have sufficient.
A magical moment on Malua

Day 17 Never look a gift horse in the mouth

Malua is at 13:19.3N 46:59.56W at 1200 on 6/12/2012

    Distance covered 2116
    Distance to go 739
    Daily run 115
Well the wind finally arrived on day 17 ( I write this a day late) At dawn the wind came from the East and we switched off the engine after 70 hour of continuous running.
The day 16 was hot as hell with as you can imagine no wind. We were able to keep the hatches open as well as the port lights. But it still gets hot. In my quarter berth there is little or no air circulation so I set up a fan but I still drink a litre of water during the night. The water situation now that the generator is not working has held up well considering we shower every second day, Piers did some washing and we do keep a clean galley with everything washed up and stowed. The large water tank of 388 l has finally come to an end. The drinking water – in the stainless steel tank is down to the last few drops so that has left us with 250 l in tank 3 for the balance of the journey which we estimate will be 5 to 6 days. No more washing and no more showers unless we get a heavy rain shower or make water.
Sundancer is now hoping for less wind and less rain. The wind is taking its toll on their self steering. The battery is still low due to the alternator but Iain is happy with the situation. Their freezer has leaked refrigerant so they have no more cold beers and the food now has to be eaten. They had roast beef last night. The rain seems to come down in bucket fulls finding new leaks in their boat. Helen I understand would be happy to reach St Lucia tomorrow.

Malua is just happy to have some wind again. Our speed has picked up and we are pointing in the right direction.
Piers has now finished reading 15 books on his Kindle while I am rereading Solomon Time and A House Somewhere. I closed Slow Travel which is about a middle class Perth woman sailing through the poor countries of the world to try and help in east Africa. I didn't like the book when I first read it and now stopped half way. The sailing is boring and the land travel does not deserve comment.
A magical moment on Malua

Day 18 Make hay while the sun shines

Malua is at 13:1295N 48:57.3W at 1200 on 7/12/2012

    Distance covered 2276
    Distance to go 624

The wind finally arrived, not very strong but strong enough to switch off the engine and fly the spinnaker. We kept it up till after dinner of fried fish and chips with fried cabbage and onions.
The crew of Malua then settled down to a long night as the wind came up and the rain squalls moved through. Along with the wind came the swell so Malua is now slewing around as it races off down wind to Barbados. The max speed seen by Piers is 9 knots the average is over 7 and many times we reach the max hull speed of 8.4 knots.
Not much to report as we are both hanging on for dear life. Well it is not that bad because we can see our destination on the screen of the chart plotter.
A magical moment on Malua

Day 19 Every cloud has a silver lining

Malua is at 12:40.07N 51:31.9W at 1200 UTC on 8/12/2012

    Distance covered 2432
    Distance to go 475
    Daily run 156
Along with the wind came the clouds and with the clouds the rain. First light rain then heavier showers and as always with the rain came the wind so we moved along at a very nice pace thank you. The speedo was reading 7 knots and many times 8.4 knots Malua’s maximum hull speed.

The miles just slipped away and when I look at the chart plotter map I can see our destination in the bottom right hand corner. We can see where we are going. The vessels on the westward net are arriving at their destinations having set off from the Cape Verde island at about the same time we left the Canaries. Many have still a day or two to go before they reach Antigua. Those are the yachts that are heading back to the States after a round the world trip so every mile covered is a mile close to the end of the dream and home. They express mixed feelings.
The ARC boat have had a dream run with wind consistently in the upper 20 knots. Sundancer the cunning dog of 30 Sydney to Hobart race is gaining on Charm Offensive who it seems to break some gear every time we talk on the net. They need to be careful the dancer may just beat them to the finish.

Last night I was aroused out of my watch mode by the alarm of the AIS. I haven't heard that for some time. It was a cargo vessel coming right at us at 11 knots and only five miles away. I could clearly see the vessel but could not make out their lights except the red port light. I called the vessel and got an answer who stated “Yes he could see me on his Starboard bow” I of course was on his port bow. I told him my coarse but he seemed to think I was going the same way as him. After a discussion that we should pass port to port I settled down to watch him on the radar pass 1.5 miles off my port quarter. I then noticed that the reason I could not make out his direction was he was not showing the proper lights. After some discussion I informed him to turn on his mast head light. OK OK. Then as clear as day the light came on and I saw exactly the direction he was going and how far off he was. Luckily we had AIS and radar. In the old days there would have been panic on board but there again a cargo ship would have a Master who would have the right lights on as he steamed the wide oceans.
A magical moment on Malua

Day 20 It never rains but it pours

Malua is at 12:40.39N 54:12.25W at 1200 UTC on 9/12/2012

    Distance covered 2593
    Distance to go 319
    Daily run 161nm

The wins sure came as did the rain and the ugly sea. The morning was just Ok with clouds and increasing wind. By night fall we knew it was going to be a horrid night. The wind veered from the east to the north then back again to the south. The wind had now gone up to over 25 knots. Malua was surfing down the swells at 10 knots. The genoa was furled and we where just staying on track. It meant constant attention to the course or we would gybe which we did eventually. The autopilot could not cope with trying to keep its course, The off course alarm went off and Piers attended to that but the wind and waves had their way and over came the boom. The boom preventer snapped with a bang. I was out of my bunk in a flash at the wheel but could see nothing in the bitch blackness and the driving rain. I started the engine to try and get us back on course but the wind was pushing us off course. The boat was bucking like a horse but eventually we put a reef in the main, got all the lines squared away and tidy on deck. The rain continued to pelt down from the stern so we had to keep the companion way close.

After a while I gybed round again and we where back on course with Barbados less than a day away.
It was a long night that I sat at the captains chair guiding the boat down the swell and on the correct course but eventually the sun came up but the clouds and rain continues. I retired to my bunk and a well earned rest.
The sun is now out, the swell is still the same and the rain has gone. We have a single reef in the main and the staysail pulled tight with the bow pointing directly at Bridgetown.
Sundancer also had a bad night while Charm Offensive had their best run of the crossing – more than 200 nm. It helps to have four sailors on board.
A magical moment on Malua

Day 21 Arrival Alls well that end well

Malua is at 13:01.20N 59:22.05W at 12 00 UTC on 11/12/2012

    Distance covered 2903
    Distance to go 16
    Daily run 156
We are almost there. The sun is almost up and we are charging along at almost 7 knots under two reefs and the stay sail.
We say land at 10:40 UTC with 24 miles to go at 13:01.819N 59:13.947W. It came right out of the clouds off the port bow. The cry Land ahoy went up and I woke Piers to come and have a look.
The sea was still up so we were slewing around making for the way point just north of The Shallows a underwater reef that can get nasty in bad weather.
Just then a cruise ship appears over our stern and we have to put on the motor to get out of his way. We pass ahead and with all the majesty of a large block of apartments they cruise by.

Within a few hours we arrive.
The state of our stores are: The is still a few pieces of frozen meat but no pre-prepared meals. Plus two fish meals.
We currently have:
    Onions 5
    Potatoes 6
    Tomatoes Reddish 2
    Peppers green 1
    Cabbage 3/4
    Cauliflower 0
    Oranges 2
    Mandarins 2
    Lemons 9
    Apples 0
We have more than enough tinned food on board to cross back again.
The greatest disappointment is the Moroccan flour which turned out to make a very poor quality bread.
A magical moment on Malua