Friday, December 16, 2005

Good sailing in light winds

We've been sailing since midnight Thursday. We had a comfortable night sailing on a beam-reach with full main and genoa, making around 4knots. This morning we substituted the genoa for the cruising chute to increase our speed in the light winds. Inevitably the wind veered to the NE and down came the cruising-chute exchanged for our twin-poled-out head-sails rig.
elusive trade winds
elusive trade winds

Other than sail changes we've been calculating distance remaining to Martinique. We're making good westerly progress and since we've crossed 30degW longitude we've moved to a new chart which includes the Caribbean. We've drawn a rhumb line
(a straight line) and calculated distance. Reassuringly the chart and GPS agree: 268deg true to Martinique, 1780 nautical miles at 13.55 today. The magnetic variation is 17deg W at our present longitude, so we're steering 285deg magnetic; as the magnetic variation is west its added to the true bearing - if we got this wrong we'd be 34deg out and probably end up in Brazil!

We'll definitely have Christmas aboard, but we're still hoping to arrive in 2005, although if the winds don't pick up soon, its going to be a close call.

We're in touch with Freespirit daily, they started a couple of days before us but put into the Cape Verdes for some minor repairs. Their pit stop cost them dearly as we've sneaked ahead of them, but we're both hoping to arrive before New Year.

Ellen's sea-sickness appears to be subsiding, but her appetite has vanished. I made some chocolate crispies this morning to try to coax her stomach back to normal service, but with only limited success - the crispies turned out on the soggy side of the crisp and they failed to restore her interest in food.

Position at 13.55 UTC: 15deg 12'N 30deg 23'W.
Daily distance run: ~115nm; cumulative distance: 1195:
Engine hours: 10
Distance to go: ~ 1780nm
Conditions: NE 10 knots, slight sea, 1010 millibars

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