Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Head south until the butter melts

"Head south until the butter melts" is the standard advice for when to turn west for the Caribbean. It's certainly hot enough to melt the butter and today we stopped heading SW and are now heading W for the Caribbean. Unfortunately the promised trade winds have yet to materialise. We're currently in 5-10knots of SE wind, the trade winds should give us 15-20knots of NE wind. So we're doing our best to sail and making around 3.5knots.

We just listened to our afternoon radio net and all the boats within 200 miles are reporting similar conditions and most appear less patient and are motoring. It seems a shame to shatter the peace by putting the engine on all for another 2 knots of boat speed. So it doesn't look like we'll win any awards for a fast passage to the Caribbean, but the conditions are currently quite pleasant.

Wind-vane self steering suffers from one problem - if the wind changes direction so does your course. This morning we had an E wind and set a course W for the Caribbean. A hour or so later we checked the course and discovered we were heading NW. The wind had veered to the SE and George had obediently followed it round. Felt like we were heading back on ourselves - good job we're not racing.

Ellen is feeling a little better today, but is still suffering from seasickness. Our plan is to revert to seasickness drugs on Friday if her sea-legs have failed to materialise.

Position at 14.50 UTC: 16deg 37'N 26deg 57'W.
Daily distance run: ~130nm; cumulative distance: 965:
Engine hours: 0
Distance to go: ~ 1735nm
Conditions: SE 8-10knots, slight sea,
1010 millibars

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