Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Return of blue skies

We woke up to blue sky this morning, our first for three days and the weather made good its early promise with sun and clear skies all day. The wind has remained fresh, 20-25 knots with occasional gusts up to 30 knots. We're making good progress on a broad-reach under heavily reefed main and genoa. We've thoroughly tested the cockpit and deck drains with some big waves breaking onto us - they work, with Kika taking it in her stride, initially laden with water, but quickly shaking it off and continuing on her way. Given the size of the sea it's surprising how few waves we've taken over the side. That said the sailing hasn't been too taxing, with George in control all day and working well under trying conditions; bringing us back onto course after being pushed off by a passing monster wave.

Zefferin continue to close on us and as of last night was 7 miles behind us. We still haven't actually seen them, but we thought at nightfall we'd be able to see each other's mast head lights, but no sign of them yet - a bit concerning because I've always assumed the mast-head light would be clearly visible to others, perhaps not in a large sea. We've talked to Zefferin a couple of times today, the conversation punctuated by "oh my God, that was a big one", "hang on, oh ah, yes, um, back again, self steering just lost control" and other stronger expletives. Either our conversations happen to coincide with Zefferin passing through some especially rough water, or they appear to be having a wetter time of it than we are. Schadenfreude? maybe a little.

Despite the rolly conditions we've been working on the bimini to try to improve the water catching system. After spending an hour extracting the sewing machine from its locker and tying it securely to the saloon table, I discovered that it's too feeble to sew through five layers of Sunbrella material. So untie, restow and out with the patented hand-stitcher, which when we first bought it, seemed to be a marvel of design simplicity. However after a couple of rows of meandering stitches, I now see it for what it is - nothing more that a handle containing a needle. Eventually the bimini work was postponed when I broke the needle. Hopefully it will resume tomorrow when the glue sets the remaining half needle into the handle.

It's now the middle of the night, the sea has calmed down a lot, but still no sign of Zefferin. It's eery scanning the horizon, knowing there's another boat out there, but not being able to see it. We're hoping for some good photo opportunities tomorrow.
Position @ 21:20 UTC: S08°10' W126°53'
Daily distance run: 158 nm (estimated)
Distance to go: 731 nm
Cumulative distance: 2118 nm
Engine hours:0
Wind: SE/ 20-25 knots
Weather: rough sea, 50% cloud cover, 1010 millibars

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