Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pirate radio

After days of little or no wind, we're finally having a fantastic spinnaker run into the setting sun.

The day started with very little wind and some debate about whether to motor or try to sail. Those worried about diesel carried the day. Initially it wasn't looking promising, we were making 2-3 knots with a 2 knot favourable current, but as we'd motored through the night most were happy to persevere and have a break from the noise and heat of the motor. However by mid-morning you could hear the frustration on the radio as sails flapped impotently and recalculations were made to see how many hours motoring each boat thought they had left. Fortunately the wind slowly increased allowing a more respectable 5 knots though still with a favourable current.

There's been a definite rise in tension in the group as we approach "pirate alley". A couple of emails have cast doubt on our original plan and a ship called to advise us to minimise our use of the VHF, as there were a number of thwarted pirate attacks close to our position. The theory was that the pirates had a mother ship close by and we shouldn't draw attention to ourselves by using the VHF. After this sobering news we rapidly regrouped, our differing speeds had strung us out over 5 miles, which suddenly felt too much.

Although the piracy threat seems increasingly real, it should be tempered with emails we've all been receiving from boats who have made it to Aden without incident.

Our twice daily SSB net has developed a certain pattern. It opens with a musical introduction from Richo Maru and finishes with a poem from Afriki. This morning's crafted verse, alludes to difficulties with collaborative decision making:

Some want to sail; perhaps the majority,
Others want to motor; maybe the minority,
The problem on this ship,
With each extra day on the trip,
Means I need to keep coming up with new poetry.

Copyright 2009 Ian (Afriki)

Position @ 12:00 (GMT+5), 24/02/2009: N14deg 26' E054deg19'
Distance to security corridor: 77
Engine Hours: 16
Daily run: 57

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