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13March08 - 13 isn't always a bad luck omen!! Day2: Rocking & rolling from St Helena - Trinidad

Thursday 13th March

Today I've definitely had some good things happen! For a start, my laptop decided to 'wake up' - I decided to try charging it up some more and an hour or so later, saw that the battery light was no longer blinking. In fact, it was off... Aha...!! I kept the charger running while I tried to start it...hey presto! Life after death definitely exists...!! All is well...

Another happy find was my 'best' pair of almost undamaged (!), intact (ie no lens missing!) reading specs I'd lost for quite some time.... found in the bottom of a cockpit halyard bag when I went rummaging for some line when dealing with the other main item on today's joblist... dealing with chafe. The good news there is that I spotted two potential disasters before they got too far down the road to happening... a short length of clear PVC hose was just perfect to protect the areas of concern in good time. This morning, I'd noticed some completely torn webbing which had been holding a block onto a cleat... but, fortunately, I'd already tied in a second one when I first spotted this one wearing some time ago. "A stitch in time..." That's what got me checking around carefully for chafe elsewhere, remembering also the worn lazyjack line & topping lift I very recently had to deal with. So much sailing, often on long passages in big seas and strong wind, puts a lot of stress on all the gear & it's beginning to show.

The sailing has been good since leaving James Bay, St Helena, yesterday afternoon. The wind has been 15-19 knots, more or less SE, which has put us on a run.... I've had to come slightly off my rhumbline course to keep the sails filled nicely in the big SSE swell that's been knocking the boat about a lot. I decided to sail just below my course, on port tack, rather than sail high, since the forecast is for the wind to go more to the East over the next few days, in which case I'll be able to gybe around onto starboard tack to compensate. Even if it doesn't, I think the slightly stronger wind is to the south, so it's not a good idea to head too far north of my course for the time being. It's been mainly sunny and air temperature is consistently 27-28C, so all quite pleasant.

I'm speaking on the SSB to various other boats heading away from S.Africa - mainly people I've seen in S. Africa and elsewhere over the last few months. The exception to that is solo, nonstop, west-about, circumnavigator Glen Wakefield with whom I was put in touch by a mutual friend at the Royal Victoria Y.C. (in Canada) where he started from, after taking five years to rebuild the boat 'Kim Chow' that he's on. Not having seen anyone else to talk to since leaving last September, he appreciates being able to chat to someone on the radio, especially since his Globalstar satphone only works when near land(!!) so he cannot talk to wife, daughters & friends just now, only exchange emails - when he can make contact, which is getting increasingly difficult for him as he gets further from S. Africa.

Written by : Mike

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