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Day 1 Passing Fuertoventura

The KISS torsion spring did not arrive by early afternoon Friday, despite being expected two days before. Having been busy up to then, making use of the chance to get some useful things done which would otherwise have been done when under way, I decided to have a meal onshore, finish with the Internet (for 6mths or more!) and get some solid sleep for a few hours before setting off around dawn.

So I motored 'Nereida' over to the fuel dock, to top up with diesel. Being pinned by the wind to the dock, I enjoyed the chance to 'spring' her off, using the motor in astern - necessary to get away at all and even more so in view of the angle needed to avoid an enormous catamaran ahead at the same dock. I then went over to an opposite dock ready for leaving under sail early the next morning & Paul & Sally came over to say farewell. I had my last steak and chips for at least 6 months, followed by my last ice cream, in company with Suzanne, Peter and Norman - and was presented with a big carton of UHT cream to go with the Xmas puddings I have on board - a lovely leaving present from the kind waitress at McSorley's, who raided the locked kitchen for me!!

That plan also meant that I avoided leaving on a Friday - not that I'm superstitious ... but you never know!! In the grey pre-dawn light, I raised the mainsail and sailed away from the dock - with a wave from Suzanne who'd surprised me by getting up early to see me off and take photos.

Today has been a very pleasant sail, gentle at first with increasing wind over the afternoon, and we're now making excellent speed of over 7 kn having gybed earlier to get away from the African coast - we were just 30 miles off, I suddenly realized, and meeting frequent shipping.

(Later) The idea of having a remote screen so as to keep the laptop tucked well out of the way is good when it works - but I'm constantly having to get the laptop out to re-set the remote screen because the system doesn't seem to like going to sleep - Vista again? I've had to learn more about my PC.

Winds definitely picked up overnight - I put a reef in & we still regularly made well over 7 knots with seas having built from the 2m of earlier to about 3m, somtimes 4m - not too bad.

I met up with a particularly obnoxious Captain (of 'Jigawa II') whom I'd tried to contact when he was well off because his closest distance was showing as just over a mile. It's always nice to confirm the big ships know I'm there to make sure we keep well clear of each other & that usually takes only a brief contact. I had a big problem for some time hearing him at all on the VHF radio, his transmission was so broken, and when we finally made contact, he clearly did not know I where I was, despite my transmitting on AIS, & said he couldn't see me on his radar (at which point he was 4mls off & his lights were clearly visible to me) so I turned on my deck light to light up my sails. All his responses were very uncooperative and dismissive and it was a most unpleasant experience, unlike similar occasions in the past when captains have been perfectly pleasant, professional and helpful. He clearly disliked sailing boats....and maybe hearing a female voice didn't help either.... So often, ships I meet up with not only have helpful, polite crew but very friendly ones - often only too happy to have a chat to break up the boredom of their long passages.

I'll sign off now and see if I can send this via radio well before midday when it gets less easy.... (Detailed position & weather reports are being posted every day, independent of any log report, like this one, being made)

27N, 015W

Written by : Mike

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