Days 2&3 Sun/Mon 11/12th Oct 09

DMG (i.e. direct distance) between noon-to-noon positions:
(From Puerto Calero, on sailing out of marina entrance at 0645 GMT, to noon Sat 10th Oct: 29M)
To noon Sun 11th Oct: 139M
To noon Mon 12th Oct: 127M
Total DMG so far: 295M, compared with 314M from log readings.

Discrepancy due to mix of calibration error, occasional gybing, current effects and general 'wandering' off straight course due to wave action, wind steering and electronic autopilot steering (used until Hydrovane was set to work on Sunday to save power - it keeps a surprisingly good course and I'm really happy with it).

I'm not pushing the boat too much, partly still getting used to how she sails, and partly bearing in mind I've a long way to go so don't want to stress the rig. But tomorrow, if present light winds continue (which is very likely), I'll get out the as yet untried asymmetric and try that for better speed - it'll be a useful experiment - new boat, new sails.... I'll try to make sure I don't make the same mistake hoisting it as when we tried it a week or so back, out of Pto. Calero!!

NE-NNE winds should continue, maybe swinging to NW for a time over next few days - almost certainly light for several days, but better E of Cape Verdes than W, because of high pressure W of here.

I'm writing this as I heat up my favourite beginning-of-passage meal: a 'ratatouille stew' - thanks to Sally for chopping everything up so it could be cooked in advance of leaving - enough for three evening meals, easily!! Yesterday's squid (or cuttlefish? - can someone tell me the difference?) - was delicious! - cooked in green olive oil with plenty of lemon juice... mm!

Outside, it's calm but very dark- cloudy and far too early for the waning moon to have risen. Nothing and no-one out there - just me, the boat and the dark sea & sky.... 'Nereida' is like a small cocoon in the middle of the ocean - safe and familiar. Tonight, there seems not to be any phosphorescence in the disturbed water - unlike on the way down to the Canaries from Guernsey, when it was like hundreds of diamonds sparkling in the water!

Amusingly, after the nasty Capt of 'Jigawa', I had a pleasant chat overnight with the guys on watch on 'Rofos' - a tanker headed to Cotonou in W. Africa - typically nice, friendly Phillipinos who were clearly intrigued by the thought of a woman sailing alone - I'd seen them change course to pass astern of me as they crossed my path without my needing to contact them to ask their intentions...

This morning, I was getting breakfast after having looked around on deck (no squid this morning!)... went to poke my head up again - and to my amazement, found a small yacht sailing very close off to starboard & crossing my path. Seas were quite big at the time and the wind had suddenly strengthened so we were both moving around a lot... There was no-one on deck and no response initially when I called on the VHF... I steered to pass her astern as her skipper came up on deck - he hadn't realized I was there until hearing me on the VHF ... a close call! Bob, of 'Sylph VI', was also single-handing and was now on his way back home, after cruising around the N. Atlantic for a few years. He planned to take his time and stop in places en route to Adelaide via Brazil & the Magellan Strait. We had quite a long chat and arranged to do so again later in the day - but I pulled too far ahead of him, his boat being smaller, and by mid-afternoon, when I tried calling on realizing he was out of sight, we'd lost radio contact.

Time for food ... There are no ships around at present and we're over 100 mls off the W. African coast - hopefully, way too far for small, unlit fishing boats.... Goodnight from 'Nereida'....

Written by : Mike

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