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Fri/Sat 11/12 April Days 7&8 of no autopilot or windsteering - Raymarine turn up trumps!

Friday 11th April '08

Had emailed Raymarine UK for help with problem - immediate excellent reply - replacement parts being shipped to Chaguaramas dealer from US to arrive Monday ready for fitting. A very much appreciated quick response - many, many thanks, Fiona & Bob!

Have also been 'talking' to Peter Foerthmann of Windpilot who's come up with some simple suggestions to resolve problem with windsteering once I make landfall.

Cloudy at start of helming session, so dramatic sunrise. (White-tailed tropic bird seen soon after ... so graceful....) Clouds cleared to give very pleasant day.. got very hot by midday. NO fair current all morning... and wind down, so boatspeed down. Kept on helming until 1.30pm (from 7am, instead of 5am - overslept!)

Distance made good to Chaguaramas to noon was 103ml - a measure of Thursday afternoon/evening's good current found, adding to full canvas & good wind!

Slept a bit in afternoon & made pasta with shrimps & (ready-made!) spinach & ricotta cheese sauce after waking & before back on deck at 7pm...

Wind increased soon after I started ... took in 1st reef - nasty-looking rainclouds nearby and ahead as sun was about to set... Thought about dropping 2nd reef for night sailing but didn't - turned out OK with winds just up to 16kn... good speed - and had good current on & off - or at least, none against!

Bright lights dead ahead at 10pm - oil rig??... couldn't make it out but it was BIG, bright & seemed stationary. (My AIS display would probably have answered my question, but I couldn't leave wheel to look at it) Kept well clear in case towing or towed or other problems (like anchor cables - memories of leaving Luderitz!!)... Later another ship passed very close but all OK...

Hove to a bit early soon after midnight for sleep... tired - helming was hardwork in increased wind and resulting rough seas.

Sat 12th April WET, WET, WET...!

Up at 4am to get going again.... took a time, since decided to drop 2nd reef - nagging worry about night sky seemingly overcast & wind slightly up & possible squalls unseen coming in the dark.... Boy, was I glad I did that!! Short while later, after I'd removed jacket, being too warm, the strong wind & torrential rain started....!!!! Grabbed one jacket & quickly got that on & put another over my lap to protect my legs ...no, I hadn't time to put on foul-weather gear which was right to hand ... helming kept me too busy with the big seas that got up. Everything around & on me got well & truly soaked, including a cushion I was sitting on - wet & soggy... Luckily, I managed to stay just warm enough in wind & rain because of excellent Musto fleece top & trousers I was wearing underneath.... rain lasted until past midday when I hove to - to make log entry (101 mls DMG to noon today!) & get dry! ...& get some sleep...

What a horrible morning... & rain doesn't look like stopping..... AND the fair current disappeared again & went foul over the morning so SOG down by 1 knot compared to boatspeed .... grrr!!! Hopefully that wind will have died down a bit, & the rain stopped, by later on when I start up again.

Distance to Chaguaramas, Trinidad at noon: 206ml

Written by : Mike

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