Saturday 7th November 2009 All reefs now OK!!
It's been a good day today .... presently, there are a few small clouds around, no moon yet, plenty of stars - amazing how some bright ones fairly low down seem to twinkle with all the colours of the spectrum - something to do with the moisture in the air? I don't know , but they certainly look pretty!
Got up just before sunrise - moon was still quite high in the sky, big grey cloud to the east nearby and not much wind or swell, so decided it was a good time to start getting the boom end off, with the cloud to protect me from the sun later. I had to sort out the 1st & 2nd reefs today... Lots of playing with knots and ropes .. By time sun rose at 0700, I had the mains'l lowered and the genoa furled in: boatspeed 2.0, SOG: 2.2, COG 180T. Half-an-hour later, everything at the aft end of the boom had been released, it had been lowered & taken over to port side and tied off firmly (the swell kept swinging it around otherwise) - I was ready to remove it... Coffee/breakfast break... According to my weather info, the calm conditions were going to last all day, probably tomorrow also, so no need to rush...!
We were drifting at 1.5 knots SSW and the rainclouds seemed to be missing us - pity, since the boat is covered in salt from the seas washing the decks over the last week or so. By 9am, I'd removed all 3 screws - not as difficult as I'd feared, with the help of my invaluable length of copper pipe for extra leverage...! Forty minutes later, the first reef had been dealt with - car taken out, line taken off and reef tied back around boom & onto sail ... The second reef line took a bit longer to sort out, since the luff end of the line, although badly chafed, was still intact.. but an hour later, it too was dealt with... and by midday, all was finished, the boom end having been screwed back in place and all lines neat & tidy... Just needed to raise the sails, with the lazyjacks determinedly getting in the way of a batten end high up .. eventually sorted, but took a time...
By early afternoon, we were sailing under full canvas in 7 knots of wind, making just over 4 knots .. gradually becoming 1-2 knots, as the wind died down during the afternoon!! But with a blazing hot sun all afternoon, I was able to get a lot of the wet things from the aft cabin dried out in the cockpit - excellent!.... What luck that the disaster at least had the decency to happen when I could dry everything out in calm conditions the very next day or so!!
I celebrated with a proper cooked meal in the cockpit, feeling very relaxed, sitting at the table (how civilized!), watching the sun go down in a blaze of glory.... I'm feeling much better now...!
Tonight, the wind is NE3 (9knots) and we're making 4-5 knots roughly south. In a few days' time, after passing through the St Helena High, we'll be in much stronger winds, most likely westerlies, as we get into the path of the east-moving depressions being held to the south of here by this high pressure area.
DMG to noon: 102M (made roughly 1 knot from 7am until noon!) 980 ml East of Rio de Janeiro
Nearly out of the Tropics - tonight, I'm at 23S, 026W - so will pass out of Tropics tonight, probably... only 30 miles to go!