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Friday, October 9, 2009

For those of us who travel the world at walking pace

Francis Joyon and the Volvo boats go so fast that they can chase weather patterns and use the tops and bottoms of circular systems to slingshot themselves further and faster. Ain't necessarily so for us Farty Old Plodders in what many real sailors see as stone age dinosaurs of boats. We have to look ahead and try to use the advance knowledge to improve our positions relative to nasty pearshaped stuff and the good stuff by heading - slowly - towards the good sides of these systems. As now. I've just pulled in the GRIB for the next three days and it shows nice northerlies like we have until a 25 - 35 knot southerly front arrives from the west at the leading edge of a low pressure system (for the meteorologically challenged, these things may be 500 miles across and they always rotate anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere so the leading edge will always blow from the south). So - The Plan - head east of the Madeira archipelago and try to get as far south as possible in the hope that the low will ride north on what remains of the current high. That should get us south of the worst of the front and we can tack out into the Atlantic if we do cop the blow. But I hope we can dodge it!

Should have said 'listening to Barack Obama reading his book'

For those in the know, Pete has progressed from Aubergine through Peach to Apricot and now something more like Kiwi or even Lychee or Longon. And the tooth socket is behaving - I can now chew on both sides again.

Proper Berri breakfast just accomplished and fabulous day out here. Charging the battery with the engine - not enough apparent wind for the whizzer to do its stuff. First 1000 of 13000 behind us. Wooohooo.

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Further still

Last night we could see the light at Cabo Espichel all night. And ships - cruise ships like blocks of flats, bulk carriers, container ships - the works. Busy all night - rain squalls making things uncomfortable early on - then they cleared and the moon and our bit of the universe was there just for us.

Tonight - fluffy clouds that look black and sinister but aren't, not a ship to be seen, bits of the constellations between the clouds and the occasional aircraft winking its way high above. Dark horizon, moon still to rise. Lumpy rolly seas with the wind just aft of the beam so very messy.

So the second night of about 110 if we use the last one as a guide - some of these watches seem very long, some go in a whiff - tonight very hard on the bum and the back in the cockpit as Berri moving so violently.

Big feed of mussels - yum! Approaching two huge seamounts, Ormonde and Gorringe, rather like the two on the race from Sydney to Lord Howe - volcanic peaks that rise steeply from 3000+ metres to about 30 metres below the surface if my chart is correct. Spectacular profiles if only one could see them underwater. I wonder what they will do to the seastate- a lot of water moving out here and has to get around them

0700/09 position 3629 01151 trip 1015 24 hr run 119nm

A shoal of fish - perhaps 30, each about a foot long - dazzling silver in the low sunlight of the early morning - lovely piercing curves as they leap from wave to wave - luminously there and then gone in seconds. And I'm reading Barack Obama - piercing commentary on being black in America. And Brian Greene, The Fabric of the Cosmos - piercing intellect that can tell the stories of General Relativity and Entanglement as the astonishing insights that they were, but within even my less that piercing grasp.

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