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Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Position 3034 01730. Trip 1485 = 99/24hr

Twin poling at about 4 knots - little red sail and about half the furling genoa. So much better than using the main, which was banging and slatting and shaking the whole rig and the boat. I don't like doing that to any boat, let alone this one.

If anyone out there (Carla, perhaps, as you might already be on the site occasionally?) has the time and patience to look up the ISS overpasses for us and send us the most likely ones we'd be grateful. Twilights are often nicely clear. If you do, just the UTC rise, az. and angle and for a day far enough ahead for us to get the message, so after the next Monday or Friday. We are averaging about 5 knots and should be able to hold a more or less straight line to the Cape Verdes. Thanks and medicinal compound shall flow when next we meet...

Small (read despairing!) moment of doubt yesterday when I thought I heard the damper plate self destruct noise from the engine. Common sense says that it cannot be so if we got the problem right and fixed it properly. There's certainly a noise that I don't recall hearing before but then engines are strange beasts. I ran it for an hour last night without the death rattle noise that is the real signal when the engine is stopped. But I'm not finally convinced and won't be for a few more days. We could still use the engine to charge the batteries if we take the gearbox and damper plate off but that ain't the smell of roses.

Happy double four tomorrow to Sue up in the Lake District from Z and the mob. We'll consult at 1700 in your honour.

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A disproportionate sense of elation

1500/12th 3124 01549

I've felt almost all the time since arriving in Falmouth back in May that we've been coming from behind - first with the Russian applicaion,then the gearbox, the damper plate (my fault entirely, that one), the spammed website (me again) the AirX, the damper plate again and all the other trivia that have made things difficult. But the gate seems to have opened a crack. And I've just managed something essentially trivial but with serious potential to go wrong - I have set up the satphone to work with sailmail and tested it - sent the last message then pulled in a GRIB - and it WORKS. To those of you geeks who can't see why this is the high country of elation - lucky you! Nothing with this stuff ever seems to work without a struggle for me so I'm a happy little veggie. High praise too for Jim's instructions on the sailmail website.

More on routine: we've been sailing dead downwind since leaving Lisbon, mostly in less that 15 knots and often about 10. This means that the Airbreeze doesn't have enough apparent wind to keep the batteries charged - we're doing 5 over the ground so the apparents are 10 max. So we must run the engine for an hour every morning and evening and have to monitor fuel use. I'm just about to check its vitals before cranking it up again. While it's running, we also run the water maker which, in this warm water, easily makes 4.5 litres/hr.

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