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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Latest Position

Posted by I & G in the UK

Morsels from the wheelie bin

0700/14th 2923 01810 trip 1566=80/24 30 miles NW of Santa Cruz de la Palma.

Last night:
It's a dark rather hazy night. No horizon although the sky is clear above. Instrument lights turned down till they are only just visible. There's a faint line of luminescence forming in Berri's wake, only just aglow tonight. There are occasional very bright flashes in and beside it. They vary in intensity - some seem to be about soccer ball sized and sort of fuzzy, others more cricket ball and more intense. Some of them appear to flash more than once, but this may be an illusion. They are much bigger than the sparkles of normal phosphorescence. I've seen them often before, sometimes much more frequent and brighter and sometimes lasting longer than tonight's instant version so there's a long trail of bright balloons in the water.

For David C in Falmouth - the red sail and roller arrangement works really well, with some limitations. First, the wind must be abaft the beam or very light for the thing to roll up properly and to roll it takes practice - just enough tension on the sheet and no more. And it's either in or out - no way it will work half rolled although it might have been ok with the much stiffer luff line you showed me. It's cut very high and might have been more manageable a couple of feet lower on the leech because the clew is out of reach when it is rolled. But a great addition to the bag of fruit and it's small enough to carry twin poled up to perhaps 20 apparent. We'll have to try! After that, and for the southern ocean we'll rig the wire outer forestay and hank on the storm jib.

Time earlier this evening for some serious reflection on the nature of dependence on technology - the ipod died and I wondered how I would survive the next three months without the hundreds of hours of talking books and music. I'm a bear of very little brain indeed and my memory doesn't hold all that stuff. I am always amazed at the capacity of others - Wavell wrote Other Men's Flowers - big book of his favourite poetry - from memory in a couple of weeks between campaigns in WW2. Barenboim can play all the Beethoven sonatas and lots more from memory. And to carry the point, just before I left for the UK, I read a fascinating book called something like 'Books I did not write' by an amazing man whose name I can't remember. In it he talks about a woman imprisoned in solitary and tortured who kept herself sane by translating in her head something massive - again, don't remember what it was - from the Hebrew perhaps into Polish perhaps. And then published it after she was released and it's now the standard translation. The author's point was that with the capacity for such things there's no way that one can ever be defeated by any kind of adversity. Such as the trivial loss of an ipod.

I have to invent things and then I forget them, but the invention bit helps with the adversity. Sort of. Anyway, I recovered the ipod so I can temper invention with a bit of data input. Panic over for the mo.

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For some people it's spiders

For me, it's lightning that sends me cringing into the cupboard under the stairs sucking my thumb. We're due to go through the ITCZ and the doldrums in a couple of weeks and that almost certainly means monster cu-nims and savage squalls with purple lightning zapping into the sea all around. Quiver.

So, as part of my odd job routine, I've made a list of things we can't afford to have zapped if we do get struck - satphone, a couple of hand held GPS', a VHF, mobile, all the SIM cards, at least 2 laptops and so on. I looked at before the first voyage where the suggestion is first to put a proper harness with multiple earth points into the boat and failing that, to put all that important stuff into the microwave. Microwave?? So we will use our stainless steel iceboxes as the best available substitute, with the gadgetry deep inside and surrounded by Murphy cans. The really really important stuff - satphone, SIMs and a gps perhaps inside the big stainless cooking pot as well.

And we will use the spare shroud to create an underwater loop under the boat clamped to and linking the shrouds on either side as well as connecting the foot of the mast to the earth plate outside the hull put there for the purpose.

Any of you physicists got any better ideas? And is this going to work anyway? Or just feel good fantasy?

All rather slow at the mo. 2.5 knots in about 5 and hot. Water temp 29 deg. Falmouth is 1327 miles away, so we've knocked off 10% of the journey in about 11.5 sailing days - very close to the last time where the Falmouth - Hobart leg took 114 days. Loong way to go yet though.

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