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Friday, November 6, 2009


Friday 6th November, 0930 GMT (don't know UTC), 0721S 02516W.

Alex rang to say that his Iridium internet connection has stopped
working and that Berri is at the extreme edge of possible Sailmail

The message is, then, not to worry if new blogs don't appear. He'll
obviously be trying to make everything work again, but breath should
not be held. Appendage crossing would be very welcome, however.

This message relayed by Isabella in UK.

More on wildlife

0700/6th position 0705 02513 trip 123/24. Day 35 and the GPS says we've sailed 4144 miles. Rhumb line to Falmouth is 3613 but with due deference to the cursor.

Seems our little bijou res. in a plastic tube has a stalker. The bird that has been visiting us has been back foe three nights at least - too dark once again to get colours but has the wings and silhouette of a small Petrel but not the head and beak. It turns up in the dark and is gone by daylight. We have sailed nearly 400 miles since it first arrived so it must be keeping us more or less in sight during the day. I have occasionally thought that I spotted it way out in the peripheries - little brown moving speck merged into the murky dapple.

Things you learn - a week or so on the port tack is very hard work. Bijou res. this little boat may be but it's awful short of comfy places to sit and if the cockpit is continually getting doused by crashing spray the only place, and not for long, is the cabin sole which gets pretty hard, unforgiving and cornery.

'Nuff whingeing - we're moving south. Rainsqualls, drenching spray and 25 knot gusts in an 'orrible short steep jerky sea. Not a lot of opportunity for washing and powdering the self so the pit and crutch feral collection is thriving. The boot variety is just festering in the heat up in the forepeak so there will be an interesting reunion out there in the future.

Time to make a cuppa and then do the 0700 position.

I've lost my iridium connection from the laptop. It's a com port problem - the computer crashes every now and again and loses its dial up connection settings for the 19200 modem but the set-up wizard then loses/doesn't see the original com port and for some reason although the wizard says it's connected through another port, Telnet cannot see it. Drives me absolutely raging insane but I cant fix it. Any ideas? Work around may be to use backup laptop for sailmail. Absolute PITA.

Feral bottlebrush

Trade wind sailing - apart from all the tropical aspects without which I can earnestly do - is great if you are off the breeze and can ride the very lumpy sea at the optimum angle. When you are trying to keep the wind just ahead of the beam, it's a different ballgame. Lumpy, thumpy, wet, noisy and uncomfortable. And hot! But we're on the move.

We have been towing 40 metres of light floating line as a possible safety line if someone falls overboard. As Pete discovered last time, the generator impeller line we had trailing out the back was a powerful incentive to use his considerable swimming skill to get across and grab it. Yesterday, I looked at the bright yellow line and it seemed oddly different - I tried to pull it in and the drag was surprising but it had thousands and thousands of little barnacles growing on it - from a couple of millimetres to about 4cm long and so densely packed that it looked like a 40 metre bottlebrush. We spent the morning cleaning them off. They looked like baby versions of the big goose barnacles we sailed into Hobart with last time. My doddery eyes told me that each one had a tiny blue patch on it. How do they exist out here and how do they grab the ride?

More wild life - a couple of Trinidade Petrels. Big fishing boat a couple of days ago but no other humans air, space or waterborne. Except perhaps a laughing Aunt out here with us?

It appears from the latest GRIB that the S Atlantic High is at about 25 degrees directly south. I hope it moves east so that we can cut the corner a bit. Sagittarius and the galactic centre - or where the galactic centre isn't - clearly visible last night before the moon rose. And Mintaka satisfactorily astern.

We've just done some practice noon sights to get back into practice, using the Winastro package on the computer to do the sums. Considering the conditions, not bad results. Tomorrow, the Merlin.

Latest Position

Posted by I & G in the UK.