The travels of Miss Catana continue. As I write this post we are 4 hours off our next marker of 8 days complete, and 740 nautical miles from destination Barbados. We are 9 nautical miles off course and currently attempting to stop the rot and move back to our direct line. I will say hand on heart that by the time we cross the Atlantic we have earned every single nautical mile. Each one put in our back pocket as an accomplishment. Not that I thought it would be easy I just didn’t think we would be hand steering 98% of the way.
For a variety of reasons our auto pilot has not had much of a role on this trip. First with the wind direction directly behind and large waves, the safest and probably only option was to hand steer. That knocks off the first 6 days. The last two days and nights we have had smaller waves however the wind shifted from either being directly behind from the East or to a more Southerly direction. The wind can’t seem to make up its mind and its unpredictable nature means you must be hyper vigilant to take over from the auto pilot if the wind shifts as it invariably will. Being vigilant involves sitting at the helm watching the dials. You may as well steer.
Two nights ago we had our trickiest night of sailing with all four off us involuntarily jibing the boom on several occasions. For any sailors reading, this indicates the difficulties. Even Gael who had until this point not jibed the boom, managed to knock off two for his evening watch. He perhaps had the worst of the watches and seemed almost offended by the difficulties on offer when he was desperately trying to make it possible for the rest of us to sleep. Gotta love his level of commitment. 10/10
If you are wondering why the hell we just aren’t zig zagging on board reaches well we tried that but the wave action is so uncomfortable it just isn’t worth it. Back to hand steering, which really is ok.
Our sail plan remains at the one reef in the main overnight, during the day we try to get the gennaker out when we can. Our lush new spinnaker remains in the bag, as the true winds have not ever dropped below 15 knots and mostly remain at 20 to 25. Top marks to the weather for consistent wind strength. Unfortunate that the wind directions are forcing us to sail at our second slowest point of sailing. Second only to beating head on into it. Now that would be something to whinge about.
No one on board is unhappy, it just is. Our average speed is 6.998 knots per hour and each one tries hard to ensure a 21 nautical mile achieved in each three hour watch. The wind direction is the issue mostly in determining if you achieve this self set goal. Last night we managed to eat Captain Gaz’s chilli con carn together as a sailing family. For me this was the daily highlight. Prior sails of playing games, watching tv and lots of time to read or write is a long way from the reality of this trip. Because it is not your watch, does not guarantee sleep. Each couple has 6 hours on and 6 hours off. For this trip mostly we do the shifts in pairs, it seems to work better. Poor Captain does get to do a little more of my steering at times.
We are super comfortable and the boat is performing like a honey dealing with it all. All of us are happy and getting along better than I could have ever hoped for. As I look back and know that I have more water behind me than in front, there is great comfort in this. Then I think about an Argentinian we met first in Spain and again in Mindalo. He Left the Verde’s a few days before us on a narrow 22 foot sailing boat with two inexperienced girls for his crew.
I have nothing to complain about. Not a thing in the world.
Happy Days continue
PS still dreaming about white sand solid beneath my toes….