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The Big Breakfast

Morning, Sorry a bit late this morning.

Yesterday was fine, mostly sunny but winds from the West which is the direction we’re trying to go, we tacked a few times heading NW or SW doing 4 and a bit knots mostly, there was a bit of a sea running which slowed us down and makes life a bit more awkward, but all in all not a bad day at all and the batteries were fully charged by my solar panels. Lovely sunset last night, the astute amongst you may realise my stern shouldn’t be facing the sunset, we’d gone off course on the wind vane without my noticing, not a good racing technique, Pete (Currie) would not approve we were heading East albeit only at about half a knot. Shortly after sunset the wind fell to below 5 knots and with the sea / swell the sails were banging around and not achieving anything, this was in accordance with the forecast, I rolled up the genoa and lashed the boom amidships hoping to sleep for a couple of hours until the wind filled in but couldn’t. I had a beer, that went down fine. Read for a bit. Then thought I’d try hand steering to see if I could get her moving. I wrapped up warm, 4 pairs of trousers and 4 different tops, hat (KOBSC hat) and fishing gloves and went up to the cockpit, she was, serendipitously pointing in about the right direction with about 4 knots of wind and when I set the sails she started to move and as she did the apparent wind increased. I hand steered for a short time, but she seemed to be quite happy so put the autopilot on and dozed in the cockpit. As she continued quite happily, doing about a knot and a half to the West I went below, still dressed in all my finery, and lay down on the Starboard settee berth ready for a quick ‘jack in the box’ egress should my presence be required in the cockpit.

As it turned out all seemed fine for ages, I went up for a look around once and decided she seemed things were fine, the batteries were coping with the autopilot because very little input was required in the light airs so I went to bed properly in the quarter berth, my normal bed at sea.

Waking up this morning the wind had increased to about 10 knots and come to the South East and shortly it backed to the East so I goosewinged the genoa, with the spinnaker pole holding the genoa out to port and the mainsail held out to starboard with the wind and a preventer to stop it swinging over in case an accidental gybe occurred.

As everything looked settled I thought I’d treat myself to a cooked breakfast and had a glass of milk too as we still have a couple of litres of fresh which won’t last for much longer. I had a delicious breakfast of scrambled egg with bacon on toast and milky coffee. I also took the opportunity to have a poo whilst things were calm, it’s far pleasanter than trying to hold on as the boat bounces around and one’s trousers are tying ones legs together. Having washed up, the wind was increasing and the sea picking up form astern which makes us yaw around quite a bit. On one cycle of yawing we gybed, this shouldn’t really have mattered as the preventer held the boom on the starboard side, and we gybed back again pretty quickly. Unfortunately there was enough force in it to break off the fitting for the Kicker which is a device to hold the boom down. I’ve now made temporary repairs with some rope but it means that the rod no longer is able to also hold the boom up which shouldn’t matter unless I lose my topping lift which is a rope from the masthead which also holds up the boom. Looking at the fitting, probably an original, there wasn’t much metal holding it together it had already corroded most of the way through.

The wind’s now shifted to the NE and I’ve gybed, put two reefs in the main and a similar number of rolls in the genoa and we’re rolling along at about 6 and a half knots just North of West.

If you are following the other boats then AJ Wanderlust is to the North and East of me, they have gone North to try to be above the depressions as they come through and hopefully have fewer headwinds. I had an e mail from the crewman today, Bobby, apparently it’s cold up there, they’re not so far from Greenland and will shortly be coming to the grand banks of Newfoundland where the Labrador current comes down from the Arctic which mixes with the Gulf stream off coming up from the Tropics causing fog. They seem to be trying to head south again now but are in an area of light winds. Hopefully they’ll remain in them for a bit so I can get ahead!

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