Windleblo - Day Eleven
I had the 2 to 4 a.m. watch last night. The stars were out in force. The only problem with the 2 to 4 a.m. watch is that it ruins any chance of a good night's sleep.With four on board, we have it relatively easy, compared to double handers or other short handed crew. We adopted two hour single handed watches, with a dog watch from 4 to 6 p.m. so no one gets stuck with the same watch every day. Plus, the watch schedule stays on UTC so while we move west the solar day moves with us, creating even more variety to the watch times. With six hours between watches, each guy should have ample time to rest.None-the-less, I have started to find that after the 2 to 4 a.m. watch, despite the star show, I am more depleted than after any other night watch. No amount of cat napping or afternoon siesta. read more...
Windleblo - Day Ten
They say events come in threes. Today was no exception.We were cruising along on a broad reach with 10 to 12 knot winds filling our gennaker. The wind veered further east, pushing our point of sail ever deeper. Perhaps we weren't paying enough attention, but the next thing we knew the gennaker was wrapped around the forestay. Event number one was upon us. Suddenly, all hands were needed on deck to recover the sail. Everyone responded well, but none-the-less the sheets and the tack line got away from us and we were forced to turn the boat into the wind to bring them back within reach. Several stressful minutes ensued but eventually we got the sail to the deck, through the hatch, and into the V-berth.We next decided to rig the dual head sails so the easterly wind could pull us due west. read more...
Windleblo - Day Nine
"Last night I had a dream," said Coach upon waking in his Irish lilt."It was you and me, John, and we got into a fight against a Polish crew," he went on. "We were holding our own, but the tide was turning against us when the Slovenians arrived to help us. With their help, we ruled the day."With that odd confession, the crew was up and running.A bit earlier, I had the dawn watch. As the sky brightened, the first boat we had seen since the Cape Verde Islands appeared on the horizon. It was another ARC boat, Queen Frederica, a 50-foot Beneteau Cyclades. We looked her up on the ARC boat list and noted she carried a German flag. About that same time, we unfurled the gennaker to increase boat speed in the (still) light air and pulled away.We waited until the sun rose in the sky a bit, and. read more...
Windleblo - Day Eight
I had the 4 - 6 a.m. watch last night (UTC). At this longitude, that was well before dawn. There moon was new, the sky cloudless, and the sea glassy. I took the bimini down to open the cockpit to the sky. The Milky Way was as dense as I have ever seen it. Several shooting stars crossed the sky. Priceless.As dawn came, the wind remained elusive. We motored on. It was my turn as Galley Master, and I fixed the guys walnut banana pancakes with syrup, sausages and coffee. Afterwards, we killed the motor and coasted to a stop. Then, we dove over the side for a swim. The water was perfect -- not too cold and not too warm and perfectly clear. It was weird knowing the bottom was 4,000 meters below. A few laps around the boat got the heart going. It felt good to get a bit of aerobic exercise.The. read more...
Windleblo - Day Seven
We had just finished a scrumptuous Shepherd's Pie prepared by Coach when it happened.Sounding a bit like the raw whir of a dentist's drill, all of a sudden the drag on the fishing reel sounded off. In a flash, John jumped from his cockpit seat and grabbed the rod. A strong force bent the rod and fought with him as he worked the reel. Less than ten minutes later, the winner of the wrestling match between man and fish had been decided. John and Coach held big grins for the cameras as they hoisted their trophy, a ten kilo tuna. We hastily filleted the fish and stuck him in the fridge, wrapped carefully in plastic, wishing we had caught him just a few hours earlier. Tomorrow's menu was clear. Tuna for breakfast, tuna for lunch, tuna for dinner.The lumpy seas gradually diminished as we. read more...