Sunday, 14 December 2008

THe Passage West

The Passage West.

La Palma to Grenada …or Barbados if we've had enough…Maybe Tobago… that's looking pretty good too!!

What a lovely first day. Sun shining, wind at 10-14Kts, good sailing. We even managed 5 hours with the spinnaker up. Pegasus is going well, although we seem to be using quite a bit of power. I will look at that.

Its great to be back on board and find the rhythm again. We allowed ourselves a cooked breakfast of sausages and eggs when Louis finally woke up and enjoyed a day pottering about getting sorted. Amanda made Spaghetti Bolognaise for supper, which we all ate together at sunset and the boys went to bed at 7.30. After the allowances of the on shore existence I'm sure both boys will settle and enjoy the routing of life on board again…up at sunrise, bed at sunset.

Today, our second is quite different. Overcast, a little rainy and its back to jumpers. We do have good wind though, with 15-20kts NE giving us a steady 7-9kts goose winged, so we should make better mileage and get further SW and hopefully into some warmer weather.

Well the honeymoon is definitely over. Its now day 7 and we are about half way across the Atlantic at 18N 33W.

We've had a bit of a going over.

The weather picked up and for the past 3 days we've had pretty strong winds in the 25-45 knot range with 18-20 ft following seas. The first night was the worst. The forecast was for 25kts and as the wind increased so did our speed. …the log extract says it all.…

".What a night. Wind increased to 30, 35, then started into the 40's! not really replicated by the grb files or other forecasts!
big waves, short frequency. Regularly surfing at 17-20kts...not the sort of sailing i want to be doing 1000 miles from land with the family!
when started to see 40 kts, dropped the main in a hurry (we had 3 reefs in and I just smoked the halyard on a big surf) and now going along with staysail only at average 7....although when we get picked up we have hit 17 again! but not with the same feeling of no control."

We are now much more comfortable with genoa and staysail up goosewinged headed down wind and wave…quite sustainable. I think we only have another 36 hours of this then we should be back into the 20-30 kt range.

This is the bit I really love. The big chess game. Looking at the data and working out where you want to be in 36, 48, 96 hours and trying to get there. Often the situation changes as you make progress sometimes the data is inaccurate.

You can sail for 96 hours to get into a weather pattern only for the whole story to change in the last 24 hours and you miss the gate. Its big picture stuff and I love it.

Either way, you are trying to keep the vessel and crew in a safe environment, making good speed and going in the right direction. If you can do all of these 3 your doing well.

Even though Pegasus is moving and banging around a bit life on board carries on. We broke out a couple of new DVD's for the boys. The Incredibles has been a big hit as has Aladdin…thanks Granny.

The food has been excellent, and yesterday Amanda noticed that the Freezer was defrosting on the bottom level so we have had to cook some of our supplies.

Yesterday we enjoyed steak sandwiches for lunch and roast lamb, corgettes and garlic potatoes for dinner…quite extravagant. Usually we have sandwiches or cold meats cheese etc for lunch and dinner early with the boys. In the last week the menu has included roast chicken, calves liver salad and fresh Mahi Mahi.

We've been fishing but its not going too well. We caught a Mahi when the water temperature got above 70 degrees and I managed to get it in as we were only doing 7 kts.

I had a disaster with the big rod and lost all the line and lure as we had a bigger fish on and we just couldn't slow the boat down, as at that point we still had the main up, and surfing at 10kts with a big fish on the line puts amazing strain on the equipment!.

I feel really quite upset as that fish will definitely die swimming around with 300m of 80lb line and a lure in its moth …not to mention the £70 of fishing gear in its gob!

Subsequently I have rigged a hand line with 100lb line on shot cord, leading to a main winch. We have had 2 good strikes but not landed one yet. Again the waves and Pegasus gliding down the face of them is making it really quite difficult. Hopefully we will have better luck when the sea quietens off a little.

Its Dawn on Sunday morning and we promised the boys a party when we started heading west in earnest, so today we will have a pirate party to celebrate.

We've made Pirate party hats and we will have party food and cakes play some music and probably a game or two.

In reality it's the expectation over a few days, making party hats and food etc that's really good for the boys. The party will only last an hour if that, but we've had at least 4 hours of entertainment in anticipation not to mention their excitement.

Lets hope for quieter seas, sunshine and more fish., all of which we should get next week as we get closed to our destination….. the Caribbean.

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