Monday, March 24, 2008

Day 7 at sea en route to the Marquesas

After 3 ½ days of light but steady wind, 10-12 knots on average, from the NW to NE, pushing us along on our course, the sea gods have turned their backs on us, leaving us to crawl along at a knot or so. Thankfully, in the right direction and no confused seas to toss us around. The boobies continue to be a challenge, attempting to land on the top of the mast or the wind generator, both vulnerable to their big clumsy feet! The morning and evening radio nets our only communication with the outside
world, along with the occasional email by HAM radio. We have set three hour watch shifts with Linda doing galley duties while I do navigation and most communications. We both do sail changes when necessary and other than that time is spent recording the log, on lookout for ships, inspecting for wear and tear and maintaining the course. Merlin, the wind vane steers our course, but as he only maintains a bearing relative to the wind, we must watch what the wind is doing to stay on track. The first
night out saw the new roller furler line snap near the bow. Fortunately it was long enough to just rewind it on the drum. Then a shackle pin fell out from the bottom of one of the running backstays. Both easily repaired but one must always be watching for little things to come loose. There is a small flotilla of cruising boats within 100 nm of us and we make contact twice a day on the SSB. We record each other's positions and wind and sea conditions. There is surprisingly little free time!
When not on watch or other duty, the primary goal is usually to get some sleep.
Last night, Linda woke me on her watch to report a boat bearing down quickly on our stern. Looked like another sailboat and we thought they were just coming close to say hi. But you never know who is on autopilot and not watching either. When they got within a mile, I took the brake off the shaft and started the engine. We were under sail and drifting at less than 2 knots. No answer on the VHF....strange! Got out the big spotlight and horn and shone it on them as they came within ¼ mile of
our stern, bearing down directly on us. We could see by now it was a large fishing vessel. It veered off at this point and proceeded west, never responding to our radio call. One couldn't help but wonder what their intentions were!
Anyway, no complaints here! Sure beats being in the office! Forecasters report NE trades at about 15 knots to appear soon in our area. That would improve our daily run!

No comments: