Written by David Townsend

5, March 2006

Position 01°57’592S 040°09’196W

55Nm off Ponta Jericoacoara bearing 282T on route to Trinidad.

Hi dear friends, thank you for following our journey. Here’s this weeks update.

Well we are sailing once again and as always it has lived up to our motto onboard, ‘we don’t do easy, we do interesting. We left Recife at 12:00hrs (GMT) on Tuesday the 28th February 2006 for the 1,982Nm to Trinidad..

In the past two Weekly Updates you will recall I have had to first be a plumber then next an electrician. Well this week I have put on my sail makers hat and had to carry out two repairs to the mainsail. Two tears appeared where the sail rests on the lower spreader, as we have already covered some 12,000Nm since leaving the UK eight months ago (and the sail is 5 years old), over half of that distance was covered with the wind behind us, i.e. on a run so these type of problems are expected. Anyway after 4.5 hours with the needle and thread the sail was once again hoisted and worked great. I will put a reinforcing strip where the sail touches the two spreaders once we arrive in Trinidad.

During the past 24hrs (Saturday / Sunday) we have been hit by severe squalls gusting up to 45.3kn and lasting for over an hour at a time. During the day it is not so bad because you can see them coming but during the night, as my crew found out it can be interesting. We had been sailing all afternoon with no or very little wind so therefore I had the Genoa (the sail at the front) out and the mainsail (the sail behind the Genoa, normally over the centre of the yacht), I had put a preventer on the mainsail so to stop the boom banging form one side of the yacht to the next. At 02:00hrs (GMT) I heard a scream for help, Peter was calling me. He was hit by sudden squall, normally this is not too much of a problem but the wind had apparently backed? causing the mainsail to be on the wrong side of the yacht and secured there by the preventer. This was an interesting situation which I shortly resolved.

I ‘heave-to’ (stopped) for an hour while checking for any damage. While heaved too I sent out an ‘all ships’ safety message first via DSC then confirming that via voice. DSC is a semi automatic message system, basically it can send a variety of messages that you select via a short menu.. I felt very much like Matt Le Blanc when he was playing the pilot in the film ‘Lost in space’ with the comment ‘and the monkey flips the switch’. Anyway after the monkey, that’s me flipped the switch I then went to channel 16 and issued the navigation warning stating that I had heaved too and giving my position. Normally the coast guard will issue an ‘all ships’ message but I was too far away from them but close enough too many ships as they join the system going to the oil fields near bye so better safe than sorry.

After about an hour of sailing, Peter had by now turned in, we were then hit by another squall of around 39.2kn but this time I could feel the change in the air on the back of my neck, the wind tends to get a little cooler as the squall approaches, that and I could see the sky behind me at approximately 10Nm away did not look friendly. It took only a matter of minutes for the squall to travel that distance but luckily enough I had enough time to stow away the Genoa and put in two reefs (shorten the sail area) in the mainsail and even get my foul weather gear on. This was the first time they have been used since August last year!!

Life on board:
For my crew it has been the case of getting use to being back at sea. Sometimes it can be vary hard to awaken Peter for his watch duty, I can call him, even bang on his door for ages. I have advised many times that sometimes I might not have the time to be so polite, I might have try a different approach.

Anyway such a night was this morning (Saturday), it was 05:45hrs and time Woody was up and about. I tried for 12 minutes to wake him, even banging on his cabin door. I tried to open the door to shake him but it was jammed shut, by I think his foot so I am not sure of what his sleeping arrangement are but anyway I digress.. After 12 minutes I gave in and decide a more direct approach was needed, so it was that I got the bucket out of the locker, swung it over the side half filling it up with sea water…. then I just throw the half filled bucked of water through his open porthole, needless to say Peter arrived shortly after all refreshed and wide awake for his watch, while I on the other hand had a nice little sleep :-)

The boat:
Pinta is working well and although I gave the hull a good clean in Reciefe below decks need some attention, i.e. the deck boards need to stripped down and re sealed, a job to be done in Trinidad. Also a job for the crew is to repair the heads, as they broke it, they fix it, what a lovely job that one is ha ha ha…

Battery management has once again become a problem, although I recently upgraded the methods of charging they are not good enough for when the boat is on run and one has an apparent wind of only 4kts. As my initial route involved nearly always beating (going in to the wind) in 17kn they not only run all the systems onboard but can still put a charge into the batteries. Calculations have worked out that while on a beat and in 17kn of wind the combined input from both the wind generator (Casper) and the solar panels are around 260 amps per 24hrs while on a run only 50 amps.

Well my friends that’s it for this week. Sorry it is such a long update but I hope you enjoy reading it.

Fair winds and calm seas.