Saturday, 20 February 2016

The Crossing..

23 Jan
We decided that we  were going to do a short day sail to shake out any remaining gremlins and we decided to head to the south end of the Island...  We set off at 09h00, left the Muelo Deportivo de Las Palmas and everybody got a chance to he the boat. At about 10h00, we set off the forecast called for an easterly at 10 kts... It was as SE at 10, so we had to take our beating and head SE.. We made pretty good progress and rounded the South end of Gran Canaria... Then the wind died... Back to slave power... We motored for the rest of the day.. We arrived at Pasito Blanco yatch club at 18h00 and managed to get a response from someone on the VHF.. We tied up to the fuel dock as we wanted to fill up as we planned on setting off early next morning.. The good news we were given was they had a berth for us for the night, the bad the fuel dock was shut...  Just as well we went gremlin hunting.. The shackle on the mainsheet block attached to the boom was loose, two of the reef lines were crossed and someone had overtightened(sheared off the lid) the milk and put it in in the fridge(0.75l of milk just wondering around a full fridge). We had fixed the first two underway and tackled the third upon our arrival.. That night we went to a restaurant for our last steak dinner on hard land for the next few weeks...

24 Jan
At 08h00 as instructed, we were on the fuel dock ready for fuel and to set off... We had to search for someone to serve us and so we could pay.  After filling up, we set off, the forecast was for 15kts off the beam till midnight and then 5 or so.. We gradually lost sight of land and were making good way.. Forecast was bang on, we had a braai for dinner, with late evening came light winds and swell.. All that was needed was olives, Martini and Vodka - James would have snapped is up... We largely managed to get some sleep, but the shaking we got was a bit enthusiastic...

Farewell Maspalomas
25 Jan
After the previous nights lull in the wind, we were treated to 15kts(again in the forecast) and we again made some excellent progress, come nightfall, we were treated to nice 15kts and a peaceful sleep for all...

26 Jan
The wind started at 15... Gradually worked its way to 20, as we didn't shake out the reef we had put in from the previous night we were doing a comfortable 6-7kts.. The wind stayed at 15/with the occasional puff of 20 for the better part of the day. Come night, the wind was more in the 20s than high teens so we put in a second reef(so we could have a peaceful drama free evening).. The wind continued its upward trek - 25kts by midnight with the occasional rambunctious 30 gust..
Farewell Commitee
27 Jan
We awoke to wind in the high 20s, clearly not in the forecast anywhere.. The sea was also a bit agitated, as it gets when the wind gets it excited.. For the rest of that day we had winds of 25-28kts...

28 Jan
We awoke to winds of 25-28, *NOT* the 15 we were expecting from the forecast..  The wind stayed pretty much constant all day and night long. One of the crew was starting to show signs of being seasick.

29 Jan
See above.. One crew still very much seasick others a bit sleep deprived..

30 Jan
See above.. This whole "Milk run" that we were expecting was kind of looking as real as the tooth fairy..  The winds were constantly above 25 and happily crossing 30.. Clearly not what we were expecting or what was in the forecast... We continued... Our scepticism growing of the "Milk Run" and set and forget easy sailing weather we were expecting...

31 Jan
After getting a beating for the last few days and no apparent drop in the wind, it was decided that we would head to Cape Verde to regroup as the entire crew was a bit sleep deprived, with one of them seasick and the skipper was due for his tribute to the fyshes... We headed due South making way to Cape Verde, thought being either the wind drops to something more civilized or we tie up along something till it does.. We were called on the VHF by a cargo ship Sammy enquiring if we were OK, it was good to hear their voice.. They were 56NM away, we asked them for a weather forecast as the one we kept getting kept insisting the wind was 15kts.. We were told by Sammy, that the forecast for the area was for 6 and the next day 6-7.. We were quite relieved to be getting out of there... That night  I was awakened by Chris letting me know that there was smoke in the binnacle.. I ran up, turned off the Navigation lights - one the lights in the compass has caught fire and burnt itself out.. The knot log (boat speedometer) also decided to give us the two finger salute, so am we had was the GPS for boat speed and we also lost the ability to measure the the wind.. Not serious but mildly inconvenient..

1 Feb
The wind died down as we traveled South and everyone got their first good nights rest in a while.. After breakfast, we decided to head on our way as the seasick crew was now responding to medication( actually following instructions - who woulda thunk it). As the wind died down, so did the sea and now out forecasts were actually resembling what we were experiencing..

2 Feb
The sea had started calming down along with the winds, our seasick *CREW* ignored instructions and was now seasick *AGAIN*(not according to her, but eating was a challenge so was sleeping) and ignoring all advice being given by other two crew members(with some sailing experience)..  We continued on it easy to St Lucia..

3 Feb
Winds were now between 15-20 with a partly overcast day, we still had two reefs on the Genoa as we were doing 5-6kts, with swell mostly from the rear, with the occasional sneaky wave trying to get on board...

4 Feb
This day was pretty much like the previous, wind were identical..That day we had a bread made of Coffio grain(a Canaria exclusive) it was nicknamed Fred (F##%ed up Bread) dinner however was Pizza!(no beer, though ). That afternoon, we had the company of a Pilot wale, was a bit anxious as the thing was almost as long as our boat, it generally kept it's distance, but would occasionally buzz the stern of the boat about 1/2 a boat length behind... It may us after dinner..

5 Feb
Weather, see above, we were clearly in the trade winds... Lunch was again Fred - much to some of  the crew's dislike.... That night we had Sourcrout and sausages that we braai'd...  We were also starting to see more flying fish, the things would hit the side of the boat (the unlucky ones) the others would clear it, or land on the boat and flop off.... We had note reached the half way mark and everyone was a bit more upbeat..,

6 Feb
The wind picked up a bit along with the swell, it died down later in the evening.. We were also starting to get rain showers, typically in the evening out early morning... Dinner that night was couscous and much was doing pumpernickel... Our passenger was now even more seasick and of no use to us, however, ignoring all advice and one could only watch ...

7 Feb
The weather has now settled 15-20 kts of wind, with the swell from behind, occasionally, don't from the side, early evening one would get a freght train going by( a lowish wave going really fast) it was really loud much like a freight train... Dinner was the last of the sausages we had brought and polenta, lunch  was  bread ( which actually tasted like bread)

9-10 Feb
See above for weather, food was Tuna & Fusili for dinner, sandwiches for lunch( boat bread), Tuna an beet Salad for lunch (one of Evelyne's creations) with Frikadells & mash, bread  with Jamon and Olives and Sweet n Sour Rice for dinner)..

11 Feb
Weather see above.. We were now out of meat, so we tried out hand at fishing. We had tried the prior days, but we were doing 6-7kts over grind and other than catching seaweed, we didn't have much luck... That was to change, we put the fishing line out and waited.. I checked it periodically as there was still seaweed around.. At about 15h00, I started bringing in the line, as it felt that we had caught some seaweed again..  This time not to be, a *NICE* Dorado.. He was promptly landed, gutted and put on the Braai.. Dinner was *FRESH* Dorado and pasta... The rest of the fish we kept for a salad for lunch..

12 -17 Feb
The weather had stabilised and we were now growing anxious to get to tera firma...  We made pretty good progress, the winds died down a bit more and the swell as well... We sighted land at about 08h00, while we were having scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast..  The last hour or so, the wind was gusting as a series of showers were passing... We anchored outside the Rodney Bay Marina entrance as it felt as though the prop was fouled, after confirming it wasn't, we motored in and filled up with fuel, docked and the crossing was done!
On the whole, it was a nice an boring crossing(5 days excluded) with only the knotlog failing.. We covered 3060 NM..

Land Ahoy

A big thank you to all the crew...

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