Thursday, December 23, 2010

Atlantic Crossing Part 2 - Day 9

Our position at noon on the 23/12/2010 was 15.13 N/ 29.39 W. Our noon to noon run from 22/12 was 175 miles

Steady winds have been giving us an excellent ride so far. Our main auto pilot is set to steer on a wind angle rather than just a compass course so as the wind bends the boat follows with minimal trimming necessary. As wonderful as this system is it has slowly been taking us a little too far to the north.

Just after dinner last evening we gybed the boat onto a more southerly course .To make landfall in Barbados we have to make our way south to latitude 13 degrees, unless we want to bump into the hard stuff further north which we really don't want to do.

Even though there have been  no yachts or ships around us at night we are still on our toes with keeping a lookout, as you  never know what will pop up just over the horizon.. Again the early hours before dawn saw the wind lighten and slowly back around to the point where we would soon be sailing back towards the African coast. As much as we like Africa it is not on this season's cruising itinerary .Another gybe back to the west quickly rectified the situation.  Not long after, the wind got lighter and lighter and abruptly stopped. The main was reined in, the jib furled and the horses came out of the barn for a two hour canter.

The morning radio call revealed that Tehani Li and No Rehearsals are still at the front line of our pack having increased their leads as we gybed south for a few hours.  Further back in the fleet a 50 footer, "Steel Sapphire"  have had their auto pilot fail and are now hand steering. It is unclear as to whether they are carrying a back up unit.

With the wind increasing and the sea calming a little we unrolled the screecher, shook the reef out of the main and picked up speed to make up the ground that we lost last night. GWTW is once again sitting on speeds of 8 to 10 knots, occasionally surfing down a wave at 12 or 13 and generally revelling in the fresh winds.

As we both have a fetish for Chinese food and are suffering badly from withdrawals, tonight Annie is cooking up a batch of sweet and sour pork with jasmine rice. For sure there will be no leftovers.
The day is drawing to a close and the skipper has just poured our favorite beverages, a gin and tonic for Annie and an icy cold San Miguel for himself.
So it's time to sign off and watch the sun drop down below the vast ocean we call the Atlantic.
And don't those first couple of sips taste great!

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