Reading: Swallowdale (Arthur Ransome) (finished)
Weather: Short sharp rain shower in the morning and then sunny – wind variable S1-2 – annoying
Thought for the day: It feels much more appropriate to call the engine an iron tops’l on a boat which actually has a topsail ……
Evening meal: Vegetable curry with lentils, basmati rice and pineapple
Course: approx. 210oC
It was clear something had changed during the off watch when I heard the engine go on. This is something it is difficult to miss. With over 200hp of engine to push well over 100 tons of boat, it is fairly obvious when the engine is on! When we came up to take over watch at 6am, it was clear that the wind had died and what wind there was had gone round 180o. The sea was still lumpy from astern and this just made it impossible to sail without the sails slatting around all over the place so Jet decided to take the mainsail down. There was no chance of doing this in the dark, so powerful deck lights went on so that we could see what we were doing. The main thing, given their weight, was to keep control of the boom and gaff as the sail came down, so the boom was pinned by preventers and locked in place and the gaff was controlled with one person on each topsail sheet. Actually it was all very smooth and relatively quick.
The watch was then punctuated by a short sharp rain shower which lasted about 15 minutes but did require full waterproofs. From there on though it cleared slowly and once the sun came up, warmed up pretty quickly. Then you just fall into a watch routine – a bit of looking around, reading, steering, drinking tea ….. for six hours at a time …..
We are heading south for a waypoint off the west of the Cape Verde islands and it seems that unusually a high pressure system has moved in to muck up the usual weather pattern. This could mean motoring for around 36-48 hours to pick up the trade winds, which should start re-asserting themselves in another day or so.