DreamCatcher

Catching The Dream

20 October 2017 | Oct 20th, 720 miles from Aghulas Current waypoint
19 October 2017 | Oct 19th, 100 miles from S E Madagascar waypoint
18 October 2017 | Oct 18th, 200 miles from Madagascar waypoint
17 October 2017 | Oct 17th, 340 miles from Madagasca
17 October 2017 | Oct 17th, 500 miles from Madagasca
16 October 2017 | Oct 16th, off La Reunion
15 October 2017 | Le Port, Reunion
14 October 2017 | Le Port, Reunion
13 October 2017 | Le Port, Reunion
12 October 2017 | Le Port, Reunion
10 October 2017 | Le Port, Reunion
10 October 2017
09 October 2017 | Le Port, Reunion
06 October 2017 | Le Port, Reunion
05 October 2017 | 'Tween Cocos Keeling and Rodriguez, mid Indian Ocean
04 October 2017
03 October 2017 | Oct 3rd, Port de Plaisance, La Reunion
01 October 2017 | Oct 1st, Grand Bay, Mauitius
29 September 2017 | Sept 29th, Caudan Marina, Port Louis, Mauitius
26 September 2017 | Sept 26th, Caudan Marina, Port Louis, Mauitius

Prevention..................

20 October 2017 | Oct 20th, 720 miles from Aghulas Current waypoint
Martin
of an accidental gybe is important. If you are sailing downwind, with the boom way out, supporting lots of mainsail, at an angle that catches the wind most effectively, you do not want the wind to get the other side of the sail.....or the action of the swell to collapse it under gravity.......so that it swings to the same angle on the other side. To do so makes a very unhappy sounding noise, and risks breaking 'stuff' that you will continue to need unbroken. It also slows the boat's progress. Even a partial collapse is wearing on the nerves and stresses the sail and other 'stuff'. Hence we use a 'preventer' - a length of rope attached to the outward end of the boom and run around a point as far forward as possible, then brought back to somewhere solid and tied off as tightly as possible. This 'pins' the boom in position and prevents any collapse gaining the momentum to cause damage. On DC, I have a brace of preventers - permanently connected to the outer end of the boom - one on each side, then coiled and hung from a cleat on the forward end of the boom - so it looks nice, and is handy. Thus, it is no real drama to uncoil and rig such a preventer using the most forward cleat as the turning point, brought back to the handy aft cleat by the cockpit. Sometimes I'll rig them both - one each side, with the non-working one tied off loosely - if I think there's a good chance we'll be gybing within a reasonable time, and/or I expect conditions on deck to get worse - such as before sunset. Today, we have them both fitted.......on the same side, but one each side of the guardlines and stanchions on port side, to cope with theneed to adjut our angle to the variable wind, with either tighter and looser wind angles for the boom as we negotiate a tricky sea and a wind that is very variable in strength and direction. It has stopped the occasional bash and crash, without catching and straining the stanchions and guardlines. This all followed a not bad night, when we had winds up to 30 knots from behind, so that all we needed was some 25% of the genoa to generate a healthy 6 knots or so through the night with a wind angle of about 155 degs. This also allowed us to cut the corner to our first waypoint. This will save a few miles, and will position us slightly better for the next lot of wind direction. So it is that we are now heading for, and focussed on the next waypoint -which is a comfortable distance this side of the Aghulas current - some 700nms away. Current forecasts (of the weather, not the current) suggest we may have to wait for a front, bearing southerly winds, to pass through about the time we would ordinarily be there - Thursday/Friday. We will see and plan accordingly, but phase one to Madagascar is over and we have turned a little more westerly, to pass the south of the island about 100 miles offshore. Amazingly, the variation between true North and Magnetic North is 26 degs (west) It will be 28 degs by the time we go around the bottom of Africa to Cape Town. If ignored, this can really mess with your assessment of viable wind angles and courses to sail. Otherwise, it is now sunny and we are making steady if unspectacular progress in a lumpy sea - three directions of swell crossing over/under each other with a variable wind over the top! It's lovely, and intriguing, and we are kept on our toes. We just need a little more sleep.(And a win for the Seagulls tonite!!)

Current update

19 October 2017 | Oct 19th, 100 miles from S E Madagascar waypoint
Martin
The anticipated wind shift arrived around 9 pm shortly before I was due to get up to get weather downloads and go on watch. It was raining quite heavily as we trimmed the sails and reset the course to try to keep the sails filled with wind some 50degs off our port bow. Maggie stayed up until around 10.30 to get all that done. It rained intermittently throughout my watch, but the earlier lightning never came close. On this morning's radio sched, Sofia reported that they had also seen the lightning, but very distant, and had the rain and wind from ahead. They are about 36 miles behind us, and suffered a tear in a seam in their mainsail. Throughout, we have had a lot of shipping to deal with - keeping an eye open, and occasionally calling them up to ensure they have seen us and will give us plenty of sea room. It's a very busy route. The engine was back on around 0400 when the wind dropped, and we motored again until around 8, when the wind perked up again. That situation stayed until noon. All the while, the current has been against us at up to 1.5 knots, so we have had to plan our time to try to avoid the stormy weather forecast for our route south of Madagascar over the weekend. Then, we will start to worry about and plan the conditions for entry into the Aghulas current.....maybe next Friday.....There's plenty of water that has to flow before then! Meanwhile, the three Swedes (Big, little and Benny) are expected to have left Reunion today and two will join our radio scheds.....possibly starting tonite. So for now, under a cloud filled night sky, we are motoring through light winds from a useless angle, but the current is more favourable, and better wind is forecast tomorrow, so we'll keep steaming, keep out of the way of the big boys, and try to position us ready for the next 'leg' across the south of Madagascar and on to our meeting with Aggie!

Current news

18 October 2017 | Oct 18th, 200 miles from Madagascar waypoint
Martin
The current makes or breaks a passage time. We found this on the Rodriguez leg, and it's happening again here, where for the last 24 hours, the direction has moved from behind us to broadside. When it's running at up to 2.5 knots, it makes a big impression, especially when the wind is light. Actually, we have had good wind for most of the day, and fair zipped along, but the current took the shine off it, and yesterday's total traveled was a miserable 120 miles, despite our hard work to keep DC spanking along. Poor Mags was awakened at midnight to help me change the sail plan as a decisive wind shift happened. We had to abandon 'wing and wing', and thus the pole and set the genny on it's natural leeward side. There are a lot of ropes involved so it takes time and needs someone in the cockpit as well as someone up the sharp end on deck. The sail change only took about 30 minutes, but if you've read her blog.....it takes 15 minutes to get dressed!. Her reward was an extra 45 mins in bed, as it all went perfectly well. Now, we are under engine as in a wind hole while another shift takes place. We used the opportunity to top up the water tanks. Outside, just n hour after sunset, it is very dark with most of the sky covered in cloud. Sommat is going on up there! Ah. Lightening! It could be another interesting night! Meanwhile, the forecast for Sunday has some strong to gale force wind off the south of Madagascar, so we'll try to get ahead of that Pip pip!.

Bowling

17 October 2017 | Oct 17th, 340 miles from Madagasca
Martin
Both yesterday and today have been about coping with light winds and waiting for the forecast wind to come through. Yesterday, we found ourselves with a finger of SE wind that should not have been within 120 miles of us, so were poised all afternoon for the change that eventually came around 5 this morning. Thus, we motored for about 24 hours, but we didn't really mind - the weather was glorious and we enjoyed a relaxed day, getting back into the rhythm of Ocean sailing. The night was particularly quiet in terms of action, with the engine purring (thumping?) away. Today wasn't as bad in the frustration stakes. We found the forecasts spot-on as an area of increased wind is approaching from ahead, bringing wind up to 25 knots from the N/NE. The engine went off just after 8 am. The wind angle has been problematic, as usual this trip, being from deeply behind, and therefore slow. In the event and in preparation for the forecast changes, we took our time to set up the pole this afternoon and keep both 'white' sails filled wing and wing as much as possible - albeit reefed to only about 60% of max. This is the most we can fly at these angles without the sails bagging up and slatting or sitting on the standing rigging. The end result is very pleasing, after some really good team work. For much of the time, we have been managing a measly 4 knots through the water (but boosted by the largely supportive current ) Not only are we now (9pm) bowling along at 6 knots and more in the slowly building wind (from 157 degs off starboard quarter) but we should be able to cope with the shifting wind angle and strength through the night. Our course remains good. We have about 340 miles to go to our first waypoint - 2 and a bit days's worth - suggesting a Friday morning arrival there. This looks important if we are to slot between the forecast weather and avoid wind on the nose, and over current, off the south of the Island. Fingers crossed for that! The general weather has also been great today - lots of lovely sun - as we try to catch up on sleep and still get DC sailing as best she can, and prepared for the night. We might be busy. Pip pip.

Not everyone's cup of tea!

17 October 2017 | Oct 17th, 500 miles from Madagasca
Margaret
Sailing is not everyone's cup of tea. Talking of tea (!) an essential qualification for any sailor is to master the art of making the 'perfect cup of tea' .....at sea. For 'perfect cup of tea' read 'how the skipper likes it'! This skill should be quickly learned by crew on every new boat they board if they are to find favour with Skip. On Dream Catcher the method is as follows: Fill the kettle with exactly the required volume of water (don't want to waste gas!) We have a whistling kettle so don't forget you have put it on, especially at night, as you will incur the wrath of a sleeping crew member. Pour the boiling water on to a Tesco's Red T bag in Skip's large PWC mug. Now there are two methods to gain the required strength. Either prod and pummel the bag with a spoon or leave for 2 minutes, 58 seconds. If using this second method, don't get engrossed in a fascinating book such as '20 knots every sailor should know', 'Sailing terms in 9 languages' or ' 50 shades of sail cloth' or you and the tea will be stewed! Add the milk: not too much, not too little. I forgot to mention that to avoid spillage in a heeling boat it's best to put the mug on a non-slip surface or indeed in the sink. There's nothing so soul destroying than to have made 'the perfect cup of tea' and ....... Assuming all is well you can now triumphantly deliver the said Dame Edna (beverage) to Skip up in the cockpit. Accompanied by the obligatory McVities Suggestive biscuit - this is the way Skip likes to start his night watches, day watches, breakfast, afternoon tea etc., etc., and annoyingly when entering a new harbour (think I have cured him of that one!) If you can negotiate the companionway steps without mishap and put the mug into his hands you will have passed with flying colours! You can now sit back and watch to see if the recipient can synchronise cup to lip with the Ocean swell or lose his dignity by sloshing the 'perfect cuppa' over the deck and himself! Then retire gracefully and make yourself a cup of tea how YOU like it! PS Having read this, Skip politely points out that method two is the only way with an extra quick pummel at the end! It's not called Builders tea for no reason! PPS For those of you wondering, Skip often makes a 'perfect cup of tea' for me, too!

Off

16 October 2017 | Oct 16th, off La Reunion
Martin
As if to call my bluff, the Customs arrived at 06.40 for their 07.00 appointment. A stamp onto the passports and the clearance form and that was it. It was a good job there were only four of them. Tra la. With that done, we took our time to breakfast and tidy up; slipping our lines around 0815. Sofia had a 15 minute start, and with both the big and little Swedes on the wharf waving us off, it was quite a moment. The wind had died around 0400, so we are motoring under a sunny sky. It is already hot at 30 degs. The Island looks lovely in the early morning sunlight - the clouds already forming over the mountain peaks. And so, once more, we are off; and yet again I pinch myself... Wow. XX to all back home.
Vessel Name: DreamCatcher
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau 49DS
Hailing Port: Cowes
Crew: Martin Rutt
Extra: We're only popping out for a sail. We've 'done' the San Blas, Panama Canal, Galapagos, Marquesas, Rangiroa, French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Tanna, New Caledonia and Brisbane; and up to Darwin so see you in........err....Durban.
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