Woosh, Bang, Shudder
15 May 2011 | North Atlantic
It seems like a week ago that we jibed the boat and started heading east, but it was only a few days. The reason is a lack of sleep for everybody on board. Let me explain.
We were heading north from the Cape Verde Islands and actually needed to get a bit further north than we did. However, looking at the weather downloads, we realised that a front was due to pass north of us and thus we would start getting high winds right on the bow. I took the decision to wait until the wind started to swing out of the northeast to the north and then start our trek east, with a bit of north thrown in, towards the island of Madeira. We would then see what the winds were doing and try to head towards the African coast and Straits of Gibraltar.
The first few days of heading east were difficult, with large seas generated by the front passing north of us, high winds and a terrible short chop on the water. The result of this was the title of this posting - the "woosh" is us shooting off the top of a wave, the "bang" is us dropping off the back of it and the "shudder" is what the whole boat does as it comes to a stop with the bows dug into the wave following. Not nice! We all learnt the art of levitation in our bunks as the boat drops off the top of a wave - your body is still going up as the boat drops and then your body drops and you bounce off your bunk. Not the ideal sleeping conditions.
But, the front has passed and the winds have calmed a bit and we are a couple of hundred miles from Madeira and heading into the centre of a low, which has been hovering between the Canary Islands, Madeira the African coast and up to Gibraltar. We have about 800 nautical miles to the Straits and, looking at the latest seven day forecast, it looks like we will spend most of it motor-sailing.
Just before we did our right turn to start heading east, we caught two lovely Wahoo (photo of Josh with them shown above), which were filleted and frozen, with the exception of one pack which was consumed for dinner that evening. They are really lovely fish to eat - white compact meat with a great flavour. Tonight (Sunday 15 May), Josh is going to prepare battered Wahoo with potato wedges and our version of Tatar Sauce. Roll on dinner time! Our dinner last night was pasta with a tomato and garlic type sauce and rounds of sliced Chorizo sausage I bought in Mindelo - darn nice and easy to prepare in the bouncing and banging boat.
And quickly back to the boat. She held up quite well with the punishment over the past few days. We developed a few creaks and some grinding from panels but the major problem was that we developed a leak in the plumbing from our starboard water tank and lost all the water before realising it. Dave and I spent yesterday going through the whole water system and found the broken pipe, which we repaired. However, we now have an air leak into the plumbing between our auxiliary water tank and the pressure pump. This will be harder to find as there are about 20 couplings between the pump and the tank, with some of them that we cannot get to. It is not critical but is really inconvenient.
We are about a week from the Straits of Gibraltar. We will have to stop somewhere to fix our water problem and take on some more fuel and at first I was thinking of Cadiz but, if we can get through the straits, I may go into Gibraltar Bay and stop on the Spanish side. Unfortunately, Mathys and I, being South African, can no longer go to Gibraltar as we do not have British visas. From the straits we will have a further 1710 nautical miles to our destination, Gocek, Turkey.
Well, enough waffling for now - until the next blog post, regards from Mathys, Josh, David and myself, John.