At the moment we are sailing under spinnaker with the jury rigged halyard and there appears to be no chare - we will check the halyard in an hour or so when we drop the spinnaker for the night. For safety we are motor-sailing thru the night as the sky is overcast with squalls and, as there is no moon visible, it is a bit too dangerous to sail at night with the spinnaker.
As mentioned above, it is overcast and has been since leaving St Helena. We have yet to experience a really spectacular sunset on this trip due to the heave cloud cover. Shaun and were discussing the days of the old square riggers and came to the conclusion that the navigators were brilliant in their work. How they used to find the little lump of rock (St Helena) with weeks of cloud cover preventing star or sun sights, is really brilliant navigation and record keeping to be able to get their ships there safely.
Since leaving the island we have done no fishing - the freezer still has an oversupply of tuna. However, we need variety in our fish diet and tomorrow morning we are going to put out our lines again and see if we can hook a nice Dorado, as we are now in Dorado and Wahoo waters. Tonight it is beef sausages with mash and sauce and sweet corn - Shaheda and Shaun doing the cooking.
This morning I baked two loves of bread, one of which "evaporated" within an hour of coming out of the oven. The second loaf has been put aside for Sunday brunch - fried eggs and bacon on toast.
Thanks to the folks who have posted comments to the blog. Thanks also to Deon (ZS1ZL) back in Cape Town who copies them to me every once in a while. I have replied to a few of them and will continue to do so over the next few days.
On the amateur radio front we have not been too active. I managed to chat to Des (ZS1ZY) and Dennis (ZS1AU) earlier today and received a bit of news from the home front. We will be up on 14237.5 KHz tomorrow (Sunday) at 16:00 Zulu and listen out for any calls. I gave my last report through to Alistair (ZS5MU) on the SA Maritime Mobile Net the morning we reached St Helena and subsequently am reporting our daily position to Jack (AA3GZ) in Pennsylvania in the US.
And back to the sailing and the environment around us. We are in flying fish territory now and have them fleeing from the approaching boat on a continuing basis. These wonderful fish come in sizes from a few centimetres to about a foot in length. Terry, with his size 11 shoe, has managed to pulverize a few small ones that have landed on deck overnight. I must admit that they do smell very fishy at best but when flattened by Terry's shoe, smell worse than a can of anchovies left in the sun.
Well, on that smelly note, regards from Terry the "Flying Fish Pulverizer", Shaun, Shaheda and myself, John
Well, There was little Internet access on the island this time round and thus the blog gallery did not get updated - all the photographs there are from my previous Tahiti trip so don't bother having a look.
The island was explored by Shaun, Shaheda and Terry after we did all the maintenance chores aboard, and they all seemed to be fascinated by it and the wonderful people there. We even met and had a chat to the new Governor, Mr Gurr, whilst there - an extremely pleasant gentleman.
For those who think we are paying too much for fuel (and I am one of them), how about R16-95 a litre for petrol and R11-75 a litre of diesel, the pump price on the island. Fortunately, the island is so small that a person does not need to spend too much money on fuel. Oh, and we did not have to buy any whilst there as we still have sufficient from Cape Town in drums.
We departed the island on Wednesday, just before noon, and had a stiff breeze for the first few hours from the island before the wind strength fell to between 8 and 12 knots from the east-southeast. It has remained so since and although we have done a lot of motor-sailing, we have also been sailing with the spinnaker on the jury rigged halyard. That appears to be working well with no chafe - lets hope that continues as we really need the spinnaker for the next two weeks and more!
We should reach our waypoint off the Brazilian coast around the 11th of December, where-after we should get a bit of assistance up the coast from the strong flowing current, which should be with us until just north of the equator. For those that do not know, the equator runs through the Amazon delta, so we have a long way to go before we are able to celebrate the crossing from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere - more on that in a few weeks time.
Well, as we potter along at a dismal speed, greetings to all from Shaheda, Shaun, Terry and myself, John.
Well folks, we are due in James Bay, St Helena, at approximately 4pm UTC today (Sunday 25 November).
Although we are not far from the island, we have a full overcast sky with the occasional rain squall coming through, which makes for only brief glimpses of the chunk of rock through the mist. As we get a bit closer, it will become more visible and the crew will be able to appreciate the island a bit more.
Once we have cleared customs and immigration tomorrow and managed to get Shaun, Shaheda and Terry on a tour of the island, I will try and get some photographs posted into the gallery, which still contains photographs from my last trip to Tahiti. Give it a few days before having a peep!
We are not staying long on the island - two nights and we will be off again.
More on the island in a day or two - regards from Shaheda, Shaun, Terry and myself, John.
Each boat I deliver develops a few problems whilst on delivery. This boat is no exception. Yesterday we had the spinnaker up the whole day and I was going to carry it through the night. The "little fellow" sitting on my shoulder told me to bring it down just before sunset. When we tried, we could not drop the spinnaker onto the deck as the outer sheath of the halyard had somehow chafed through and was now jammed inside the mast. This meant that we had to act quickly and I went up the mast on the main halyard and had to cut the spinnaker halyard to drop the "bag" onto the deck.
Let me tell you that going up a mast, at sea, is a daunting task on a mono-hull but on a catamaran it is outright dangerous as the mast is swinging back and forth very quickly as the boat goes over the swells - there is no rolling affect as there is on a mono-hull.
Well, we have recovered the sail with not a rip to it and recovered the halyard out of the mast. Now I will have to try and determine what caused the breakage and use what we can of the old halyard to jury rig a temporary external halyard to be able to sail with the spinnaker. It is a sail we cannot do without! Imagine what would have happened if I had decided to carry the spinnaker into the night - the entire halyard would have chafed through, the spinnaker would have blown forward and into the sea with the boat then sailing over it and ripping the sail to shreds.
On trying to get the spinnaker halyard out of the mast, we discovered that the starboard lazy-jack, which broke on the first day out of Cape Town in gale force winds, has jammed inside the mast and appears to be caught inside the mast. This is a problem and will need further investigation whilst in the calmer (hopefully) waters of James Bay, St Helena.
So, we are motor-sailing in a light easterly breeze, which looks like it will be with us all the way to the island. I have revised our ETA to an 18:00 arrival in James Bay.
From a frustrated crew, greetings until the next report.
We (Shaun and I) have been chatting to a number of our fellow hams in Cape Town over the past few days and have been updated on the news on the home front. Thanks to all that have been in contact with us. I must admit that the news of the high winds and flooding in some areas of the Cape were expected after receiving the weather updates on a daily basis to see what we were expecting - remember that we are now well north and only a couple of days out of St Helena.
On the sailing front (this is supposed to be a sailing blog), there is not much to report. The wind we had has died down to 18 knots from the east-southeast and the seas have flattened a bit to permit us to sail with the spinnaker again. At our current daily runs we should make James Bay, St Helena, on Sunday afternoon. We have all made the decision that, due to arriving on a Sunday and not being able to undertake the clearing-in formalities, we are all going to get stuck in and try and service both engines and undertake the few repairs that need to be done on Sunday afternoon and that will leave the Monday and Tuesday morning to explore the island.
Getting back to radio, I have once again been helping Gilbert of the marine radio station on the island (St Helena Radio) with some message passing exercises to give his staff some practice. Although I have met Gilbert, I have never visited the marine radio station and thus do not know the people I talk to each day. This time I will make an effort to pay a visit and chat to the folk that run the station.
On the fishing front, we have had no lines out since catching the two large yellow-fin Tuna. However, we will put them out again on Sunday morning. Whatever we catch will be used as gifts when we reach the island.
As mentioned above, we are under spinnaker and making a good 8 knots. Due to a few squalls coming through we drop the spinnaker at night and sail on the genoa or a combination of the genoa and "iron sail" (55hp Yanmar). Our batteries are not keeping a charge as they should and doing a bit of motor-sailing at night is helping charge them properly.
The above photo was shot by Shaun earlier - note the overcast sky, which we are hoping will clear as we get closer to St Helena.
With 350 nautical miles to St Helena, that's all for now folks - see you in a day or two. Regards from all aboard.