09-Dec-2007, 16d 56m N 054d 42m W
Did I say the trades are back a few days ago? Well that was short lived... after dealing with rain and thunder squalls all day yesterday (and actually making good progress) we were becalmed 14 hrs during last night. Now there is a gentle 10 knots of true wind from behind which only gets us about 4.5 kn of boat speed with ~420 nm to go to Antigua - and even the occasional squalls don't provide much of a push currently... hence our ETA now has slipped to Thursday morning. On the bright side, it is a sunny day and we had a mink whale (as correctly identified by Nicky) drifting right along side Namani for about 20 min this morning. Stay tuned - we will get there eventually...
Whales alongside Namani!Markus
07-Dec-2007, 16d 51m N 051d 01m W
Wow - an unusual view this morning: shortly after sunrise we had a pod of 4-5 whales (type to be determined, each one approx the length of our boat) swimming approx. 20m off Namani's beam before crossing our bow and disappearing into the distance. Quite an awesome sight - if a bit close for comfort though... With a good 24 hr run behind us and approx. 625 nm to go we're still hoping for 12DEC arrival - stay tuned...
The Trades are back!Markus
06-Dec-2007, 17d 11m N 048d 47m W
Finally... this is what we imagined it to be all along: 15-20 knots from the ENE, a gentle and long Atlantic swell and sunny skies with lots of cumulus and the occasional squall - let's hope it stays this way until Antigua! Between contrary winds, being becalmed and some technical problems we are now looking at a 26 day passage (vs the hoped for 21-23 days), hoping to get into Antigua on Wednesday, 12DEC. In any case - all is well aboard, Nicky continues to enjoy his Lego and Peter, Nana and Markus enjoy the tropical sun. Having to hand-steer from here onwards is a bit of a pain but manageable between 3 people (we had to dismount the windvane self-steering in mid-Atalntic, see previous post below). Our watch system with 4 hour long watches during the day (between 0600 and 1800 boat time which currently is UTC-4) and 3 hour long watches during the night has worked well and after 2 1/2 calm days everyone is pretty well rested. This morning actually found us less than 1 nm away from an Italian catamaran ("Double Trouble") also en route to Antigua (with a crew of 7 Italians and 1 Kiwi). We chatted briefly on the VHF before their greater boat speed had them pull ahead. It is a bit of a surprise to come so close to another sailboat after not having seen any sign of human life for many days. We did however hear whales snorting next to Namani two nights ago and have had numerous dolphin pods joining us for part of our journey, playing in our bow wave. And there is of course the daily radio sked on the SSB every morning at 1000 where the Blue Water Rally boats update each other on their current positions and exchange weather information.
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Namani at Sea Impression