Catching The Dream

09 January 2018 | Durban Marina
09 January 2018 | Durban Marina
07 January 2018 | Durban Marina
03 January 2018 | Point Yacht Club, Durban marina
31 December 2017 | Durban Marina
31 December 2017 | Durban Marina
30 December 2017 | Durban Marina
29 December 2017 | ZYC
26 December 2017 | Zululand Yacht Club pontoons, Richard's Bay
26 December 2017
26 December 2017 | ZYC
03 December 2017 | Zululand Yacht Club pontoons, Richard's Bay
23 November 2017 | Zululand Yacht Club pontoons, Richard's Bay
20 November 2017 | ZYC
15 November 2017 | ZYC
10 November 2017 | ZYC
09 November 2017
05 November 2017
03 November 2017 | ZYC
29 October 2017 | ZYC

PPM and shifty wind

21 March 2018 | South Atlantic Ocean Weds 21th
On DC we have a watermaker. It is an Echotec DL250, and it is super. It runs off the DC batteries, but draws a hefty 38amps, so needs the engine running if the batteries aren't to be totally hammered. In return, and with regular TLC, it provides 50 litres of pretty pure water from the salty, sandy, and sometimes otherwise mucky sea. It takes a good few minutes of pumping filtered sea water through the semi-impervious membrane at 850psi before the 'product' is drinkable and the salty, mucky residue brine is returned to the briny ole sea. Some makes have electronic devices for testing the 'product' and determine when it is pure enough to switch into the tanks, but on DC it requires yours truly (or someone else) to actually taste it, decide, and turn a handle. I like that. While in Richard's Bay, I discovered that Ann on Sofia actually tests her water, and so borrowed her tester, which I found to be simple to use, very sensible to own, and really quite cheap off Ebay, and got Chris to bring one out. The acceptable level of purity for drinking water is said to be 500 PPM (parts per million) and recent tests with this new toy have given me a - disappointing - reading of around 390, so I spent a good half day in Walvis Bay when we were awaiting the Ray kit , and N&J were touring, to give the whole system a thorough 'going over'. Imagine my delight when today's water tested at 204. For a nearly 4 year old membrane and system that has run for 240 hours (I log each usage) and produced 18500 litres of significantly pure water from the sea - I reckon that's not bad. The reason for me making nearly 450 litres over 8 and a half hours from about 0100 this morning is the wind. When I came on watch last night, the wind direction and strength were broadly in line with the forecast and the sailplan and Nicole told me on the 10pm handover that all was well: we were making a steady if modest 5 knots or so, and were on our acceptable off-course. (With the wind dead downwind, and in any amount of ocean swell, it is rarely possible or sensible to sail dead downwind. The sails tell you so by banging and slopping every so often when backwinded. It isn't fast and it isn't kind to those expensive bits of cloth hanging off the mast. As a result, you sail a few degrees off one side off the wind angle, then swing the boat (gybe) to the other and zigzag along the imaginary line that is your 'route'. On the chartplotter display, our resultant track looks like a spider - that has dipped one leg in ink - is climbing the stairs! I'll post a pic when I get t'internet. Where was I? Exactly. Oh yes....... within 15 mins or so of Nic going to bed, the ominous black shape that could just be made out of the totally pitch dark, cloud covered sky behind us seemed to be growing wider, and reached all the way to the horizon - suggesting that it might be raining over there. As it was also clearly coming over here, I switched on the radar to indeed show the tell tale splodges of pink that denote rain. The intensity of colour with red, green and blue added for even more effective grabbing of one's attention, shows the intensity of that rain. It was quite colourful. With that, the wind started moving S, so that at the then optimum apparent wind angle of 150 degs, it had us sailing ever closer to due North, and then actually NE! Yikes! Since our destination is to the NW, any combination of those two letters is sort of acceptable (with 1400 miles to go) but anything E and S are not helpful at all. It was time to gybe the mainsail and go a little N of west. By now it was mid-watch, and Maggie wasn't due for another hour. Although it is possible to gybe the main alone, several things need to done in quick succession involving four different locations, making this one, a job for two. The resultant commotion - even if it went to plan - would wake everybody up anyway - so I called Maggie up out of a deep and clearly satisfying sleep. After several attempts, I almost had to shout her name from 2 feet to get her to surface. Bless! Surprisingly cheerful, but drowsy, she toddled into the cockpit and I explained what was required....as I will to you: The job is to bring the boom and mainsail through the wind so that they lie on the other side of the centre line, as we put DC on her new course ie taking the wind on the other side, but still from 'behind'. Got it? Thus, the current 'preventer' line - that runs from the back end of the boom to a point at the front of the boat, then back to the cockpit to be secured, so as to stop the main sail from being thrown across the boat every time the wind gets front side of the sail - this rope needed to be released but controlled while the new line (ready rigged but loose on the other side of boom and boat) is hauled in. Meanwhile the mainsail is to be winched as near to the centre line of the boat as is safe before the course change is made (at he helm). That brings the wind to the other side, while the rope that has just been winched in is let out to allow the boom and mainsail to safely swing as far out on this new side as possible......before rubbing on the spreaders. See what I mean? Three people would not be wasted. So, job done and all those bits of rope were finally adjusted and secured and tidied up.........before the wind a) died b) started going back N. With a vengeance. Slowly but inexorably it moved, swinging the boat as equally slowly onto a new course....somewhat E of S at 2knots. What happened earlier in super fast action time, was now being replayed in slo -mo. We ended up - dead in the water, aiming back towards St Helena! We were not pleased - especially when the radar decided to switch itself off half way through the job. No 'Please, Sir - may I go to the toilet? It just went. I don't know what for - but it sure p*ssed me off! Nothing for it: engine on; furl the genoa away, and adjust the boom and mainsail to position ' motor sail'. Set the engine revs to create the 38 amps needed to run the watermaker, and get that going to replenish the 400litres required to fill the tanks. By 2am and the start of Jeremy's watch, that was all in action and Maggie and I could go to bed. What a night! Now, things have gone from the ridiculous to the sublime: super, pure, fresh water is sloshing in the filled tanks, the engine is off, and the sun is high and sparkling off the wave crests that break behind us in the 2.5m swell as we cream along in 20+ knots of wind which is coming from a very satisfying angle of 168 degs behind us (on starboard). Our speed? 7 to 8 to 10 when we surf. Fab U Lous. It's mid day and I'm going to get some sleep.

Wind shifts

20 March 2018 | South Atlantic Ocean Tues 20th
Lots of wind shifts, with rain today, so we've been testing out how best to handle them at night, when the reefed genoa is poled out and the mainsail pinned with a preventer. Our test one was a goodie - doubling in wind speed to 32 knots that spun us to face the way we had just come, backing both sails in the process! The boat speed at that point recorded zero - but we could have been going backwards. This is where radar is so critical - showing at night which clouds have rain.. Rain almost always brings wind and often a wind sheer. Unfortunately, the new radar is giving me a headache as it 'goes to sleep', and being wi fi connected, seems to require switching the wretched chart plotter off at the main board, then switching it back on - not really what you want or expect! Raymarine don't supply a manual - it's available on line, so not much good to me out here. One might have thought the cost of the thing warranted the inclusion of a manual. Silly me - so old fashioned! All in all, it's keeping us on our toes. Tonight could be 'interesting'. Pip pip

Slow but steady

19 March 2018 | South Atlantic Ocean
We left St Helena on Saturday, expecting a few 'soft 'days and so it has proven, although the higher winds that Peregrine were waiting for on Wednesday, don't look as promising now. If the wind were from the S E prevailing direction, things wouldn't be quite as soft, but it is more easterly, so 'up the chuff', and that is most difficult. In the event, the new mainsail is proving its worth, being stiffer and flatter, so that we can set it at a much deeper angle to the wind without it rubbing on the spreaders. With the genoa (fore sail) poled out to keep that flat and to stop it collapsing in the light and contrary winds, we are able to keep moving. So far we have only used the engine whilst we attempt to hoist the cruising chute instead of the genoa, when the wind got really light. For some reason, as yet unknown, it was getting twisted, so needs taking out of it's 'sock', unraveling and repacking. It's a big bit of cloth! Otherwise, all is well: Nicole has so far kept all her meals down and we are getting back into the rhythm of Ocean sailing life, which is as well since it looks like being a slow passage with days of scarcely more than 110 miles if we are to avoid using the engine. Thus our arrival off Fernando de Noronha may miss the Easter weekend - which may not be a bad thing. On the plus side, the rainy weather that we had as we left St H has kept away yesterday and today, with sunny skies, but the clouds have definitely taken on 'trade wind' characteristics, so we are wary of squalls at night, whilst enjoying the changing offering of stars and galaxies as we progress towards the equator. Meanwhile the sea temperature has climbed to over 29degsC and the sea has that fabulous blue of the deep ocean in sunlight. Unusually, with no moon these past few nights, the phosphorescence hasn't been forever foaming etc: just the occasional sparkle, and whilst we have seem whales spouting from a distance, nothing has come close - that we are aware of....including fish, which continue to avoid the trailing line that Jeremy sets each day. Pip pip!

March 16th - Some nuts off to Brazil

16 March 2018 | 20 miles off St Helena, South Atlantic Ocean
We set off to Brazil at 14.15(Saturday)- Fernando de Noronha to be precise. It's a marine Park some 200nms off the mainland. It's a risk as the swell can be bad, but we'll give it a go. St Helena has been very interesting and enjoyable, and it would be easy to stay longer, but there's a half reasonable wind, that has to be caught before it all goes soft again. It is likely that we'll get plenty of 'soft' wind anyway, so we need to crack on. The star of the show in St H was 187 year old Jonathon - a turtle that resides in the Governor's garden. An older, friendlier, and wiser old turtle it would be difficult to find. That visit was one of the many items of interest that we experienced on a most enjoyable full day Island tour alongside Dirk and Gretchen (Peregrine). Our driver was as interesting as the Island - 82 year old Robert! Sadly, our trip with James on Carpe Diem to swim with the whale sharks drew a blank - no sharks or even dolphins, but we had a nice sail! In any event, it has been great to see James in his home environment and to support his business, while benefiting from his inside knowledge and contacts. Sadly, my worsening knee ruled out any attempt at the 699 steps of Jacob's Ladder, although N&J managed it. So, back under 'prevented' main and poled out half genoa, and in the lull between rain clouds, it's Bye Bye St Helena - with it's many 'white infrastructure Elephants' (courtesy of the UK Taxpayer) and its super friendly people. Thanks to them for a great little stopover. Them, James and Hannah and their young Hernes.......and Jonathon.

Arrived off Jamestown

12 March 2018 | James Bay, St Helena
Just a quick note - we arrived around 0700. No dramas, and little swell, so a very easy and comfortable arrival . Currently moored within sound of the surf on the cliffs. It's dry and sunny and really rather lovely. were met by James from Carpe Diem who helped loop our lines through the buoy and gave a rundown (as a 'saint') of the immaediate what's to be done. he has set up a Yacht Services business, so is a handy guy to know. It's now time for breakfast before Offickledom awaken and need visiting.

Slowly does it

11 March 2018 | 90 miles SE of St Helena
Not much to report from this quiet leg, With reports of uncomfortable swell conditions in the bay off Jamestown, we decided to ensure a Monday morning arrival so that we can get Offickledom sorted and find a reasonable hotel/bnb for the duration. Sleeping is impossible on a wildly rolling boat on a mooring! So, steady does it. Fortunately, wind and sea conditions are very benign with only 10 knot wind and slight sea (out here), so we are also topping up the water tanks, and having lovely hot showers - all without being thrown around. Our friends on Alba have given some helpful tips about where to go and what to see ashore, plus our South Pacific Sea Mercy friends on Carpe Diem live in St H, so we should be in good hands. Happily, to date, the new electronics are doing what is required of them, which is a profound relief! Hoping to get email on the Island as the SSB is very limited out here,. This is being sent via the satellite link..
Vessel Name: DreamCatcher
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau 49DS
Hailing Port: Cowes
Crew: Martin and Margaret 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.
DreamCatcher's Photos - Main
1 Sub-Album
Created 15 February 2016
No Photos
Created 15 February 2016