West Palm Beach to Bermuda 6
23 April 2019 | 30:08N 070:59W
Here I St George a noble champion stand...
We had a quiet night, with a gentle swell and gentle North to North Easterly winds force 2-3, not enough wind to push us along very fast, so we motor sailed for a bit and sailed a bit, (when the course drops off and the boat speed drops below 2kts for more than 30minutes or so.
It was one of those nights. After a superb supper of sausages and mash (actually Instant Mash) I watched the last vestiges of the sun disappear behind low cloud around sunset then the night just got progressively darker until pitch black, the thickening layer of cloud obscuring the celestial bodies. the only light coming from out navigation lights and the lights of the instruments in the cockpit...and the magic green sparks of bio-luminescence and the occasional white glow of a wave breaking. As the night wore on the clouds rolled back revealing our old friends Orion and the Great Bear...amongst others I am sure. Just before I finished watch at midnight on the horizon off to starboard I could see this strange orange light long and low and a silver glow on the water, a ship! no can't be, a cheesy moon rising from its daytime slumber boxed between thick cloud and the horizon making a lozenge of orange sodium light in the shape of lit up ship, it rose into the cloud. When a cam back on watch at 4am a waning 3/4 moon was high in a clear dark sky above casting a silver light on the water. A few hours later the sky becoming brighter with the golden colours if the sun washing away the silver moonlight, an hour later sunrise behind low cloud directly ahead of us and washed away Saturn that had been perched next to the Moon.
As it got light, with Alison asleep. I set work in hoisting the Yankee Jib, this is another sail we have, not often let of the bag. The Yankee is a hanked on sail which needs to be hoisted for each use rather than permanently hoisted and furled away on roller reefing like the genoa. With the Genoa in a fragile sate and safely furled away, we were not making much speed in these light winds with just the newly repaired mainsail and the small staysail, so we need the Yankee hoisted and sucking us to windward. In order to do this I needed to set up the secondary forestay, which is permanently attached at the top of the mast with the foot safely tied out of the way to the port hand shroud chainplate when not in use. After untying the foot from the chainplate i dragged it up to the bow chainplate fitting, fitted the special strop we had made in Las Palmas and after a struggle in a pitching sea got it fitted and tensioned up, stowed the genoe sheets and run a new set of sheets for the Ynakee. i managed to push the heavy big bag containing the sail up through the forehatch, then getting back on deck myself got the sail hanked on to the secondary forestay. After working out which was the correct halyard to use ( last time we used this sail we used the spinnaker which does not have the correct lead and in the few hours we used it it had nearly chaffed through) and getting it and the sheets attached I was ready to hoist. With the sail up i was expecting a surge of speed...but the wind had dropped and headed us due to a nearby dark low cloud passing to port, but now with the cloud passed and the nominal wind back to the fore we are making 4.5kts 5.5kts to windward in 10kts of wind and almost on course.
Hopefully with this wind continuing until at least this evening we should manage to sail another 50-100m closer to our destination before the wind drops later. Our weather forecasts indicate that the winds will drop off to less than 10kts and head us before becoming light a variable, and that will mean resorting to the 'iron topsail' for the last 200 nautical miles or so which will take another couple of days before we can sample the delights of Bermuda.
We have seen very few other vessels, one or two passing close enough to see, within 10nm, others we can see on AIS some 30nm away. The other night a Helicopter TS001 kept on cropping up on the AIS some 12nm to the South West of us, it would be there for a few minutes, doing no more than 2kts or much less, then disappearing only to come back a few minutes later. No sign of another ship on AIS or radar etc. I can only assume the Navy (which one i don't know, i'm guessing USA) doing some training exercises in taking off an landing helicopters from a stealhy ship.
But all in all, now the storm has passed it is quite pleasant sailing, yes we have some blue sky, the sea is relatively calm, we are making reasonable progress and daytime temperatures still 20 deg C. Sorry can't attach pictures, too bigger file for the communication equipment.
anyway Happy St George's Day.
Fayre Wynds and Kynd Seas
Richard and Alison yacht Cerulean of Penryn
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