West Palm Beach to Bermuda 7
25 April 2019 | 31:17N 066:37W
788 down 155 to go
After our storm of a couple of days ago with Gale force 8 winds we are now becalmed and have been for the past 22hrs, and according to the forecast will be until we arrive in Bermuda. The wind has dropped to force 1-2, it has just gone round to NNW from NNE but still only 5kts or so, a gentle breeze, that may push us along at 1kt if we are lucky...so the 'iron topsail' it is. The iron topsail is our Perkins M90 80hp engine, its noisy and smelly and drinks diesel and oil with gay abandonment. Its not that bad really but it is a bit tedious after a couple of hours and even more so after a couple days, but at least we are making headway towards our destination.
We have been motor sailing until a few hours ago, be then the sails just started flopping about, so we dropped the yankee and furled the staysail and sheeted the mainsail in hard to stop it flopping around. The swell has reduced from three metres down to perhaps a metre and a half and we just have a gentle roll...and with just the sound of the sea swishing passed us, the hum of the engine, actually you block out the noise of the engine, its nice when its not there, you get used to it. Our aft cabin is over the stern tube and the propeller and I think that makes more noise than the engine, which is located under the saloon floor. I suspect that the cutlass bearing could do with replacing by now. We have taken to sleeping in the lateral cabin away from the engine and the stern gear for a quieter sleep when off watch.
There is just the two of us on board, and we a taking 4 hour watches each through out the day and night. Some people ask 'what do you do a night, stop the boat and go to bed' well no, we continue on 24/7 day in day out. taking it in turns to 'keep watch' and look after the boat. 4 hours on 4 hours off, that means in a 24 hour period you 'work' for 12 hours and rest for 12 hours, well that's the idea, and it works pretty well. The night watches do tend to be most difficult to stay awake for, but after a few days you get used to it. It is important to make sure you get your head down when you are off watch during the day so you do not get over tired at night. It is important when you are on watch to keep your mind occupied, by writing a blog, navigation, reading a book or taking the dog for a walk, perhaps a bit of gardening. There is always something to be done, cleaning, cooking, washing, fixing things, and sometimes I get me fiddle out and play a tune. I have given up on fishing. ohh, that reminds me we have managed to catch some flying fish again, we get about one a day landing on the deck. Talking of wildlife we have not seen any dolphins or whales on this passage or many sea birds, but yesterday morning at least 300 miles from anywhere we were joined for a while by three 'man o war birds' the white ones with the long tail feathers. Anyway, back to watch keeping. During the day we to spend a couple of hours up and about together, during the day when off watch I try to sleep for 2 of the 4hrs and am up and about for the other two hours doing things, we do always try and eat breakfast, lunch and supper together. It does take a few days to get into the swing of things, the first couple of nights you think, 'how many more nights have I got to put up with this, but then you forget about it, night turns into day and day turns into night, ad infinitum, and you forget how many days you have been at sea and do not really care how many more days it will take to arrive somewhere you just get up one morning and there be 'land ho'
It is a perfectly clear sky tonight as I sit up on deck writing to you. There is no moon at the moment but i can see a sky full of stars, its 11:00pm here the moon will rise to the east in an hour or so and the sun will start to show it arrival with its warm glow about 5:30am and poke its head up above the horizon an hour later. It is sooo dark I can't see where the sea ends and the sky begins. I see what I think to be lights of a ship on the horizon, then a few minutes later I realise its a star low in the sky.
Its nearly midnight now, and Alison has just crawled out of her bunk to take her watch, its time I went down below for a kip myself, but I will be back in 4 hours.
The Echomax active radar alarm has just started beeping there must be another vessel out there somewhere, perhaps it is a ship and not a star after all, nothing showing up on AIS or the radar screen as yet. The Echomax will detect another radar up to about 30-40 miles away, our radar scanner will not pick it up until 5-10miles, the AIS may be 20 miles.
Fayre Wynds and Kynd Seas
Richard and Alison yacht Cerulean of Penryn
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