Starblazer - 10/04/2014 – Reasons
First of all, an apology to anyone who expected to read this a few hours ago. Yesterday tiredness hit me and I took a 2 hour sleep mid-afternoon with the result that I did not sleep between 2000 and 2300. I coped with both my watches but fell asleep at 0800. That would not normally have delayed the log but the Hydrovane needed careful watching and the computer battery was flat so I couldn’t write this in the cockpit.Reasons to celebrate: Horace the Hydrovane, aka Q, has taken over steering duties from the thirsty autopilot. He’s keeping a relatively good course but occasionally gets overpowered by a strong gust or a sudden slap by a large swell. That’s when the watch needs to be ready to help get the boat back on course.We completed 1,000 miles from the start at 0500 this morning, so. read more...
Starblazer - 09/03/2014 – Our best day yet (on this leg)
Our day’s run to noon yesterday was 159 miles towards our destination and today’s run is on target to match it, which means an average speed of 6.5 knots. The wind has been steady at between 13 and 15 knots just aft of the port beam so the boat is fairly constantly heeled at about 15 degrees, lurching to 25 when the swell hits us. This makes moving about down below a bit of a struggle, cooking is more difficult. On a starboard tack, i.e. the wind coming over the right hand side of the boat, the cook can lean against the peninsular while stirring the cooking. On port tack it is difficult to stand upright to avoid becoming an added ingredient to the dinner!Please don’t think I am complaining, we are really glad that we seem to have found the southern trade winds. Now we need to avoid a. read more...
Starblazer - 08/03/2014 – The pretty sail
Yesterday the wind returned soon after 0700. I set the main but didn’t pull out the genoa because I find it too heavy to winch properly, anyway there was a line of squalls heading our way and I didn’t know how much wind to expect. After John got up we pulled out the genoa and were sailing quite well until the wind backed and our speed, in a suitable direction, dropped. Decision time: the plotter showed no significant squalls on the radar so we took a chance and rolled away the genoa and launched the cruising chute, the colourful big sail. We continued with the chute all day, only taking it down just before dusk. I am expecting the day’s run towards the Marquesas to be our best yet on this leg, pedestrian compared with the first leg but better than the preceding days.On the subject of. read more...
Starblazer - 07/03/2014 – Another day in the Doldrums
Actually yesterday was quite a good day in a slow sort of way. We managed to continue sailing until 0200 this morning though the wind never peaked above 10 knots and was in the 7-8 knot region for most of the day. This means we have probably slipped further behind the majority of the fleet because we need at least 12 knots to get going properly. The solar panels did a sterling job and built up the batteries throughout the day. We have continued to head south of the rhum line, at least when the wind allowed, in the hope of finding those elusive Trades.Great(ish) news on the fishing front. A smallish squid jumped on board overnight so John rigged it up on a hook and trolled that for most of the day. Just as he settled down to tune in to the evening rollcall on the SSB his line started. read more...
Starblazer - 06/03/2014 – Sailing at last!
We have several reasons to celebrate, not major ones requiring Champagne, just minor ones earning us steak and chips for dinner with a glass of red wine!Less than two and a half hours after I wrote yesterday’s log the wind increased to 8 knots and we turned off the engine. 8 knots is barely enough to drive Starblazer but its direction is the all important factor. With the wind on the beam we slowly built up speed and have been sailing ever since, the highest wind being 11 knots, and we have averaged a bit over 5.5 knots though not all in the right direction. We are still heading further south than the rhum line in an attempt to find the trade winds and a favourable current, then we should really accelerate. The current, while slowing us down a bit, is helpfully pushing us up towards the. read more...