Starblazer - 24/06/2017 – Welcome to the English Channel!
Yesterday’s improvement in the wind happened sooner than expected.We finally turned the engine off at 1450 and have sailed well ever since.In fact we have only seen our speed drop to about 5 knots during the past 6 hours as we have had a west going tide knocking us back.It is, however, about to change in our favour so our fantastic progress should be maintained.Our day’s run was a wonderful 155.7nM which included 6 consecutive hours where we returned an 8 knot average!This speed does have a potential drawback; we don’t want to arrive at the Needles Channel too early to catch the tide through Hurst narrows though the adverse tide has helped.This morning dawned damp, drizzly and misty with visibility down to shadowy outlines at 4 nM, the damp was increased by intermittent light showers and. read more...
Starblazer - 23/06/2017 – Change of plan!
What are plans for, if not to moderate or change them as circumstances dictate?But more of that later.It can be dangerous to slavishly stick to a plan when conditions change, for example if driving from the South Coast to Scotland you wouldn’t plan your trip on an average speed of 70 m.p.h. then not alter speed when a fog descends because ‘the plan says we average 70.’Thursday was another gentle day with just enough breeze to allow us to drop the revs to little more than tickover to maintain an average speed of 5 knots or better.The day’s run to noon was a record breaking (at least for this leg) 128 nM, nothing to shout about but, hey, we are making satisfactory progress while conserving fuel. The day was interspersed with meal breaks, cups of tea and not much else.Dinner was spicy. read more...
Starblazer - 22/06/2017 – Quite a good day
First of all, what went right?The cloudy, cool morning gave way to sunshine and, by mid-afternoon, it was positively hot.We had wall to wall sunshine but, as forecast, very little wind.We have taken the decision to motor at 5 knots, if the breeze sends our speed up we can throttle back.This strategy resulted in a 125 nm day, not stunning but the second highest this trip!There are two reasons for our fuel economy strategy: i) we don’t know exactly how much fuel we have and ii) we don’t want to arrive in the dark.It’s currently a little after 0600 UT, broad daylight and we have 260 nM to go so 52 hours at 5 knots, just under 44 hours at 6 knots.0200 is pitch dark because there is no moon!On the baking front, I made probably the best loaf of bread for a very long time, and it was ready in. read more...
Starblazer - 21/06/2017 – A Happy Day
Tuesday was a ‘Happy’ day on board Starblazer for a number of reasons.The day dawned bright and sunny and the temperature increased, to the extent that we were sitting in the cockpit without jumpers on!June is supposed to be summertime but the temperatures here do not agree.The nights are very dark with less than 20% of the moon rising a couple of hours before the sun, they are also cold.At least we have had no rain or squalls. The seas are ridiculously calm for an ocean, but that is because the wind remains very weak.John emptied the diesel cans into the tank, to get an accurate calibration of our usage he should probably have done it on Monday evening.The gauge said the tank was very nearly full, we are just not sure of exactly how much we had used and hence our fuel economy.We believe. read more...
Starblazer - 19/06/2017 – The Highs and Lows of passage making.
19/06/2017 – The Highs and Lows of passage making.This title can be taken two ways: meteorologically and in terms of our feelings.I’ll start with the latter.It’s not quite the extremes of mania and depression, rather more a question of happiness or gloominess.What makes us happy?I’m sure just about every sailor will agree that the sight of dolphins playing around the boat puts a smile on the face and a sighting of whales is very special.Seeing the log or GPS reach the heady heights of 6 knots is doing it for us on this passage.In the past we have expected to achieve a 6.5 knot average, then the happiness factor is reaching a 7 knot average over 3 hours or longer. This passage has not been fast but I’ll deal with that when I consider ‘Gloominess’.Good food is a necessity, with pleasant. read more...