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Starblazer - 30/05/2017 – A new record!

Day 12 of this trip, noon Sunday to noon Monday, had some definite
highlights plus the odd negative! I’ll get the bad bits out of the way
first. The boom strut/vang/kicker thingy decided to follow the lead of the
wire rope which formed part of the system for pulling the boom down against
the force of the gas strut and the wind trying to lift the boom. John had
replaced the wire with some dyneema linking the block and tackle directly to
the boom a couple of days ago. Sunday the main body of the unit tore off the
end fixing block so it is now on the deck and we must remember to tighten
the topping lift otherwise the boom will damage the bimini (a sunshade
covering the cockpit) when we drop the mainsail.

The second negative was the day’s run, a new record low since arriving back
in the Caribbean in 2016 of only 104 NM, a VMG of 4.33 knots. Can you
imagine the frustration of travelling so slowly when you still have
approximately 250 Nm to go? Looking on the bright side, our record low VMG
was on this leg of ARC Europe in 2010 in our last boat, Fair Encounter,
which was 30 nM for a VMG of 1.25 knots! There were extenuating
circumstances, it wasn’t a case of
navigation errors: there was no wind and the engine starter motor had
failed so all we could do was drift. At least we have kept sailing this

I decided to check our Azores flag and remembered that the Portuguese one
was badly faded so I attacked it with red, green and black marker pens!
When I made the courtesy flag I printed the ‘device’ on iron on transfer
paper as there was no way I could piece it together. The device is a shield
within a circle of intertwining bands, complicated and so badly faded you
couldn’t even tell that the background colours were half red, half green.
It looks a lot better now and nobody will be able to see the finer details
when it is run up to the first spreaders. The second job took rather longer
like most of Monday as well. In Horta there is a tradition of doing a wall
painting to celebrate your boat’s arrival. Our painting will be a replica
of the battle flag I made; then I remembered that it was in the mending box.
The fly, the opposite end of a flag from the hoist which has the top and
bottom fixings on a webbing edge, had become badly shredded. In fact the
whole flag is suffering UV damage however I just set about replacing the
fly. It was not a simple job as it included a large five pointed star which
had to be appliqued on both sides plus four of the five stars making up the
Southern Cross. To make matters a little more challenging, I had to find an
alternative blue fabric for the body. When we get wi-fi in a few days I’ll
post some pictures so show what was needed.

The best part of the day was when a large school of dolphins came to play
with us. We first spotted them rushing towards us, leaping clear out of the
water. They spent a long time swimming alongside us, diving across our bow,
zig-zagging back and forth and generally enjoying themselves. It was very
calm and we both went on deck and took video footage. They stayed around
for quite a while making a lovely interlude in the day. After their visit
it was time the galley slave returned to her duties.

Sunday evening’s dinner was liver and bacon with fried onions with potatoes
and fresh veg followed by a chocolate pudding mix.


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