Exody - May 11th: New Moon, Procession, Doldrums
It is nearly midnight and for the second night in a row the bright new moon is setting in the west under a clear starlit sky. Tonight I can see the lights of three yachts heading north, last night there was a procession of five ARC yachts all appearing evenly spaced. It must be something about the psychology of a heading of 000 True, or the minuteness of Bermuda as a target that keeps us all so close to the same track! It has not happened anywhere else so consistently on our rally travels.
Exody was creaming along at around 7 knots on a close to beam reach with a 12- 14 knot trade wind through the night, the wind easing as another sunny day dawned, earlier yet again than the day before - I detected first light not long after four in the morning. Downloading the position report, there were six ARC boats so closely spaced on my graph paper plot (1mm = 1 nautical mile) I could barely fit the names in. All six sets of sails could be seen and identified as the sun came up, the nearest being Ayama. Our AIS (Automatic Identification System) has stopped receiving properly hence the more analogue approach!
By late morning we were in the doldrums with the wind dwindled to under five knots and boat speed to three. For the last 12 hours we have motored across a completely flat sea, sometimes glassy or oily calm. We came across a yellow weather buoy completely unlit and uncharted. It seemed to be designed with with kind of fenders around it perhaps expecting to survive a passing vessel. One our size would definitely come off worse so thankful for daylight and that we saw it!! At noon our day's run was 151 with 261 to go. Now at midnight, on the same latitude as Daytona in Florida to the west and the north tip of Lanzarote to the east, we have 181 miles to run. With no material wind forecast, we expect to motor the rest of the way arriving St George's early Friday morning.
A level boat and open hatches meant a day for jobs on board. I have been sorting the forecabin, fixing some minor electrical stuff and plotting our route up the east coast of USA and Canada. Marian has been drafting an article on crew 'matters' and communicating with our girls. By way of sharp comparison - back in May 1982 in exactly the same area, we had heaved to our nine metre sloop, hoisted a hurricane lamp and gone to sleep for the night whilst a blustery front passed through.