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Starblazer - 13/11/2016 – We have neighbours.

The ocean is a mighty large space and, though 35 boats are heading towards
the same destination, the fleet is spread over a wide area. The first night
at sea we could see the lights of several rally boats, however sightings for
most of the time have been few and far between. We have spotted the odd
non-rally boat but they have not stayed close. At about this time yesterday
morning the AIS alarm went off for Windarra, a 13 metre sloop. At the time
it was 3 miles ahead, slowly crossing our path. Today they are 10 miles
away, on the port quarter (rear near side in carspeak for right hand drive
vehicles). Yarona, another British owned Hallberg Rassy, also in the rally,
came across our bow about 3 hours ago and are now 2.5 miles away on our port

Yesterday was rather frustrating, the predicted wind arrived rather late in
the day. We motored until about 1800 when a useful breeze sprung up and we
started sailing at 6.5 to 7 knots. We have decided that we want to arrive
late afternoon on Monday, if we had continued to sail so well all the way
the arrival time was coming forward rather nicely. Soon after 0300 the wind
dropped to 4 knots, wandered around the compass and didn’t come back. We
are motoring again. On the plus side, the batteries are well charged, we
made about 50 litres of water and we don’t feel guilty about motoring! Our
day’s run to noon was 135.8, we should have started the engine sooner. As I
write this we have 195 nM to go.

The list of jobs to do before we leave Nanny Cay on Tortola has increased
but I’ll leave the definitive list until we arrive, just in case something
else needs attention. I can report one breakdown John successfully repaired
on passage. Our mainsail has 4 full length battens going from the luff
(forward edge attached to the mast) to the leach (back edge) which help the
sail keep a good shape. On the mast there are a number of cars, each batten
pocket has a box with a top hat shaped peg which slots into a car and is
held in place with a long U shaped pin. Between the battens there are pegs
held on the sail by tape. The pins get broken legs and have proved
impossible to source so John has made some from stainless steel welding rod
the correct diameter. Unfortunately the series of kinks which keep the pins
in place is hard to replicate. When a pin lifts the peg comes out, not
drastic in itself, we keep sailing without noticing. That was true until we
found the peg bit had unscrewed itself from the batten box and landed on the
deck. Then a second one arrived in the same place. In one of the periods
of no wind and flat seas John dropped the sail, screwed the pegs back in,
plugged the pegs into the cars, pushed the pins firmly into place then
re-hoisted the sail. That is one job less to do in Tortola. We think the
pegs rattled loose when the sail was pulled in tight with just a little
apparent wind from behind.

Dinner on Saturday was pan-fried Flounder seasoned with lemon pepper and
garlic granules with potatoes and an avocado, tomato and onion salsa,
followed by yogurt with banana slices.


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