Air Power - Log day 12

Day 12-Nov 16th.

Not all days transmitting HF signals through the ionosphere are created equal. This morning we connected with the station in Virginia Beach immediately. Unfortunately, I made contact about 5 minutes before the morning position report was created. After waiting 10 or 15 minutes, I was never able to make a connection again. This most likely had to do with sun spots, or some other solar anomaly invented just to make these radios interesting. So, we have no idea, if any other boats are still out here with us. We do know there is at least one. We heard them flagging a passing tanker to see if they had any diesel to spare. What few vessels are still out, are most likely sitting on fuel tanks holding nothing but fumes. But then, these are sailboats. Some boats don't have engines. Some go out without any electronic navigational equipment, or at least they're not used. Take for example our friend, Donna Lange. She was the keynote speaker for the Seven Seas Cruising Association's 2017 GAM. It was a pleasure to host her and Bob aboard our boat for their stay.

Donna had recently circled the globe solo, for her second time. A grandmother of 11, she took her small engineless sailboat around the Southern Capes, in something like 230 days. (I'd provide more detail, but I don't have access to the internet) I recommend googling her story, just search her name and "twice around". As part of this feat, she navigated with only a sextant. Clearly, she didn't have to worry about running out of gas (the diesel kind), nor dealing with electronic charts that decide to stop working in the middle of the night.

At 150 or so miles from Tortola, this is the kind of isolation we enjoy. Just like Kevin Costner's character in "Water World", we're cruising around on this catamaran, with an orchid and some kind of citrus tree, growing out of Cool Whip container. What's different is, we have plenty of water on board, so we go to the bathroom, in the bathroom. Some day that tree will provide us with sustenance for our our Caipirinha(s). I can't remember what kind of seed I stuck in there. I hope to God it's a lime tree. An orange just won't work.

So, back to our own fuel management crisis. When we left Woodbridge, Va, it was during a miserable cold front. The winds were blowing very hard against us, so we knew we were going to be motoring the whole time. We had a schedule to keep. We made a note of the rpm and the engine hours for the 160 mile trip. So we have a pretty good idea of the burn rate. But our gas gauges for both tanks have us deep in the reserve area. We had brought along an additional 25+ gallons just incase. We poured 20 of it into both tanks, then run 1 at a time. We are still milking it along. Keep the sails up, and run the minimum amount of rpms to keep the boat moving in the right direction. Based on our calculations, the fuel gauges just don't make sense. I remember when we were Sea Scouts, we didn't have fuel gauges on the WWII 63ft AVR "Farallon". Fuel was always measured with a long stick with graduated marks. Jill taped some wood chop sticks to one of her knitting apparatus, and we were able to dip the tanks. We have plenty of fuel. It's time to turn up the rpms.

Very little wind, but still off the nose--only a little less than 150 miles to go.

That is all news from Air Power for today.--Dave & Jill