Mischief - Log Day 18: Slow news day; Squalls!
7 December 2017 0810 Position 14 degs 32.2'N 052 degs 46'W
The expected squalls last night failed to materialise, although it was as black as a coal celler in a black-out last night until the moon made an appearance at 2230, so it would have been difficult to spot them coming admittedly. Indeed for most of the rest of the night it was as clear as a bell. So we went through the night at 4-6 knots although in the right direction, just feels slow! Everyone is getting a little impatient to reach our destination especially as we are promised wind and it goes elsewhere, certainly not here. So come first light we put the spinnaker back up with a perfect hoist and immediately put on a knot of speed, and the repair of yesterday is holding well.
Neal made us some scrambled eggs for breakfast and used 14 eggs in the process. Wendy said she didn't ant any so the four of us then ate the equivalent of 3 1/2 eggs each.....oh dear for later! Meanwhile I made some wholemeal bread and I must say these bread mix packs are first class, the bread is lovely and gives you quite a work out in the making! Mind you, I was held up at Gatwick airport on the way out to Las Palmas with 2 kg of white powder in my back-pack and checked over for explosives/drugs etc.
Mid-morning we decided to have another look at the Code 0 foresail just to see if we could effect a repair because it may be that in the closing stages of this passage it may be useful. So we traped to the bow sail locker and retrieved the sail, brought it back into the cockpit and proceeded to unravel the thing, being stowed on a roller. We had sail everywhere down below going right forward into Wendy's domain just to get to the bottom panel that was at issue. She was not best pleased to have her home turned into a sail loft. However, the tears in the bottom panel are such that we simply don't have enough rip-stop to mend it temporarily so the sail is officially out of action for the duration. So Dave got out the Sat-phone and called up the sailmaker in Rodney Bay marina, a chap named 'Kenny'. He was asked if he could do repairs on complex laminate sails and he came back with, "Hey Man, I can repair everything", in a deep and broad Caribbean accent; "See you Monday, and you take care out there, Man!" I have met Kenny before and he is good to his word; it was good to hear his voice and that local lilt - we are getting closer!
The weather forecast this morning is suggesting that we have these lighter winds all day today (yesterday they were suggesting more wind today continuing until St Lucia!) with more wind this evening and building throughout the night. We have already resolved therefore to drop the spinnaker around dinner time and go through the night with a poled out genoa again, all we can do without the Code 0. This wind is due to remain at 18-21 knots right through to Saturday afternoon when it is due to drop again substantially and remain light for the following few days. This means that if it is correct we should be in for some fast sailing getting into Rodney Bay arriving just before the wind drops off and the pub shuts on Saturday evening; unfortunately for slower boats behind us they are going to be stuck in the light stuff again for days.
The paper chart is showing the West Atlantic ODAS Racon buoy right in our path and indeed we passed within 200 metres of it whereas it ought to have been two miles to the South, so it came as a bit of a surprise to see it so close. Somebody by the look of it has had an even nastier surprise - the buoy is all bent and twisted as obviously it's been hit by something!
It has been an altogether slow news day as we creep closer to our destination. There are occasional squalls on the radar screen which you can see coming in our direction but have mainly stayed away. We were planning to drop the spinnaker at last light today but given a particular threatening squall off the starboard quarter we elected to drop it early - the squall passed us by again but it was not worth the risk. As it happens we are presently sat right in such a squall and the rain is hammering down with Dave on deck on his own getting soaked - I'm in here writing this, dry!
So the forecast is for more wind over night but we have been promised this before. We prepare for the night more in hope than expectation!