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Rush - Day 14- Snigglefest, day 2 and a half..

‘Sniggling’ is what Figaro sailors (or maybe just Alan) use to term how they make progress sneaking every little puff of breeze that they can when there is next to zero wind. We’ve been doing that for nearly 3 days. It means constantly helming the boat, trimming and changing the sails, pointing in every random direction where a puff of breeze will send you as long as it’s not completely the wrong way. It also means being very patient and equally frustrated. When the sails flap completely and the rig bangs around it also sometimes means dropping sails so we minimise shock loads through the rig caused by sloppy seas. Then the next puff comes and we put them back up again. We are in zero gradient breeze and have had light little puffs from 2-5knots come from all sorts of directions, that’s meant every sail and every point of sail many times over. Somehow we’ve persisted and slowly sneaked roughly 50 miles a day in the right direction. It’s a waiting game in some ways but by working hard we have made some progress we otherwise wouldn’t have made. We have also done a lifetimes worth of spinnaker hoists/changes/drops. We’ve nearly cracked the 650 mile barrrier and when that breeze does come Rush will make light work of the last miles but it does mean probably more like 18 days overall crossing time. Forecast (not that’s it’s been right so far) is light wind coming tomorrow evening and slowly building and establishing to around 10 knots from the East (or so they say).

As we’ve said before Rush doesn’t have a large fuel capacity, including two extra cans we have around 30-35 hours. We therefore feel that we’d rather reserve that fuel for if it’s needed in case of emergency. The reason she’s not blessed in the fuel department is because fundamentally she’s a relatively lightweight performance cruising boat that can sail at motoring speed in around 6 knots of wind and to get that performance the designer and builder have to think of saving weight where they can. Boats are like pairs of shoes, no one pair is good for everything and Rush is most certainly a sailing boat at heart. We had a chat with all the crew and everyone wants to get there with zero engine hours despite some frustrating times. We’re not in this to race, never were, our challenge is to do the whole thing sailing and to have fun. As we made good progress in the first half of the rally and got halfway in a week we’ll also still arrive with enough of a safety net of provisions. We stocked up for 18 days before having to hit the dried and tinned food so looking in OK shape for that.

It’s hot now, super hot and we are really grateful (thanks to Martin and Amanda’s clever design) for Rush’s cockpit Bimini cover. Despite this I’ve managed to burn my head due to the other days over enthusiasm with too lower grade on the hair clippers so it’s hat time on the good ship. The fans are working flat out below decks and the duvets are long gone although now we have no idea where to store them. Under the bunks is a no go as they are stuffed full of foam which is extra buoyancy the builder puts in as a safety feature.

We’ve just put gas bottle number 3 on which comes as a surprise to all of us. We carry 3 bottles and they have averaged 6 days with all the cooking etc for 6 people. It should be fine but as a precaution against running out we’ve decided not to cook meals that require the oven as that gobbles it, no toast as that also gobbles it and to be mindful of only boiling the exact amount of water we need in the kettle. We had estimated 2 bottles would easily cover the crossing based on what we normally use as a family plus 30% or so, looks like we should have bought a 4th...

We are back fishing but so far no fish today, we are going so slow and the sea is so glassy that they can probably see the line perfectly, if we catch one it won’t be the smartest fish in the ocean.

Alan has decided to upgrade our steering wheel centre point markings from the smart yellow tape to some fancy black dyneema turks heads. Summer has lent him her knots app on her tablet and he’s made a good job of the starboard steering wheel, one down, one to go. He’s doing this whilst we are trying to drive the boat at 2 knots which is quite amusing watching him chasing it left and right!

The nippers are doing really well. There was some cabin fever before mid-way but now they seem really happy and are pumped to achieve getting across and be able to jump in the Caribbean Sea and see their friends from the other boats. We’ve had some messages from Kaizen and Our Peace so know they are both doing well and fishing the Atlantic dry. If only we had a freezer.....

So the big question of the day is will we be making better progress this time tomorrow?


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