Merlyn of Poole - Sad to leave Australia, but excited to be on our way to Bali
‘The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat’After three weeks of ‘land-lubbing’, here we are again, back in our time-honoured, at-sea routine. It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to take the start to the leg with all the other boats, and we really enjoyed leaving in convoy. There was a group of schoolchildren waiting on the quay to wave us off, and it was a moving experience to see them all waving wildly as we sailed away, on an unexpected beat, weaving in and out of each other as we tacked to and fro across the harbour. Monday was very hectic. We didn’t get to bed until the small hours, and we had to make an early start to ensure that we were ready to be third boat into the marina lock, at just after seven am on Tuesday. It takes longer than you might. read more...
Merlyn of Poole - Tuesday, 8th April -14° 31'S; 148° 46'W'
‘I am very bananas’ (Wendy Cope) Today we have had a debate about watches. I’m for the four-hour watches at night, with two dog watches either side. That one four-hour sleep really does it for me. The skipper prefers four three-hour watches – he finds four hours too long to be up at night. To me it feels as if I’m up and down all night if I only get three hours sleep at a time. On the four-hour system I have been frisking about, full of the joys of spring, whereas the skipper has been sleepy and a little on the grumpy side. Now it’s me who’s yawning all the time, while the skipper is back to his usual bouncy self. How do we resolve this? Perhaps one night of three-hour watches, followed by night of the four-hour pattern?We have been busy with bananas – with varying degrees of success.. read more...
Merlyn of Poole - Monday, 7th April - 11° 48'S; 145° 22'W
Sea legs, naps and bananas!Yesterday was mixed in terms of wind and speed. The wind dropped in the morning, and we had speeds as low as ten or eleven knots. After whisking along with twenty to twenty-five knots, that felt dead slow. It also pushed our arrival in Tahiti to Thursday, rather than Wednesday, as originally expected. We debated what to do, as this is a situation in which we would normally consider putting up coloured sails: the cruising chute, or the rather daunting parasailor. The skipper is not convinced that we can manage these more high-maintenance numbers between the two of us – watch this space!The grib files have been bafflingly off-beam on this trip. Yesterday, though, the wind seemed pretty much what was on the chart. There was also a suggestion that it would become. read more...
Merlyn of Poole - Friday, 4th April - 09° 18'S; 140° 29'W
We’re now on our way to Tahiti, after two busy days of preparation. Thursday began with a visit to the fuel dock. These places are never easy, and there is always a risk of being blown onto a – usually – concrete quay. We knew that this one would be exceptionally challenging, because of the swell in the bay. The procedure involved anchoring in about eighteen metres, and then reversing up to the fuel dock, so that the stern lines could be attached. We needed people on the dock to take the lines, and Ivan was duly dropped onshore by dinghy. Lorenzo stayed below in the dinghy, to help with passing lines, etc. We also had Jonathan, from ‘Chez Nous’ available in his dinghy, just in case anything went wrong. I was in charge of the anchor and, from time to time, the helm. The trickiest part of. read more...
Merlyn of Poole - Seven days and counting!
Merlyn has been limbering up in the Solent, enjoying the sunny weather, as well as some good breezes. We are still aiming to slip our lines on Saturday, 13th, heading for Roscoff as our first stop. Next stop will be La Rochelle, followed by northern Spain and Portugal. We're then heading across to Madeira, before we finally make landfall in Gran Canaria.Our crew - other than the two of us - are Mike, Jonathan's old university friend and sailing guru, and Mike's son Josh, who has just passed his engineering degree with flying colours. We couldn't be in better company! A last-minute battery panic hit us hard in the wallet yesterday, but we are now the very happy owners of six new batteries, which should stand us in good stead for both the Atlantic and World ARC.We have been very much. read more...