Friday, December 19, 2008

500 Miles to Go!

December 19, 2008 2:51 AM
coordinates 14 32.314N,052 22.933W

Being able to click off another hundred miles each day is the best Advent calendar we could ask for. It is extremely slow going right now but any progress is good progress.

Day 16 - Another day of bright blue skies we decided to take advantage of it and send Tristan up the mast. Matthew helped tail lines and also managed to do a bit of photo journaling of the event. We had a leader line threaded through the mast previously in case we ever needed to run another halyard. We put him in his harness, strapped him tightly to the front roller furling and hoisted him away. It was quite a task at hand as the boat with no sails up now, pitches to and fro with greater force
when there's nothing to stabilize it against the swell. In addition, he had to pull the line out, wrap it around his arm and cut the line. What's that old saying about not running with scissors, what decent mother would send her child up 52 feet into the air with scissors. Mission accomplished with amazing strength and fortitude, alas the halyard is not run to fit our needs for the head sail or spinnaker. In the process though, we do discover that the genoa halyard, since not in use do to the
torn sail, will fit the bill. We have been flying the spinnaker successfully ever since with little to no chaffing. We pull it down every 5 hours to assess it's strength and hoist it right back up again. We are like a finely tuned Indi pit crew at this point in our routine. At night we motored due to the unpredictable winds and squalls so the water tanks are full and the batteries are topped off.

Day 17 - Under grey skies we hoist the spinnaker again at sunrise and fly it until sunset. We had a consistent 20 knots of wind and made great time. Again in the evenings, the winds drop too much to sail with the main and staysail but too unpredictable for the spinnaker, motor on. After one quick wet squall and the moon had broken through the clouds, Bruce woke us up to show us something we had never seen before - a moon rainbow. Complete half circle across the horizon ahead of us was a shining
white moonbow.

Day 18 - Sunny skies and VERY light winds. 5-10 knots out of the E-SE and we are making speeds of 3-4 knots accordingly. It is forecasted to continue this way for the next 24-48 hours. We have only 4 days worth of fuel left at least 6 left to get there at this pace, so we are trying to avoid starting the motor at all costs. The seas are nice and calm with the lack of wind and not a squall in sight. So we are taking our chances and flying the spinnaker all night. Our course is a little off at
this point and it looks like we're heading for Barbados rather than Martinique on the charts. When the winds fill back in on Monday, we'll get back on track then.

We have officially passed the mark as well for the longest time we've spent out on the water. It took us 18 days to cross the Pacific. We still feel very lucky to have only 5 or 6 days left to go out here. We know quite a few people who spent the better part of a week bobbing around. So let's sail on!

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