Thanks for comments- and still sailing!

Published on 13 March 2024 at 16:32

Thanks to everyone for all your messages - we love getting them, it's lovely to hear from everyone (even when I have to go online to check that I understand what words like vicariously mean!). 


We haven't been able to find a way to reply to messages individually, so really sorry we haven't replied to any of them, but it is really heartwarming to hear from everyone, especially at the slightly tougher moments, so please keep those messages coming, they really are appreciated :-)


And thanks for info about the space junk Bob - I'm certain that is what we saw, a big rectangular shape falling from the sky. I have no idea how far behind us it was, but it was directly behind, on the route we had followed so not that far away. Glad those boys at NASA know exactly where they're putting their junk and took care to miss us!


We continue to progress faster than expected, averaging almost 200 miles a day over the ground. Really odd feeling for the first few days, feeling that we'd made great ground each day, but then looking at a chart of the Pacific and seeing how little progress we had made across, really brought it home how far this crossing is. But we've been going almost a week now, and progress is finally significant on the chart - we're over a third of the way there :-)


The view is pretty much the same all day every day - there's still not much to see except sea. We did have a pod of dolphins with us just after dark a couple of nights ago and again tonight - no moon so pitch black but you could see their shapes underwater, and the trails they left, all glowing in the phosphorescence, really magical. But during the day we haven't seen much except flying fish (and the occasional squid on the deck!). We had a whole shoal of flying fish hit the main sail at one point, and Tom & Jayne had one fly through the window into their shower. Lovely! And we've caught a couple of decent fish - yellow fin tuna for supper a couple of days ago, and dorado last night.


The sea still isn't doing what it is supposed to. The winds are consistent the whole time, keeping us moving well - around 15-20 knots, steady from the south/south east so at about 90 degrees to us, rather than behind us, so we're constantly heeled over. But the seas are choppy with waves coming the same direction, sideways on to us, so we roll a lot, it's a bumpy ride! Certainly more of an endurance test than Amanda had been promised!! 


It's actually really nice sailing during the day, flying along at 8-9 knots through the water (plus a knot of current), in bright blue skies with really steady winds. But really not so nice when you go below. Amanda has already described the difficulties doing anything practical, from cooking to showering to going to the loo, or even just moving around the boat. 


But sleeping is equally difficult. It's very disturbed anyway as we each have to get up for a shift at least once, sometimes twice during the night. But even once you get into bed sleep is very difficult, as you get bounced up and down and thrown around, and rolled to one side. I even had a dream last night about being in a pub that was bouncing, making it very difficult to get my beer to my mouth!!


We sleep at the bow which is probably the bounciest bit of the boat - but at least there is a cushioned wall at the side of the berth that keeps me in - Tom fell out of his berth in the aft cabin last night!!


Touch wood we haven't been having as many ongoing maintenance issues as we did at the beginning of the trip - but the relentless pressure inevitably creates issues on the boat too. Yesterday the line that holds up the lazy jacks and sail bag chafed through, so the sail bag dropped onto the screen with a big bang. Tom had to go up the mast to repair (rather him than me!). He is used to doing that, but not whilst sailing and bouncing as much as we are.


And today we had a bigger issue. Our route took us into some adverse currents (there are a couple of big eddy's in this area of the Pacific) so we opted to change course to the north to sail around them - which meant we were sailing downwind for 60 miles or so, so we could set our big orange kite which stabilises the boat and keeps speed up when going downwind. But when setting the sail we got it wrong and blew the sail out completely - tore the fixing point for the sheet out and ripped the reinforcing seams off the side and bottom of the sail. Quite a dramatic moment!


I think the sail shoild be repairable but not until we can find a sailmaker, so our dreams of finishing this leg as a nice peaceful downwind sail under our orange kite are not to be!


So we're just sailing with white sails - we were goose winged all day, with main out one side and genoa on a spinnaker pole the other. At least it was a slightly flatter calmer day on board! It's currently the middle of the night, we've just gybed back onto our correct course across the wind, back to making really good speed but bouncing and rolling again!


I don't seem to have been selling things too well in this blog, and this leg is more of an endurance test than I expected. But I'm still loving it, and Amanda is handling it really well too! 


And we've got the Marquesas Islands then the Tuamotos to look forward to before we get to the Society Islands - we've started to look forward to those and they sound amazing!


Keep those comments coming:-)


PS Mark - Amanda says thanks for the offer, if it's not too much trouble a story would be lovely, she's looking forward to the first chapter!!

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3 months ago

You think you have it hard, it's being raining ever since you left and as a consequence I got slightly muddy going for my morning coffee today.

3 months ago

Great to see you blogs still coming through and Amanda’s illustrations were excellent. Looking forward to your book being published when you return. Geoff at Pembs sailing would be proud to see your chart work although would be marking you down on lack of information🤣. As Bob says life is tough here in the UK. We get very wet getting to the pub and sometimes miss our mouths, usually because we’re trying to keep up drinking with Des. Here’s to continued good progress on your trip. Craig

3 months ago

I trust you have you been using the sextant to plot those positions!

Sarah Barnes
3 months ago

Hiya, well the orange sail incident sounds a bit dramatic, fingers crossed for a sailmaker! It sounds like a dangerous place to be with objects falling out of the sky and sail bags landing on the deck! You have much to look forward to! Life continues here, I’m back at the gym and have been able to cycle to and from just lately, did get caught in a very wet shower on the way back this morning! Des is looking forward to the sailing season starting, although Fionnuala isn’t able to sail all the events, she does have to work! Actually, it’s just been confirmed that she’ll be going to the Olympics so she’s very excited about that, as are we! I’ve still not managed to book myself onto that falconry course I’d like to do, they run now every month throughout the year so perhaps later in the year! Des and Craig went out for a big bike ride yesterday, they did about 60km! My sister Anna and her husband Chic are touring Columbia at the moment and they have a final stopping point in Santa Marta which of course made me think of you both. Now Bill, the dream about not being able to get your beer into your mouth… I’m sure that’s something I’ve witness in reality on more than one occasion!! Spring is starting to show it’s colours here, although it’s still very wet… our lawn is sodden! Of course we have a little Easter trip to Belmont coming up, I will miss hearing you complain about the late arrival of the drey! Now then, I’ll stop prattling on, continue to enjoy your adventures, lots of love xx

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