Tuesday 4 September 2012

2nd Leg day 20: Spit'n Polish Second Round

 Today is the twentieth day of our second leg of the voyage from Cape Town, South Africa to Fort Lauderdale. USA. We have covered 2600 nautical miles from St Helena island, making up a total of 4300 miles since leaving Cape Town. The distance remaining on this voyage is just over 2500 miles. Our position at the time of writing is 01º 22.2' N 45º 11.07' W, to be precise. Somewhere just off the Amazon river delta.

We shall be putting into the Moorings base at St Maarten for some necessary repairs, servicings and supplies, then on to Fort Lauderdale. Repairs and inspections especially for the autohelm.

The weather today is exquisite. Calm seas and a gentle breeze in the Guyana current, sweeping us along at 7.5 knots. We had to run the motor earlier this morning to charge the batteries. This is an indication of the good sailing weather.

So we performed some ship's husbandry chores. This is a fancy term for removing rust from the stainless steel parts on the outside, using a toothbrush, rag and some industrial buffing compound. We also washed the guard rails with soapy dishwasher water to get rid of the crystallised salt. The salt crystals make a thick layer that eventually needs industrial methods to remove if left to grow.

This work, of course, did not go without some sarcastic remarks from the skipper in true Captain Bligh style. Just to confirm the pecking order on board. After which he grabbed a broom and did his own thing on the decks, washing away salt deposits. Luckily we had reasonable weather so far on this voyage and the salt deposits and rust stains are quite small and easy to remove. A fruitful way to spend the morning. This buys some free time in port, so it counts as legal tender on board. The work also entails clearing of debts related to the UNO League and other bets. A great source of mirth in the morning.

Today is also our first full day in the northern hemisphere. The navigation calculations changed and different tables need to be perused now. I got good sun sights today, as the horizon was nicely defined as a result of the flat sea. I needed a decent gap in the light clouds to sidestep the distortion caused by these clouds. I got this gap after lunch when the clouds consolidated into fair weather cumulus, allowing me a decent set of sights. For a change the sun sights bracketed the calculated dead reckoning position. The two sun sights were also very close together, giving me a very good fix. This shows the influence of a bucking boat on the taking of sextant sights. Today the boat did not buck and the horizon was well defined.

All of us are looking forward to the break in St Maarten. You can tell by the lines of conversation. Especially the routes to the best or closest or largest hamburgers on the island. As for me, I shall have a nice fish and chips and then a beer. Perhaps in the reverse order. After that I shall decide on what to do next. I have a wagon load of blog posts to upload. Hopefully we shall have a very fast and solid internet connection.

Authored by Johan Zietsman
Last updated on 2012-12-12

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