Monday 17 September 2012

3rd Leg Day 11: Pumpkin Fritters And A Storm

Yesterday we bent to our cleaning tasks. The boat now looks like a new boat again. Even the mooring lines are clean.

We were able to motor at a decent speed after we filled the tanks with the additional diesel. The storm clouds were gathering at dusk and they built up steam during the night.

Then, during the 03h00 to 06h00, the storm blast came. Much like the one of the Ancient Mariner. The wind was blowing twenty two knots, gusting twenty five. The boat was going in all sorts of directions until we got the motor revs up and got control back. We were in a situation of wind over current, where one gets big choppy waves and the boat bounces around, and you with it, in a most ungentlemanly manner. After getting the revs up we were making headway at about one and a half knots. Scary at times, one would say. We were rather hoping for a nice steady wind that would allow us to have a sliver of the genoa out and sailing along merrily riding out the storm.

The storm lasted for about an hour or so. Much like the highveld thunderstorms in and around the Witwatersrand area of South Africa. The driven rain was cold enough for me to reach for my rain jacket. But, alas, this was not to be. The zipper has a crust of salt on it and needs some fresh water treatment to work properly again.

So there I stood outside, the saloon door closed against the driven rain and me hanging on to anything that I could find. I was standing in the most sheltered part of the aft deck, which is not really sheltered. You get rained on multiple times. The first time is the driven rain. The other times are from various sources off the bimini top as the boat rolls and pitches, pouring the collected rain water down various parts of your upper anatomy, not least your armpits, because you are holding on to something higher than your shoulders. Another character building exercise, forsooth. You need to keep your cool, take a deep breath and count to ten. Then do it again. Then remember that this is what you chose as the idyllic life style of sailing. Otherwise your bad language may just put you in some negative mood and then all the enjoyment is out of the experience. Heaven forbid!

This all came to a logical end and at 06h00 I was relieved by Renier, who then came on duty. By that time the storm had subsided and it was getting light, a balmy morning after the storm. I dived into my bunk and slept a solid two and a half hours, wet swimming trunks and all.

We basically completed the cleaning that we could sensibly do during the rest of the morning, leaving us with some spare time in the afternoon. The distance remaining on this voyage amounts to less than 150 nautical miles, which we should complete during the night. This puts our arrival at early Saturday morning, giving us a nice long rest and some recreational time before handover on Monday. There is also the odd bit of cleaning and polishing that needs to be done while alongside. Too tricky or dangerous at sea. We don't want anyone to fall overboard this far into the voyage.

The wind came up nicely on the beam and we could hoist the mainsail. This got us sailing along at around eight knots on a flat sea. The idyllic sailing conditions that you dream of. And wish for during the times of bad weather. Haven't I heard this before?

As the last of the last legs food, I made pumpkin fritters for lunch.

Butternut Fritters

We had half a butternut, sugar and some self raising flour left. And of course, some salt. I peeled the butternut and cut it into thin slices to allow fast cooking. The thinner something is, the faster it cooks. Our oil had run out, but we still had two or three blocks (500g/ 1 lb) of butter left, so I popped half of one into the wok for frying the fritters.


Half a butternut

1 cup sugar

small stick cinnamon bark

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups self raisning flour

oil for frying


Cook the butternut in a little water along with the cinnamon stick. Mash the lot when done. Remove the cinnamon bark first. Allow it to cool to a level where you can handle it. Add the sugar and salt and mix thoroughly. Keep on mixing while adding the self raising flour a little at a time. Continue until you have a dough, not a batter.

Scoop out a dessert spoon ful of the dough at a time and put into the oil. Fry until the fritter is nice and golden, then remove and drain on a paper towel.

A word of warning: Be careful when using oil in a pot on board, especially when the boat is bouncing a bit. Hot oil causes severe burns for which you may not have the proper treatment on board.

The other caveat is that you may burn your tongue if you don't let the fritters cool down properly before digging in...

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

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