We are now in shallower water, sailing on the 1000m contour off the coast of Brazil. Our estimate from prevailing conditions is to cross the equator in two-odd days' time.
The seas are quite rough, but luckily the swells are only three metres high. But we have a bumpy ride, intermittently slipping, sliding and surfing down the swells at fifteen to sixteen knots. With the fair wind and current helping us, we did 191 nautical miles in the last twenty-four hours. A record for this voyage.
The one hour time change did help a little, though. We are now at just over 38º west, having crossed the time zone limit of 37.5º W longitude during the last day. It was my turn to take the knock on the extra hour. Therefore my shift started at 06h00 and went through to 10h00, with the extra hour worked in as the clock changes. You start the watch on the previous time zone time, then finish the watch on the new time zone time.
If this was a cruise we could say we were going nowhere slowly in time, I guess!
I had the misfortune of getting a dunking of my cabin as a result of not closing the aft hatch properly. To the great mirth of my shipmates. The rough sea sometimes splashes over the stern and some of this splash went through the open hatch, of course. Thankfully I was not in my bed, as I would have had a rude awakening.
The wet mess was quickly cleared and mopped up and the hatch properly closed this time. As if this was not enough, I shortly thereafter had to rescue my bed sheet off the lee rail just before it went overboard and lost forever. It blew off the washing line, clothes-pegs and all. Talk of woes today!
The lessons: A.) Close hatches properly
B.) A fitted sheet catches the wind like a spinnaker. It is not flat.
But I am certain these things will recur in some of my dear readers' lives, as we all mostly learn but from our own experience.
My navigation took a bit of a knock today as a result of the bumpy seas and sharp swells. Although the swells are not really that high in sailing terms, they pose some hindrance for taking accurate sun sights. You have to judge when you are looking at the back of a swell or at the distant horizon. This judgement may introduce errors of up to half a degree if you are not careful.
Today was no exception and one could discern the effect of the bouncy swell on the sights by comparing the variation between the sights on consecutive days. Quite obvious, so another reason to take the utmost pains to ensure a good sun sight. Here an assistant to jot down times and angles helps, as I have to operate the sextant as well as keep the notebook under control in the breeze. And somehow wedge myself into a position not to fall off the boat.
On a cooking note, it is interesting to observe the change in attitude to the evening meals as the provisions diminish. We are now planning meals two to three days ahead in order to prevent repetition. Also to book ingredients ahead of time. No use to plan a meal if there won't be sufficient ingredients to prepare it.
I am watching this planning with a beady eye, as this is the part of the voyage where real creativity enters the stage. To date we are still planning to make real hamburgers, complete with home baked rolls. Even if the rolls are more like pita bread. They still count as fresh rolls. These to enjoy as a treat when we cross the equator. Or some such occasion.
It is important to us to have special occasions to celebrate on board.
Just like it is important to celebrate special occasions at home.
It keeps the loved ones, family or friends together.
Authored by Johan Zietsman
Last updated on 2013-10-24