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Friday 13th

Posted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 4:42 pm
by Silkie
Fairwinds' Position Report 12.00 UTC 13th July 2007

40deg 00.0'N 018deg 10.2'W

Noon - Noon Run 113nm

Distance from Praia da Vitoria 435nm

Distance to Camarinas 442nm

We had a fantastic downwind sail goosewinged yesterday afternoon (latterly with both sails reefed) but we took the pole and main down about four o'clock when the wind (temporarily as it turned out) gusted up to 25 knots.

After a few slower hours under genoa wishing we had left the main and pole up a bit longer the wind we had been expecting arrived, and by midnight we were surfing at up to nine knots. The skipper was soaked by a rogue wave that came aboard uninvited, and a sizeable percentage of genoa the was subsequently rolled away. A mad downhill sleigh ride in building seas continued through the night, with neither of us getting much sleep as the motion was pretty violent. At dawn the wind was constantly over 25 knots with no sign of a reprieve. Then it began to rain, and the wind dropped and the seas calmed. The rain stopped, and we had thirty knots of wind again, then rain and calmer seas again, then more wind.

Suddenly at 0730 UT - instantly in fact - the wind switched from 25 knots SW to 25 knots NW and the sea went mad, turning into a witches cauldron of chaotically frothing peaks and breaking lumps. Going on deck looked like a dodgy proposition, so we waited half an hour for things to settle down while the blissfully unaware Navik sailed us South.

We seem to be out of range of Lady Ann, so no more second hand Herb for us - but his advice on this front was certainly sound - we would not have liked to have encountered it further North where it was quite a bit stronger. It may have taken us thirty miles or so out of our way, but we think i was worth it.

Since then we have had a light Northerly wind, and as I write this the sun has come out again. We have crossed 40 deg N and are on a direct track for Camarinas, although how and where we eventually close the Spanish coast remains to be decided nearer the time - we will have to avoid the Finisterre TSS for one thing. Looking at the latest GRIB we also need to plan to get in somewhere by Tuesday night as there may be NE winds developing off the Galician coast by then, becoming strong towards the end of the week.

Fairwinds out


Sounds like a lively 24 hours. :sailing:

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 5:10 pm
by Timbo
Fairwinds' Position Report 12.00 UTC 14th July 2007

40deg 51.5'N

015deg 37.0'W

Noon - Noon Run 130nm

Distance from Praia da Vitoria 565nm

Distance to WP SPAIN (42deg 32'.5N 009deg 34.0'W) 290nm

Distance to Camarinas 330nm (Via WP SPAIN)

Essentially we have motored for the last 24 hours . . . we could have
sailed last night as we had an unexpected 7-8 knots Southerly, but the game plan at this point was to race the arrival of the predicted Northerlies off Galicia, so speed was more important than diesel. By motor-sailing at just 2000rpm we managed to average nearly six knots for most of the night, which accounts for our best-ever non-noon run. This afternoon it looks like the Northerlies will be a day later arriving, so we could have sailed slowly and saved diesel. Tricky stuff, this passage planning on the hoof, juggling weather predictions and possible routing against time, speed and diesel reserves. We are currently motoring in a glassy calm at just 1600rpm and making 4.5 knots, which will do us until the predicted Westerlies arrive tonight.

Confession time - a funny thing happened on my nine to midnight watch last night. I was listening to episode 5 of THHGTTG - The Restaurant at the End of the Universe - on our MP3 player, and just as the universe was ending for the benefit of the diners the whole sky seemed to light up and flicker, as if some cataclysmic event was going on over the horizon. Shaken, I paused the entertainment and waited for the aftershock, then checked the horizon through 360 degrees for lightning. Nothing. I sat and thought for a while.
Had I imagined it, or had some sort of irregular cranial event? Eventually I dismissed it. A few minutes later I noticed that the engine panel lights
had gone off, and that although the rev counter was working the engine
temperature was not. I checked the voltmeter on the main switch panel - no charge. Of course I immediately thought the worst - no charge equals no charging for the satphone or PC, running without lights most of the time at night and conserving engine starts to a minimum. (I have been there before on another boat).

I phoned Steve Birch of VAGB - he supplied the engine and built the control panel. After going through a few possibilities he asked me to check the key position. It was vertical . . . . no power to the panel, charging circuit disconnected. Problem solved and no damage to the alternator - it was still charging happily when I turned the key to the normal run position. I thanked Steve profusely and sat staring into the night pondering how this could have happened - then it clicked. I had hooked my lifeline on the starboard side lee cloth line when I went below, and when I came back up it must have caught round the key. As I stood on the port cockpit locker listening to the apocalypse and scanning the horizon for ships the line must have caught round the key and caused an intermittent circuit resulting in all the flashing before finally the key came to rest in the off position. It was a very dark night, and with no visual frame of reference I had assumed the flashing lights were from outside the boat. Altogether a strange episode. Kathy relieved me and I slept like a log for my three hours off.

It rained from about midnight onwards - quite heavily as well, finally
stopping just before eleven this morning. One other incident occurred just before noon today - I spotted what looked like a rowing boat a couple of hundred metres off our beam. Shouting to Kathy to come and steer we
approached it cautiously. At first it looked like a container, but as we got
closer we saw that it was a large tank in a container-sized frame, floating
about one third submerged and encrusted with shellfish, so obviously it had been in the water a long time. It was a bit alarming, as it would easily
have sunk us if we had hit it.

So - we have made it through Friday the 13th at sea relatively unscathed, and now we conserve diesel and motor slowly waiting for wind. Time for some rest.

Fairwinds out

Confessions & postions

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:25 pm
by stevebirch2002
Hi Nick, glad to be of help but is was more like 01:00 when you phoned me and raised me from my slumber!! You owe me a wee dram....

Position Map:


Re : Strange Happenings

Posted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 11:29 pm
by ash
Timbo wrote: before finally the key came to rest in the off position.

That's twice now. A perspex cover on return to Balvicar, methinks.

a large tank in a container-sized frame, floating about one third submerged

Now that is scary, because it is totally out of your control.

stevebirch2002 wrote:Hi Nick, glad to be of help but is was more like 01:00 when you phoned me and raised me from my slumber!!

The trials and tribulations of being a VAGB Technical Officer. :jester:

Stay safe. Thinking of you both.


PS If only the tank had been full of diesel bigparty;

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:20 pm
by Timbo
Fairwinds position report noon 15th July

N 41 31.4
W13 23.8

Distance to WP SPAIN 181nm
Distance to Camarinas 220nm

Currently experiencing stronger winds (about 20ok) than expected and a rolly uncomfortable sea. More tomorrow.

Todays map..

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:39 pm
by stevebirch2002
Latest Chart. Had another call from Nick this afternoon, I think he must love me!!


Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:09 pm
by Silkie
I bet you just love him to bits too :rotfl:

PS - I think he's still got over 600 minutes af satellite air time to use so we can probably expect a few more calls yet before he reaches Balvicar.

Re: Free Minutes

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 1:01 am
by ash
Silkie wrote: he's still got over 600 minutes af satellite air time to use

That's about 20 mins a day, Ellen MacArthur league, unless he does a Moitessier.


Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 10:05 am
by stevebirch2002
Silkie wrote:I bet you just love him to bits too :rotfl:

PS - I think he's still got over 600 minutes af satellite air time to use so we can probably expect a few more calls yet before he reaches Balvicar.

Just changed my number!! Not really, always happy to help when I can.... They are doing great. What a great couple and what a great boat!! But then I am a wee bit biased!

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:42 pm
by drumtochty
What a great couple and what a great boat!! But then I am a wee bit biased!

About the boat I hope!!!


Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:52 pm
by stevebirch2002
drumtochty wrote:
What a great couple and what a great boat!! But then I am a wee bit biased!

About the boat I hope!!!


Of course.......!

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 5:33 pm
by Silkie
Fairwinds' Position Report 12.00 UTC 16th July 2007

42deg 04.7'N 011deg 23.0'W

Noon - Noon Run 100nm

Distance from Praia da Vitoria 778nm

Distance to WP SPAIN (42deg 32'.5N 009deg 34.0'W) 85nm

Distance to Camarinas 105nm (Via WP SPAIN)

Rhythmic rolling must be one of the least fun bits of ocean sailing - and we could have had four weeks of this if we had gone to the Caribbean! We are sailing directly downwind in a SSW wind varying apparetly randomly between 12 and 24 knots with big irregular swells for the last 24 hours, trying to find a sail plan that will hold the wind as we roll without shaking the rig to bits. We were goosewinged yesterday, but when I went to take the main down before dark I nearly went in when the coachroof grabrail I was bracing myself against broke. In actual fact, although we go faster in a straight line with both sails up the Navik tends to saw madly from side to side as we surf, resulting in a much greater distance travelled. Today we have stuck with a single non-poled genoa, sometimes reefed and sometimes not. We will cream along smoothly for maybe half a minute at five knots, then the rolling will start - gently at first, quickly building to a crescendo where the boat is rolling 20 degrees either side with a period of about four seconds, everything in the cupboards crashing and banging, hull groaning, until inevitably the headsail is taken aback and then fills again with an almighty crash that shakes the rig.

Still, we should be in sight of our destination this time tomorrow all being well. In the early hours of the morning we will have to cross the main shipping lanes South of Finisterre, then it is just 40 miles to Camarinas, a shower, some beers and a slap up meal.

Fairwinds out

16th July Chart - Shows Camarinas

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:02 pm
by stevebirch2002

Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 9:00 pm
by Silkie
Thanks for doing the plot Steve. I'm at work just now and can't do it from here. How about copying both onto your thread on YBW?


Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 6:04 pm
by Nick
We empontooned here in Camarinas at 15.00 UTC (17.00 local time) this afternoon. Fairwinds has now crossed half the Atlantic twice.

We have sailed exactly 900 miles to get here in a total time of eight days two and a half hours.

Most of the last 24 hours we motored, with another knot or so from the genoa whenever the wind picked up. Sea conditions have been consistently worse that would be expected for the winds we have had - because the swell and waves are being produced elsewhere where the weather is worse, then sent our way. Do we want a matching set of wind and sea state, or would we rather roll around madly with insufficient wind? Why does it never seem to happen the other way round - good sea conditions with strong winds?

Anyway . . . after seeing nothing more exciting than a small lump of expanded polystyrene for three whole days we were suddenly surrounded by tankers, container ships and unidentified blocks of flats doing up to 20 knots as we approached the Spanish coast. The chart is marked with arcane symbols at this point and the words ´Here be Ships´. As Kathy pointed out, it certainly keeps you awake on watch. We had to slow down once to let a particularly slow ship cross in front, but otherwise had no problems.

Now we are back where we met Bruce (Das Boot) and Allie over nine months ago . . . what an adventure this has been, and before anyone points out the obvious, it aint over yet. We have arrived in Camarinas in the middle of the biggest local fiesta of the year, and a big sound stage has been set up here in the harbour - but I reckon we will sleep through anything tonight.

Right, enough now time for another cerveza grande. Having the usual difficulty switching from Pôrtugues to Spanish, but there are worse problems - like how can we afford to eat and drink in the manner to which we have become accustomed once we are back in Scotland?