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Sir Robin’s Route du Rhum blog - Saturday 15th

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I gybed last night as although the other gybe was a favourable one as far as course and speed are concerned, it was leading us into lighter airs and some disturbance, so I decided to get south of it all.

We are getting more squalls now, usually with rain. The wind rises and veers, usually about two points of the compass (22 1/2 degrees), but we did have one very heavy rain squall where it shifted 5 points and for a while we were steering 260 degrees on the port tack, so, since I cannot set wind control of the compass I have to stay ready to turn downwind or we would be knocked on our side.

So I camped out in the cockpit, throwing my bed through the hatch every time it rained. These squalls will increase as we approach the Windies, and present a problem as far as sail setting is concerned, in the squalls we have too much sail, but between them, when the wind subsides, we have too little. This is the weak point on this boat as with everything so big, a sail change takes time, sometimes longer than the gap between the squalls and calms, so one tends to be cautious and inevitably lose speed.

We are now in the Tropics after all but it’s a pity man cannot work out how to get this rain land 2000 miles east of here.

Busy night for shipping as well, as I saw three ships so we must be on a shipping lane. There may have been others when I was dozing but none came within the safety zone on my plotter which sets off an alarm, either from radar or Automatic Identification System (AIS).

A treat last night for dinner. I have a few boil in the bag ready cooked meals so decided to have a Chicken Tikka Masala.Excellent. Almost as good as my recipe!

I forgot my seabird book which is annoying as there were two small black birds, the size of petrels, with a flash of white beneath the wing on the body, dancing around the boat. They were probably chasing flying fish which have been jumping out of the water at our approach and then gliding along the top of the surface. They don’t actively fly, but they build up speed in the water, launch themselves into the air, and then their extended pectoral fins act as wings.It’s when they climb too high they land on deck and then usually die.

RKJ

Hyde Sails Ltd, Harbour Building Office A, Hamble Point Marina, Hamble, Southampton SO31 4NB

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