Thursday, June 27, 2013

News From the Crew

We have several ways to communicate with the guys, so Cheryl, Tricia and I have been sharing the messages as they come in. It is a good thing for me because Alex's 140 character messages aren't giving me much detail! I've excerpted some of the communication here.

From Alex:
Hey K! Did you buy spagetty pasta?  Do you know where it may be? 

From David via Tricia:

Good Morning,

After two very fast sailing days we have very little wind but huge rolling seas. The boat is rolling from one side to the other, luckily I have my sea legs. The continual routine of getting up every six hours is tiring us down a little but we all slept well off watch last night despite the rolling and banging of everything. It is funny to be at the helm alone at 3:00 am in the middle of nowhere fighting with the swells and trying to drink cup of soup without spilling.

I am on watch at the moment but there is quite a lot of fog so I am letting the radar do the looking.

We are almost halfway to the Azores and making good time.

From Alan via Cheryl on June 24 before they caught the wind:

This morning, the ocean was flatter than the lake.  We've seen a good bit of marine life - whales, dolphins, sharks, jelly fish, rigged a trolling line yesterday and caught a 2' tuna but it shook the hook before we could get it on board.  I could not bring a gaff with me so it will be a challenge for anything much larger.  At least we know they are out there. Glad I brought some extra rum to subdue them once boated.

We've seen a fair amount of shipping, lots of fishing boats as we crossed  George's Banks, now mostly container ships.  David had to take evasive action last night to avoid one.  We have an AIS receiver but many of these ships don't keep their transponders on (though commercial ships are supposed to).  In a couple of cases, they turned on their AIS when they got within 3 miles.  I think the fishermen don't use theirs because they don't want their competition to know their spots.  We have radar and it has been a valuable tool.  I am amazed that we are still picking up USCG vhf transmissions from the States.
As you have probably seen, our track has varied north and south - our original plan was to sail SE and cross the Gulf Stream then head east at 39 degrees N latitude but the wind doesn't support that.  Grib files we've downloaded via sat phone show better wind north so we have sailed up to the Great Circle course - shortest distance to Horta and a bit further north than we'd originally planned.  It's been pleasant during the day - 70's and sunny.  Nights have been mostly clear and cool - long pants, foulies (oil skins according to David), Glad I brought gloves and a watch cap.  We've had some fog but mostly a heavy dew.  Water is cold - about 61F.  Set a bucket in the sun to let it warm up before a bath on Friday.  We are not going to cross the Gulf Stream on this course until much later when it is weaker and less organized. We are now keeping Universal Coordinated time (Greenwich Time) on board.  We won't adjust our clocks as we sail east.  A little strange at first since it is a 4 hour difference in time.  We are keeping 3 hour watches.  Works well - allows a decent amount of rest (6 hours off).  With 3 of us it means that we stand watches at different times each day so no one gets stuck with the graveyard watch all the time.
We are being frugal with water and should have plenty with the extra water in jugs.  We've been eating well - we have more than enough.  Probably only need to add some fresh things, bread, and beer in the azores.  Spam stored below the floor boards is safe for now. 

I'll share more messages as they come in!

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