Ships Log – 1st to 30th November 2008

Saturday 1st November

Up and at’m at 0600 before we had to pay for the extra night! Remembering we were fighting against time. It seemed very strange to be ignoring good advice though I have every faith in Anam Cara and bad weather so went along with the idea of going

Out from Marine Bay no issues, slipped away quietly into the Gibraltar bay dodging all the anchored ships ad across to the Spanish side, so far so good but it was cold and yes still raining. Eventually we came out of the bay, turned west, and got some sails out, so far so good passing along the Spanish at around 5 knots quite happy.

Once we had cleared the shipping separation zone we started a next course south west, we were now on our way and heading into the Atlantic and yes with the wind directly on the nose!

We kept going but the wind speed kept fluctuating, the swell got higher, and the rain got heavier, and our speed dropped. We were making between 3 to 5 knots but when we hit a big wave we just stopped in the water so had to get going again. All this time Anam Cara took everything and carried on regardless.

We all did 3 hours on, 6 hours off from 6pm till noon, All day and through the night.

Sunday 2nd November

Saturday night and into Sunday: No difference, weather awful, minimal progress and by now fuel stocks looking rather grim. When we stopped the engine we made between 0 and 3 knots and sometime running backwards! We had to find fuel and shelter as well. What ever combination of sails we had out nothing seemed to work and by now heads were down and in David’s eye and perhaps Richards, nothing was right with Anam Cara. To add insult to injury, with the bows going below the water at times, we discovered leaks into the two forward cabins.

A new course was set for Casablanca and yes I did fancy stopping off there on the way down when the trip was planned but not under these circumstances! Approx 80 miles to run, and yes, still against the wind, rain, and high seas.

Everybody by now wet, cold and thoroughly fed up.

Monday 3rd November

Finally we arrived into Casablanca commercial harbour early afternoon battered and beaten only to be told by the harbour master to go away as there are no marina facilities. By the way, as we entered Casablanca port the rain had stopped, the sun was shining and the wind had dropped. After we explained we needed a set of oars to move as we were running on fumes, he relented and told us where to moor up.

We went alongside a beautiful 100 ft or so with twin masts and a lot of woodwork, a fantastic sailing “palace” that had also taken shelter for fuel shortage and torn main sail reasons.

There were no fuel facilities there but to our good fortune they had found a way of ordering fuel and getting it delivered. Good said I, can we Add another 200 litres to that order which they did.

Our next problem was money, had to be cash so we then spent the two/three hours being given the run around the port trying to find immigration, instead we were told they were closed for the day!!! We eventually found the harbour control office and managed to speak to the “Admiral” the big cheese of the port and told him our problem. Come to my office and have a sit down says he while he rings immigration and gets the man from immigration to come and collect us, take us to his offices and do the necessary formalities, and this is what happened. So we were out of the port and I immediately found a bank, got the cash out and went straight back to the boat! So much for me seeing Casablanca! The other two went off to find an internet café

I got back t the boat in time, for the fuel delivery. I had visions of missing them and then them not coming out for just 200 litres.

What a palaver the fuel delivery. This truck arrived with a large tank on the back, a pump, and a long hose without a tap on the end! The yacht next door as they ordered it went first: Well when his 1st tank was full and he managed to shout stop and by the time it had stopped flowing, the man was covered from top to tail by diesel. Their 2nd tank and another of their boat crew took over the filling; yes you have guessed it a repeat performance. By this stage I knew what to expect so quickly stripped off and put an old pair of shorts only! I also asked the delivery driver to slow down the pump, which he did. Only having 200 litres it didn’t take long to fill, so here we go I thought. I pulled the pipe out and as it had been going in so slowly compared to next door, I didn’t experience the blow back from the tank. I only had the 20 or so litres in the pipe to deal with. Over the side it went in double quick time so apart from the cockpit floor and my 5 euro plastic shoes, I escaped the diesel onslaught!

David & Richard arrived back after the fuel episode and just in time for the sausage & Mash dinner I had prepared. It was then Richard told me he had been on his e mails at the local internet café and had instructions from work he had to be back without fail for a major meeting and he felt due to the poor weather he would be delayed and therefore couldn’t take the chance. He had booked a ticket home from Casablanca.

I have to say I was not surprised after the experiences we had been through and especially as he had taken a week’s holiday to go sailing, not to be bounced around all the time! I have to also say I expected to hear the same from David only he couldn’t use work as an excuse.

A pleasant evening was spent in Casablanca commercial port; at least it was dry, warmer, and no wind.

Tuesday 4th November

Richard emerged from his cabin early, packed and ready to go. And then the second bomb shell hit me. David announced he was also jumping ship, not through work but as he put it “concerned for his safety and well being”. I quietly “explained” this could not happen, he could not just leave me alone in a port that did not want us, and that he had a moral duty to at least help me get Anam Cara to a safe Marina. Reluctantly he agreed so that gave me some breathing time.

After clearing Casablanca immigration Richard went his way and David & I went back to get under way. We had made enquiries as to where the nearest marina was. It was about 10 miles back up the coast at a port called Moahmmedia, We motor sailed there quite happily arriving early afternoon. David at the helm I was on fender duty whilst David did several 360 degree turns before getting her lined up to place her stern to on the pontoon!

In the mean time I had contacted Vince, a sailing friend of ours who lives in Spain to see if he was free to help me get Anam Cara down to Las Palmas. After checking flights and times etc, he said yes and would arrive in Casablanca airport at 1410 the following day.

Explaining to David how experienced Vince was etc., David agreed to skipper the boat down to Las Palmas and he seemed happy and even cooked a corned beef hash, something I like. We went to bed after planning our getaway as soon as Vince had arrived.

Wednesday 5th November

Bonfire night, I don’t think too many people around the marina would understand if I set of some flares as fireworks!

I was up early, had my shower and breakfast and then straight into town to try and hire a car to collect Vince from the Airport. David on the other hand said he would organise fuel for all the spare fuel containers we had on board and also down load the necessary weather reports etc ready for the off..
Finding a car hire company was not a problem but finding an open one, well that was different!

I noticed a large 4 star Hotel and thought that was it, they would help. Well they couldn’t do much towards me getting a car but they organised a taxi to take me to the airport, wait ‘till we collected Vince then take us back to the port. We negotiated a price for the service in advance and after that all I had to do was wait, in the metropolis of Moahmmedia. A very pleasant place, lots of palm trees but nothing opens ’till around 10.00hrs, anyway I found the local internet café and got up to date with emails etc. The funny thing was the keyboard, all back-to-front to what we are used to. No QWERTY key board in Morocco!

Anyway got into taxi and went to the airport. Huge airport and all very modern however the arrivals board said Terminal 1 so that’s where we went and waited, and waited, no Vince. We checked the passenger list at the Easy Jet agents who confirmed he was on the plane, so we waited and waited no Vince. This time I went to ask a policeman to see if he had been detained by immigration as being an unwanted person or something!!! Policeman came back stating there was no one in immigration. He did then say on occasions they route them through Terminal 2, just to confuse people. Back to terminal 2 and still no Vince so outside we went to see if he had escaped and yes there he was sunning himself.

Back in the Taxi I explained what had happened and that we would be leaving as soon as we had got to the boat.

Taxi driver dropped us at the port gate and into immigration went to explain that Vince was joining the crew on Anam Cara.

Arriving at the boat I had this sense of abandonment, sure enough David had done a runner. He hadn’t done the fuel or the forecasts only (I presume) organise a ticket to fly out. So obviously not a man of his word, and therefore un-trustworthy, oh yes and he added to his other issues, there were too many “barnacles” on her hull. How he could see these as she was wedged in both sides very tightly by our two neighbours. So we then had to organise the fuel, fortunately there is a local man with a pick-up truck who will take all your cans to the local garage and get them filled up with you, this service was 10 euros. The fuel was 0.70 Euro a litre (56 pence) so couldn’t complain. All his took time and by the time I went back to immigration to collect our passports and ships documents, they had all gone home, so we didn’t get away, pity weather very good now.

You can imagine the phone line between Christine and I was frantic trying to find replacement crew. We now have a drink, and an early night was the order of the day.

Thursday 6th November

Back to immigration for 0900 0945 they arrived and sorted us out so we could go.

Vince and I eventually slipped Anam Cara’s moorings at 11.20 from the very nice small marina at Moahmmedia, costing 15 Euros per night including power, water, and wi fi!! From the marina and out of the commercial harbour we went and out into a very calm sea, not a ripple. This was a far cry to how it had been earlier in the week. So, full power and the straightest course available towards Las Palmas.

Around 1500hrs we chanced our luck and put up the sails, we increased our speed from 6.1 knots to 6.4, still every little helps.

Having the engine on all day and the sails up we haven’t been below 5.5 knots so hoping to get down to Las Palmas late Sunday/Monday.

Late afternoon we were kept company by a couple of pairs of Dolphins, they played with us for the best part of an hour. Apart from the Dolphins, a very comfortable and un-eventful day out in the Atlantic. The very first day we had sun all day and no rain, that’s how it should be! We also had our first red sky at night, so let’s hope for sun tomorrow.

Friday 7th November

Un-eventful Thursday night Friday Morning, a few Moroccan fishing boats that’s all.
Sun shining but still a little on the chilly side, was hoping to get shirt off and take in the sun. Not to-day I fear.
At 11.30 we had been at sea 24 hrs and managed to cover 132 nautical miles an average of 5.5 knots, not bad after having listened to David castigating poor Anam Cara and with minimal wind swirling all around.
Friday we kept the speed pressure on; we used both engine and wind. Morning more engine than wind, afternoon more wind than engine.
Apart from a natural gas tanker, we saw nothing so settled down to another night on the seas.
Wind around 5 knots now coming in from the north /north east so we are going down wind and hitting the heady speeds of 7.9 knots at times but more importantly keeping over the magic 6 knots figure. This is the minimum we need to average going across the Atlantic if we want to get there in reasonable time.
The two of us are coping well, yes a third person would be nice, but we are managing on a 3 hrs on 3 hrs off basis.
Having had time now to ponder the previous few days, sailing in the bad weather etc., and now having to go through the provisions etc David had organised for out trip. He has bought a complete set of saucepans enough tea towels for a block of flats bags of peanuts still in their shells and all sorts of nice but other un-essential food items. Yet on this trip we have no milk, long life, or other!
I suppose I am trying to justify why he jumped ship other than using the various excuses he used. As Christine said, maybe it is for the better, put it behind us, and keep moving forward.

Saturday 8th November

Another good overnight sail and by 11.30 (another 24 hrs on) we had completed another 159 nautical miles, an average of more than 6 knots and mainly sailing only! It is amazing, having Vince on board who is used to sailing heavy boats how we are achieving what a previous crew was impossible!
I made a mistake with David, because of all his sea miles and experience of crossing oceans etc., I took his word as gospel. I accepted what he said and that was that. I, being very new to sailing didn’t have the confidence to argue or disagree with his decisions. Hindsight is a wonderful thing; I only wish I had actually had the confidence to make my point known and push it home at times. Having talked over with Vince the vartious situations etc, I should have been more confident. Perhaps the outcome would have been the same but at least I would have been in control. Still one learns through experience, and a good lesson it was. I actually know more than I give myself credit for!
The only spectacle today was Vince; he saw a turtle whilst I was having a “kip”.
Lots of sea, little wind but straight up the “bum”, still a sort of goose-winging is working, but could do with a third person so that we could actually pole the jib out. Talking about people, I will go back to my original thought and have 4 people on board fore the crossing, sorry David!
For dinner tonight I though we should have a roast, so I roasted some sausages and did roast potatoes with Carrots and French Beans, went down a treat though the roast potatoes took a little longer than usual!
Vince is to his bed and I am writing up the days log as we glide happily towards the Canary Islands. Looking down to the chart plotter it shows we only have 171 miles to run. Should knock them off in the next 30 hours or so, weather permitting!

Sunday 9th November

The sea state was more or less consistent throughout the night, a few degrees tweaking but that was all that was necessary as it was, albeit very slowly, pushing us up the “bum”!

There was nothing on the horizon, clear as a bell, nice sunny warm day.
Sunset was quite spectacular (maybe a photo next time!) and at that time, i.e. 1900 we saw land. First Tenerife then Grand Canary, we had arrived (well with in visual contact) safely, good old Anam Cara.

Our total trip from leaving Moahmmedia was completed at an average speed of 6.1 knots. A very satisfactory speed bearing in mind we were down wind sailing and only up to 10 knots of wind.

The debate on when to go into Las Palmas, upon arrival or after dawn, The chart suggested we went after daybreak due to the Spanish adding a couple of buoys here and a couple of buoys there, We compromised and went into the marina about 0600 local time, the same as UK!

Onto the immigration quay and waited for them to open so had a celebratory Gin & Tonic and the last Bacon & Eggs with toast & Marmalade. After the formalities and paying our mooring fees 171 Euros! (Very cheap for 13 days, it is a council run Marina and are limited to what they can charge)

We then went to the fuel quay, filled up 6 drums and main tanks, (74 cents a litre) then off to our berth.

Up to this point, Vince was at the helm but when we were told we had to go in stern to, he walked away! Leaving me to do it for the first time in anger! Thanks Vince, so stern to onto a pontoon it was going to be and that’s just what I did, straight in didn’t need extra help, only throwing the securing lines over. Now that’s where we stay ‘till the 23rd when we leave Las Palmas, watch this space then.

Once again a big thank you to Vince for stepping in at the last minute to get me here

Las Palmas

Good weather, good food, good organisation, and some super white wine from Lanzarote
First things first, replacement crew. Christine got her skates on and went canvassing our friends who we thought might be able to do an Atlantic crossing at such short notice. I on the other hand canvassed the numerous people wandering around Las Palmas looking for a position on a boat to the West Indies. Having met several people and couples I finally made the decision to go with Rob & Esta, both extremely well qualified with 90,000 miles experience behind them and Rob having done the Atlantic East to West, North to South, and oh yes, not forgetting his trip sailing around the “Horn” One of my better decisions in my recent sailing life!
David Bates and Andrew Collins also came up trumps and made up the other two crew positions, both people I have sailed with before. Knowing what I know now, I shouldn’t have worried about finding replacement crew, there were so many to choose from in Las Palmas.
The first week I was in L.P. I apart from crew seeking I was busy attending as many seminars as I could. Every one was a gem and I learnt a lot, (well of course that’s what the Arc is all about) to add to my steep learning curve. Vince also stayed an extra few days and helped me with the preparation of Anam Cara before we had our safety inspection, which went well without a hitch. I collected Christine on the second Monday, that was nice as I didn’t have to go the various night functions alone! And yes there was something on every night. The whole Marina and surrounding area of Las Palmas was in carnival mood, after all, the Arc is something big here for a couple of weeks each November, it’s where the locals take a lot of money. Imagine 225 boats with crew sizes ranging from the minimum of 2 up to 12 and provisioning for up to 25 days not to mention the additional repairs that were taking place due to the bad weather in the preceding week.
Andrew & David arrived on the Thursday and with a complete crew in place I was able to start relaxing and think about the way across and weather etc. We all had a great supper on board where we could all start to get to know one another and get bonding
The following morning I was pleased to hear from both camps i.e. Rob & Esta and Andrew & & David both thought both were nice people and looked forward to working together. Music to my ears and now looking back know I have a much more balanced crew, both in experience and temperaments, well done Geoff that’s what I say, should have got it right first time though!
Seamus and his friend Noel also came to visit us, Seamus you will recall was the third member of our original crew. You will also recall he made his decision to pull out on David Keith’s report back without seeing the boat. The first thing Seamus said to me as he came aboard was “I have made a big mistake” we all agreed but it was too late in the day for a drop out, especially as I was now in control of everybody’s passports! Seamus became 1st reserve though with little hope of coming with us. Seamus left a big impression with both Christine and me that, who knows we may sail together sometime in the future.

Saturday lunchtime was another bonding meal and Saturday we all went our separate ways being the last night on land. Christine and I went to looking for a decent hotel for the Sunday night before she flew out on the Monday; we then went to a very nice Italian Restaurant for a meal followed by fireworks.

Sunday morning dawned and we all had last minute shower before topping up all water tanks and switching off water pumps. From now on we are on minimal rations of water: Washing up in sea water, teeth from designated containers in the heads and drinking water from bottles. When we reach half distance we can measure what we have left and then take the appropriate actions though by half way I do not expect to have gone through half our tanks.
Pulled off the dock around 11.00 milled around the entrance with all other boats, even passing Seamus standing on a rock at the harbour entrance, ever hopeful of a berth at he very last minute. Waving to Christine on the visitors boat and then we had the signals, we quietly and easily pulled up the main then with 5 minutes to go horn, turned and let the Jib fly ever careful not to go across the line before the “GO” horn. Picking up speed and our way through the throng, we cut the line within a couple of minutes or so of the official start.

Sunday 23rd November
By eleven thirty on the 23rd November, “The Famous Five” team slipped Las Palmas and departed from Gran Canaria to cheers and much joyful well wishes from the ARC crowds.
We spent the next hour enjoying the spectacle of all the ARC Vessels whilst navigating our way to Christine on a Party Boat through the jungle of boats around us- colission avoidance at its best! (well done Geoff on the helm) Finding the start line was not so easy admist such a throng but we did and successfully crossed it only a minute or two after the gun- we were certainly in the first 25%! So to congratulate ourselves we ate some freshly baked biscuits!
We have spent the next 24 hrs in a pleasant predominant NE breeze of 15-20 kn with the occasional gust in an acceleration zone and a lull in the night hours.
Geoff cooked a mean Chicken Pesto Pasta despite feeling rough with a cold so Andy took his watch for him and I am pleased to report he is much better today.
Night sailing so far has been pretty chilly but there is plenty to do with so many ARC boats lighting the horizon.
So, with watch systems in place, we are muddling along having covered 108nm from the start line and 125nm overall.
Bread in the oven and listening in to the Radio Net so chao for now!
From the Mr Men and Little Miss Happy

Monday 24th November
Position at 12.00 Noon (23 hrs after crossing the start line)

26 degrees 41 minutes north 16 degrees 36 minutes west
Distance covered over the ground 108 nautical miles
Log reading (course) 124 nautical miles

Wind far from good but managed to sail well into the night. We poled out the Jib and used the smaller whisker pole for the stay sail, looked good, we also had some main out to help reduce the rolling but progress was slow down to 3 knots at time. Naturally we wanted more but the wind was exactly as had been forecasted so we couldn’t complain.
This being our first complete day and we started the new watch pattern which gave each member of the crew one night off from watch duty but meant that each had a days “Mother” watch 1 in 5. Yesterday was David Bates and what a high standard he set! Even to cleaning behind the cooker!
Rob made his first batch of bread, wow, what a success, went down very easily, we have Esta baking bread tomorrow and banana cake, something to look forward to
Looking around as the day went on we only saw about 6 of the ARC yachts spread out on the horizon. It’s a big sea, few rollers and little wind, just the job for Power Boats!
Had a spot of bother collecting our e mails, there were 10 to download but amongst those was 1 very large one causing my system to have indigestion!! So

PLEASE PLEASE – IF ANY ONE WANTS TO E MAIL US, DO NOT SEND BIG FILES, ATTACHMENTS or PHOTOS note from administrator [only send text in your email, no images, no attachments, remove all superfluous disclaimers] Many thanks.

Otherwise a regular insignificant day, see if the night brings forth something

Tuesday 25th November

25 degrees 53.8 W 17 degrees 41.6 N
Distance travelled 76.3 Nautical Miles

The wind has gradually changed from about 10 knots to zero and by 5.22am we had had enough of wallowing and only travelling with the current at a speed of between 0.5 – 1 knot; So on went the engine, against the grain I must admit! 3.5 knots seemed fast by this time but well behind our original schedule however looking at the other entrant positions in the Arc; we were by no means last. There were boats behind us and to the East of us, anyway we are all praying for some wind and by 1650 we had some, not enough for the large jib etc but for the Spinnaker, yes the Spinnaker! Down came the poled out jib and Staysail up went the Spinnaker and wow it filled with wind and along we went at around 3.5 to 4.5 knots. I have to admit we were prompted to put it up by a yacht behind us who was slowly catching us up. Off went the Engine and we were moving along very nicely, poled out on the starboard side and flying high and proud. A little main complemented the whole show. Now we watched the yacht behind slowly retreat and we were overhauling a couple in front and to the west of us.

At some point during the day we sent out our fishing tackle, just hoping to catch a fresh Tuna for dinner, or something!

We have to use the generator more than envisaged, probably because we are trying to keep the freezer below zero. We are up to 10 hrs per 24hrs still we have sufficient fuel.

Dusk was about us and around us the few boats with them up, hauled in their Spinnakers. After much discussion we agreed to keep ours flying and see how it went. By this time the boat was flying up to 5 knots yet only with 8 to 10 knots of wind, so still we kept it out. The boat was very comfortable hardly rolled or pitched whilst we all enjoyed a couple of Fray Bentos Beef and Mushroom pies (no fish caught!) with fresh Mashed Potato, Carrots, and Cauliflower followed by Fresh Pineapple. Still the spinnaker was doing its job.

Great excitement when Rob went on deck, he had a bite on the line. We all went up to see what he had and once brought in we saw it. It was the longest and ugliest fish with very nasty sharp teeth and no flesh to eat! So back it went to feed Neptune.

Night Watches came on and the decision was to continue with the spinnaker but to have a contingency plan to bring it down if needed.

I went to see David on watch during the early morning to check how we were doing and apart from changing a couple of degrees, we still were travelling along under the power of the Spinnaker.

Early nights were the order of the day due to so much excitement.

Wednesday 26th November

Position at Noon

24 degrees 50 N 19 degrees 13.4 W
Distance travelled 105 Nautical Miles

Woke up a fantastic sun rise and to the spinnaker still flying, no problem other than very light winds up to 9 knots still it kept us going between 4 & 5 knots. Later in the morning we dropped the spinnaker to place some precautionary tape at the bottom, just in case, and then straight up with it again! It was amazing to see the spinnaker flying for so many hours but had we not had so many crew we would probably not used it and been running the engine all the way. Well done crew, a pat on the back for that. I wonder if it will still be flying by tomorrow. The weather forecast would suggest we may! We are determined not to use too much fuel and save time by not having to go into the Cape Verdi’s. The gamble is, when we eventually turn west will we get sufficient winds to keep us going around 6 to 8 knots? If so we should make our 20 days as planned but if the trade’s are still very light we may have to re-forecast our arrival day; too early to speculate yet. In the mean time we are having a great time, no minor let alone major issues with the crew, everybody still very polite to each other, as Andrew commented, wait and see towards the end of the voyage!

Andrew was on Mother Watch and it coincided with Wednesday, and Wednesday is full English breakfast day. Well we had the lot including sufficient fried (home made) bread for me to put marmalade on. A very fulfilling breakfast only this was followed up a couple of hours later by lunch with yet another excellent home made loaf of bread. Later in the day Andrew cooked a very tasty Shepherd’s pie but unfortunately none of us could do it real justice, we were all still full from Breakfast and Lunch!

After lunch there was a cinema matinee, the crew watched the first James Bond film, Doctor No, the only thing there was no Ice cream to go with it so had to make do with sweets.

An interesting debate took place about coriolis and the various effects around the world; this was followed by David’s quest to know which dingy wins the race in his repetitive puzzle anybody who knows David knows his puzzle. Again a number of answers to his question.

My cold has come out in a dreadful cough and Andrew is the next in line to catch it, sorry Andrew and whoever else gets it!

Not too many other boats about, very quiet in fact and by night time couldn’t see anyone.

At 2030 we received a Pan Pan on our SSB, we plotted their position, but they were just over 100 miles to the East of us. We were too far to assist and it would have put us going in the wrong direction. Also we think the Pan Pan was a re-direction as they had seen a red flare and as it would have been fairly close to the North African coast, it could have been one of the boats full of people trying to get into Europe. Nothing else came through on the SSB and there was nothing on the VHF.

Rob & Esta have written in the log how much they love their night watches and they have experienced seeing numerous shooting stars, Dolphins and sparkling phosphorescence, zero clouds and lots of stars.

For those of you who do not know, there was a challenge set all the yachts entered into the ARC and this was to take basil plant over to Saint Lucia, naturally it has to still be alive upon arrival. We have two plants to give us a fighting chance, Basil and Sybil. Well poor basil had a nasty experience whilst outside in the cockpit taking in its daily allowance of sun. Geoff sat on him! Poor old basil, will this be his last experience? Geoff bowed and scraped to Basil to try and make amends but we will have to watch this space.

Thursday 27th November

Position at Noon
23 degrees 50 W 20Degrees 57 N
Distance travelled 112 Nautical Miles

Woke up again to the spinnaker taking us forward at 4/5 knots from limited winds but Anam Cara is very steady under these conditions and therefore very comfortable. Listening to the weather forecast suggests we may have come to the end of the run for the spinnaker, well for the time being anyway.

I said in an earlier log we are having to use the generator more than anticipated, our batteries seem to be going done quicker than they should but we are trying to run the freezer as low as possible as well as the fridge. We also used the radar for the first night and when you throw the
auto pilot into the equation, well we were not too surprised; this was also hindered by the fact we had minimal wind so the wind generator was not producing anything.

The generator was switched off early morning and was switched back on again around 0600 hrs only this time the battery charger was not working!

Being dark still we couldn’t see anything so we switched on the main motor to charge the batteries and wait ’till daylight.

It is Esta’s mother watch today and breakfast wasn’t just cereals, no, she had prepared a very varied fruit salad to start, then cereals! This was washed down watch freshly brewed coffee.

Back to the battery charger. After testing we found power going in to the charger but nothing coming out. All fuses checked and nothing obvious faulty so we decided it was US. Annoying as it is just over a year old!

Thank goodness I kept the old one, so down into the depths of the bilges to rescue the old charger that used to work. We put the power into the alternative charger and “bingo” we had power coming out, so we fitted it. We had to make a new negative cable up so stripped several small cables to
create the new one. The moment of truth, on went the generator, switched the replacement charger on and yes it was still working.

By now lunch time had arrived and just as we were getting ready to eat we had the cry of excitement, “We’ve caught a fish! Getting it in was no problem, cleaning and topping and tailing came easily to Rod and Esta had produced a marinade to cook it in. So we had a slight delay ’till lunch but
when the fish was turned out of its cooking foil, well a feast. Though it was small it had sufficient meat on it to satisfy our needs supplemented of course with freshly made bread. It tasted very good and looked similar to a large sea bass. We complemented this feast with a celebratory glass of Vino Tinto

A good hearty lunch was followed by some with a siesta.

Battery charger checked again and looking good.

Today was the first of our 4 time (change) zones so we are still reporting to ARC HQ at noon UTC but ships time is now 1 hour back and causing a few minor problems with shift changes, getting muddled up etc! But as we are relaxed, we are fine and just have a laugh.

When you think the five of us only got together last Thursday and leaving 3 days later, I am amazed how we have all gelled and our skills, strengths or weaknesses have all compliment one another, Anam has a great team aboard and she is performing well because of it.

Basil, you will remember had a nasty experience yesterday when I sat on him , well I am pleased to report he is recovering in the hospital ward with Sybil by is side and we expect a full recovery.

Great excitement late afternoon, we caught another fish hauled in about 100 metres only to lose it whilst bringing it out of the water. I regret not having bought a landing net, I nearly did.

We keep thanking ourselves for getting the spinnaker up it has made all the difference during these few days of poor wind and being brave and keeping it flying through the night I think has been our savour as to where we are currently placed in the ARC. I have been asked to also record the maximum speed recorded with the spinnaker, and that was 9 knots on the skippers

Dinner tonight was sweet and sour chicken with a spicy rice, well done Esta but you have created a culinary path that I fear us mortals will find hard to follow. If that wasn’t enough, out of the oven popped an excellent apple crumble with cinnamon and sultanas in complemented with, yes home made custard!

As we were cleaning up, the cry from the stern was heard again, we’ve caught another fish. Out we go, haul in the line and there it is big with yellow stripes and a fan tail. Didn’t see any more as again whilst trying to lift it aboard it got away. Oh how I wish I had bought that landing net! If
that was not all, the fish took our lure with it, I hope it gets indigestion.

Now for setting the night sails. We had waited as late as we dare before pulling in the spinnaker so at 2000 hrs down it came and up went the Genoa, re set the main took a course of 225 degrees travelling around 6 knots and then settled down for the night

On reflection we had a very busy day one way or another, very little time to read and no time to watch a DVD, I wonder what tomorrow will bring

Friday 28th November

Position at Noon
22º 17N 22º 59W

Distance Travelled 148 Nautical Miles

Good windy day today, sailing on the Genoa and Main, steady 6/7 knots very happy.

No Fish caught as we decided not to risk the last lure at the speeds we were travelling, we will keep “fishing” to a time when Anam, Cara is travelling a little slower.

Rob on Mother Watch, again fresh bread and the first meal from the fresh meat we bought and had frozen whilst in Las Palmas, a very nice pasta dish. By the end of the day though we ran out of the first Gas bottle; this has made us modify our cooking arrangements. For example, fresh bread now only baked every two days and always use the generator during evening meal time so that we can use the electric frying pan we bought following Sally Anne’s provisioning presentation before the start. Thanks Sally Ann, a good tip.

We saw our first flying fish today and to help us get more into the Caribbean mood we listened to reggae music and looked at slides on the lap top from previous visits there

Replacement batter charger working OK, in fact it seems to be better than the new one, I am wondering if the newer one has been faulty for some time now..

Much of the day for the skipper was trying to get the e mail system working properly. Martin, our IT man back in the UK was trying everything remotely and getting me to do things and go places in a computer I dared not go near before! Success was achieved; we can now download information as well as send, tomorrow morning will be the big test. A big thank you from all the crew on Anam Cara

Again an early night was had by all.

Saturday 29th November

Position at Noon 22 Degrees 17 N 22degrees 59 W

Distance travelled 148 Nautical Miles

Ran the Genoa all night but the wind has dropped so a party went forth to replace it with the spinnaker. All connections made, just about to haul up the spinnaker when the wind suddenly started to gust up to 26 knots. Back went the Spinnaker and out came the Genoa and yes you guessed it, the wind dropped again! So we had breakfast instead, seemed the best solution under the circumstances. We suffered little to no wind for most of the day so eventually we got out the Spinnaker, a good decision albeit a bit late in the day, and once up we were flowing, picking up speed as the wind increased. Afternoon turned to evening and the speed increased and the spinnaker was flying well, the boat was sailing comfortably and the night watches started. At times we were up to 9 knots

Saturday was generally a quiet day with one two exception. Firstly, David baked his first bread; in fact he baked a pair of loaves, one for the following day. They were a great success and by doing two we saved gas. Secondly we tried out the sea water shower mounted on the stern. The sea water soap/shampoo was very good and quick rinse with a limited amount of fresh water completed the task and we were refreshed. Fortunately the sea water is now getting warmer so it wasn’t too much of a shock to the system.

For most of the day we were following what we think was a French Boat, as dusk was approaching we were catching it up only to find they had veered away, never to be seen again!

Evening watch started well running with the Spinnaker covering the ground lost earlier in the day.

Maybe there will be more to write about tomorrow,

Sunday 30th November

Position at Noon 19 Degrees 21 N 26 degrees 390 W

Distance travelled 137 Nautical Miles

Midnight and the wind was up to around 22 knots, the Anam Cara was steaming through the water at around 8.4 knots; she was steady as a rock and no sign of any strain on the Spinnaker. At last wind in the right direction, calm sea, and excellent conditions to catch up some of the lost time.

0010 hrs Andrew (next on watch) comes up to enquire what the wind speed was and by that time it was dieing away, down to 15 Knots and falling when at this point our spinnaker lost it and went into a wine glass shape. Just as we were reacting to this, the Spinnaker snap shackle decides to give way. All crew immediately on deck in seconds (other than David, he slept through the whole process), retrieved the sail from the water before it went under the keel, and bagged it ready to be sorted at day break. Out went a poled out Genoa and main and again and we proceeded at a steady 5 knots.

The rest of the night was un-eventful but all of us were looking forward to the Sunday Roast. Skipper on Mother watch to-day so we skipped church parade and all waited in anticipation of what was to come. Dinner was planned for 1400hrs so preparation had to start early due to an oven not getting hot enough.

We all dressed for dinner and at 1300hrs cocktails were served on the terrace (cockpit) with a few nibbles and we all congratulated ourselves as when 1300 hrs came and went, it was exactly 1 week earlier when we crossed the start line.

Due to the oven not being hot enough everything took longer than planned so we actually finished up at the table around 1500hrs.

We are now getting well south and are starting to pick up the trade The Sunday dinner consisted of Chicken with Bacon, Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables, roast potatoes, roasted Onions, and Garlic bulbs. One or two of the crew hadn’t had some of the vegetables before so it was a new experience for them.

Following a hearty meal and with nothing being said, everybody except Rob (who was on watch) evaporated into their cabin for a siesta whilst Anam Cara is still plodding along at around 5/6 knots.

We are still experiencing troubles with our batteries and therefore we are having to run the generator most of the day but never mind as we are now cutting more westwards and have passed he point of no return. We are on our way now just waiting for the Trade Winds to kick in

Later in the Evening the skipper and Rob watched a DVD, Amazing Grace whilst the other members of the crew caught up with their beauty sleep

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