Nooo! the doldrums

It feels like we’ve been here for ever, creeping south as best we can through light fickle winds, calm patches, and night-time squalls. Sails up, sails down, trying everything we can…
The squalls bring welcome coolness on deck, but as we have to close all the ports and hatches for the heavy rain, it gets even more sultry down below. The wind tends to build in front of the squall, then comes the hissing rain, and as it passes the winds blow any which way for a while, before it goes calm again. Two nights ago the any which way part pressed our biggest spinnaker, the A1, back against the shrouds, then as the port watch tried to lower it, whisked it away from them and into the sea. We were woken abruptly by cries of all hands on deck, and rushed up in our sauna-ready gear to find cold rain on deck. THe spinnaker was brought back in without too much trouble, but I did get my first genuine sail repair job patching it in a couple of places. One of the patches turns out to have taken a strange shape, such that some crew have suggested we name the sail ‘Dick’ from now on.
You might think we are crazy to be flying the A1 in squally weather – but that squall gave us 20 miles in two hours, in the right direction. Worth a little sewing, for sure.
Last night our watermaker broke, and broke badly. Eric and engineer James are currently engaged in super-human attempts to fix it – fingers crossed because we don’t have enough water in the tanks to get to Rio, or anywhere near it Our nearest land is still the Cape Verdes, probably 500 miles behind…
This afternoon starboard watch heroically spent four hours hand sewing an old sail into the form of a sun awning, as the sunny afternoon watches on deck are exhausting. We’ve left port watch to raise it – it will make a nice change from sitting on deck chatting for them…
But the doldrums bring beautiful sunrises and sunsets, amazing bright stars when the moon is down, and our evening dolphin hour seems to have become whale-spotting time, with a pair of orcas passing 2 evenings ago, and a small pod of some other unidentifiable whales spouting away yesterday evening. There was even a little fin slapping action we could make out (double fin, Ellen).  Editors note September 2014 – the fin slapping probably identifies them as humpbacks
So life goes on in our black and gold bubble – fingers crossed for the watermaker, please, we need all the good luck we can get…

2 thoughts on “Nooo! the doldrums

  1. Thinking of you all as you flap along in the doldrums with a badly behaving water maker to worry about. May the winds gods smile on you and the watermaker repair gods too! Take care and thanks for the nice blog. x Hil

  2. Best wishes team Henri Hope the watermaker is now operable. The oracle pulled it off in todays race here . May rhe wind start blowing for you out there.

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