Changeable winds have Dee doing a gybe dance; but the heat soon brings on much needed sleep…20/4/06

Date20 April at 0005

PositionS 9° 22′ / W 12° 9′

You would imagine with the sun shining and the water being so warm and blue that this section of the journey would be easier than the rest. Unfortunately, being in the Atlantic doesn’t always mean easy sailing, ask any sailors. It is notorious for changeable weather and you have to stay with it to get the best progress.

A shining example of that happened in the early hours of this morning. It began at about 0300hrs. We had a band of cloud overhead and the wind changed direction by 60 degrees. Unable to stay north of west, I gybed which, takes about fifteen minutes now I have had some practice and I have a set routine in place. Almost five minutes after I had finished the ordeal the breeze freshened, so I changed from the Code 0 to headsails. Once that was complete the breeze went for a wander again and made the other gybe more preferable. So once again we gybed. This shifting wind continued and in the space of two hours I had gybed four times.

I was very tired as I was yet to get any real sleep. The course and the wind settled and I tried to sleep, even for a few minutes. I struggled to get comfortable as my exertion had made me hot again and there was a severe lack of air circulating below. After wandering around for a while trying different places out, I found my bunk to be the coolest place as it is in the saloon under one of the hatches. I lay down and slept for forty minutes. It felt so good I managed another half hour before I had to go and change sails again back to the Code 0. The last time I slept in my bunk was when I was southbound in the Atlantic near the beginning of the voyage, so it felt pretty good to be doing it again.

Once the sun had risen, we needed to gybe again. This was earlier than expected but the course we were making on the new gybe was definitely the way to go. I managed another winch service before I ran out of shade as the deck heated up to allow you to fry an egg on it. I looked to the horizon and there was not a cloud to be seen. The sky was a brilliant blue, completely uninterrupted. There was not even a bird to be seen, come to think of it I haven’t seen any bird life for a couple of days now. My route from here will take me quite close to Ascension Island so maybe the bird and marine life will increase again once we are nearer to land. It will be cool to see land as the last land I saw were the islands lying south of New Zealand’s South Island and that was ages ago.

Again, hot and bothered, I wandered around to find a comfortable and relatively cool place to sit. The breeze had gone light but we were making a good heading. Eventually I found sitting on my beanbag at the bottom of the companionway steps to be the most comfortable. I made a cup of tea and sat down and next thing I knew it was thirty minutes later. I was that tired I had slept without having to try. That felt great!

As I write this now the generator is on and that always adds to the heat below deck, so I will have another few hours before that turns off and we can hope for things to cool down enough for some sleep.

Dee & Aviva