Hard on the wind - and with very wet feet

Date: 27.05.03 UTC: 1100 Pstn: N019.13, W061.00 Track: 035T Wind: 105T, 15kn Wx: Sun Cloud: 10% Bar:1015 Temp: 24C

Well we finally got enough east in the wind to leave Antigua at 0900 yesterday 26th May. Wind ENE 20-25kn, so were only tracking at around 015°. An hour out I went below to make tea and stepped down into 6in of seawater! Beard 1 courageously propelled himself head first into the Hole, from where most of it seemed to be emanating, whilst B2 began to learn how the engine-driven emergency pump worked in record time. Meanwhile, B3 sat agog in the cockpit looking for the ‘beam me outa here’ button and wondering why he had ever allowed himself to consume enough beer to be persuaded to join us.

Just as I was about to carry out a crash tack to get us on port, and heading back to Antigua, a wail of eureka came up from the Hole, where B1 was discovered holding an errant watermaker return pipe, which had remained cunningly above water level during our trip up the coast, but dropped down when we were heeled on starboard tack. After considerable sighs of relief, all three beards set about a bucket and chuckit chain to dump the paddling pool contents over the side, as the bilge pump was nowhere near it.

This of course did wonders for our first day wobbly innards, and some were begining to regret the breakfast bacon sarnies, but we stuck it out long enough to prove it was now fixed and safely blocked off.

The wind blew 20-25kn all night, and kindly veered 30°, so getting us onto a more realistic track of 045°. Hopefully, as we make more north, the wind will veer still further, freeing us off a little and bringing the heads back into full pumping action. Currently the sole bucket has various uses.

Apart from the Navtex bracket breaking adrift at first light, today has yet to reveal what it has in store for us. What we do know, as I write this, is we have just covered 148.5 NM in our first 24 hours at sea, but the winds are predicted to weaken mid-Atlantic, so I refuse to be tempted to calculate an ETA Horta.