Moving at last. Ilkka Liukkonen reports from the slow-going ARC aboard Melina

Date 29 November 2005

Yippee, we’ve found the Trades at last! Spinnaker was hoisted this morning after some hours motoring in total calmness during the night. It has been an incredible and almost absurd feeling, finding ourselves in a sailing yacht more than thousand nautical miles from both continents – trying to find Trade Winds, or more correctly, any wind. Weather forecasts promise this fun to last at least for a couple of days more…

However, nine days at sea in most variable conditions have not spoiled the mood and humour onboard. On Saturday evening, we had a fantastic Christmas party in the cockpit, singing Christmas carols and wearing Santa Claus caps. Hanna and Jukka brought all these accessories from Finland. For some reason, these matters were not of top priority when we sailed from Helsinki in June. Dinner in the dark night, stars above, 26 °C temperature, boat speed of 8 knots, was certainly different from the conditions in which we usually have during our traditional ‘before Christmas’ party in Finland.

Despite the fact that in addition to two solar panels and a small portable generator onboard, a generous battery capacity and effective battery charger of the engine we have been trying to preserve energy. In the present situation, we are a bit worried about the amount of fuel needed for power supply. Due to more than expected motoring hours in calmness and slow progress of our passage under sail, we have to count carefully every litre of fuel used. We’ve been switching off the other fridge, steering manually as much as possible and not using cabin lights at night. A wind pilot would be nice!