Julian Sincock describes the situation aboard ARC yacht Northern Child on the approach to St Lucia 9/12/06

Daily Log No 14 Northern Child
Log dateSaturday 9 December 2006
Position15.23N 52.11W

Yesterday we had a beautiful afternoon’s sailing out here on the Atlantic. The wind stayed up around the 20-25 knot mark and we made good progress throughout the day towards St Lucia. As we draw closer there is more and more interest in our arrival time, which could still be anywhere between Monday evening and Tuesday morning. If the wind holds up…

This year we have had a very steady run of easterly trades ever since we crossed the trough well over a week ago. The winds have been remarkably constant in direction and strength and have offered few shifts on which you are able to pass onto a more favourable gybe, to take advantage of a new angle to St Lucia. Complaints? – no, it’s not been possible to complain, the trades have been amazingly kind to us.

As the weather has got hotter, so the amount of showering has increased and our water usage has gone up. On board we have a DC Whispertech NZ Generator as the heart of our charging/watermaking system. For the techies amongst you, the whispergen is an external combustion engine, which has four cylinders filled with nitrogen surrounded by a constant heat burner, a Stirling engine.

This unitsee photoproduces a constant 30 amps at 24 volts, is near silent, uses hardly any fuel, is designed to run for long periods of time and works automatically on a voltage sensor. A miracle! I have now completed 11 Transatlantic voyages with the unit and it has served us amazingly well. During the trip we are able to meet the general electricity needs of the boat, as well as running the watermaker and the AC freezer for up to five or six hours a day.

We have four separate water tanks on board, and when we left Las Palmas we sealed off the bottom three. We have only been using water from the top 160 litre tank, and refilling this every day from the watermaker. If we have a watermaker failure we plan then to ration our way through our remaining supply. In addition to tank water, we also carry one, one and a half litre bottle of water per person per day, as well as numerous cans of soft drinks, beers, wines etc. We are not going to go thirsty! Last night’s meal of stew was memorable for two reasons. The first, that Dave A again managed to have three helpings! The second, we devoured an enormous apple crumble – just delicious, we’ll have that again, please!

There is a four-hour time difference between Las Palmas and St Lucia, so every few days we move the clocks back an hour to try and ensure that dawn and dusk are kept at reasonable times. Today is one of those days, so at local midday time we move our watches back an hour, each of the two watches doing an extra half hour on their shift.

During last night we gybed onto a new heading towards St Lucia. By midday UTC today we have sailed another 200 miles towards St Lucia, making our total distance run under sail 2,332 miles, with 513 miles left to sail to St Lucia.

All’s well on board. A bientot, Julian