Anthony Hopkins reports from Eternity of Hamble about their communication and power problems
Having eventually managed to extract ourselves from the windless zone to the North of the Cape Verde Islands we have had two terrific days sailing, and going down wind with the twin headsails staysail and main in approximately 20kt winds Eternity is at her best. We managed 176 miles the first day and a marginally shorter distance today. It was exhilarating stuff especially at night when, although there is no moon at the moment, there was good visibility under the stars. We reefed occasionally but it did not seem to affect the average speed particularly.
Then today, having just reported our midday position we sailed over a piece of floating fishing net, which became entangled with the rudder. At first we thought it might have been the propeller, but by heeling the boat we could see where it was caught. Going downwind in moderate seas getting rid of it was not easy, and we elected to bring it on board if possible, rather than cut it loose and leave it for some other unfortunate boat to get caught in. After much debate we decided to bring the boat to a stand still, try and hook the net over the stern, pull it forward and away from the rudder, then bring it aboard.
Having waited in vain for a couple of hours to see whether the wind would drop we had a go anyway, conscious of the need to look out for hooks that may be attached. To our relief we were successful first time, and we now have the net in a bag on the stern, as proof of our concern for the welfare of other sailors and the environment. We are on our way again.
This whole trip seems to have been a mix of good and bad fortune. When the weather was bad and no matter what we tried it did not seem to work. The boat went really well, except for the emails, (more of that in a minute) but at least we have not heard any more from the FBI. Now with the boat going well, we had a communication failure two mornings ago when we were suddenly unable to receive emails, and we could see the number in the Inbox building up. Nothing we tried on board could clear the system, and after several hours of frustration we freed things up with the help of a contact in the UK.
Then yesterday morning we suddenly seemed faced with an almost total loss of power, as a result of another ardverc failure (I don’t know why). At the thought of providing candlelight dinners in addition to suffering the deprivations mentioned in my last report this led to the au pere jumping ship immediately.
However, as the result of further calls to the UK we now have one ardverc working where we previously had two and the level of power generation is better than it was before!
Overall we are quite pleased with our progress over the last few days, and we are gradually recovering from our poor start. We have the prospect of favourable winds for the next couple of days, and we still haven’t used our engine to drive the boat.