Flashback Leaving Las Palmas

We picked up a photo kindly sent to us by a spectator who was on the wall as we left Las Palmas and this is almost the opposite of the WCC ARC’s own photo. That’s pretty cool;

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Going out through the harbour exit with 3,000nm ahead of us was a launch into the unknown and the send off meant emotions were running high. Pity we were launching straight into a cold front!

Our thoughts on this in the future; head for Mindelo. It’s fun and the floating marina bar served us the best wahoo and chips with hot chilli sauce that we have ever had.

Haunted by an elbow

Can nobody sort out an exhaust elbow? Our original gave out off Trafalgar Point on the way to Gibraltar when the exhaust clamp joining two sections split. The sections were then too badly corroded to re-join. So we were quoted about 4k euros with a leadtime of maybe never by the local boatyard in La Linea. Instead we had Lancing Marine  make a new elbow for about £500 gbp which was supposed to be one piece but turned up as two.

The new exhaust lasted a few engine hours when the clamp between the two parts again sheared and we had to pull into Mindelo, Cape Verde Islands, to have the two pieces welded shut so we could ignore the clamp.

And below you can see the condition of the elbow today. The Mindelo weld wasn’t good enough and the elbow is leaking gases and salt water. The manufacturers material looks a bit suss but maybe our welder used a soft iron weld instead of stainless. That would explain alot.

Below is an extremely expensive Mussel and Chicken Empanada which could probably outlive our exhaust elbows.

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Que? Esta Agua?

 

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Seems like it’s happy juice at least. Something’s always going on in the town square, this time for the whole of August. We won’t be around for it but Madness are headlining next Friday.

And lastly our favourite steak house. Well a grill in fact supported by excellent local tapas. Great atmosphere, extremely busy at about 2pm, and with steak cooked a-pointe in 5 minutes flat for 8 euros it’s no surprise it’s busy.

Creeping up on Coruna

DTG 30nm or about 6 hrs having crossed the 30 mile wide and very busy shipping separation zones off Finisterre. ETA about 0630 so in keeping with almost all our arrivals it’s a night time thing! Making 7.5 to 8.5kn for the last 24 hours but wind gradually easingfrom F5 to 3/4 as we head along the north shore. Visibility became poor as soon as the sun started to set and is due to remain that way. We have now crossed our 2013 track completing our circle of the north Atlantic; whether of any significance we have no idea and we will have to see if it gives rise to any level of focus in the days ahead.

Galloping toward Galicia

We set the sails at 5am last night in the magic 11-12kn wind range provided we headed onto a reach. The wind was due to veer so we took the gamble. Initially we were making 6kn toward Cork, then gradually Falmouth, Brest and finally with the wind stable from the NW, La Coruna. By 9am the wind had died again and we were making 1.5kn! We were very close to choosing the drift about and wait option but as the rig wasn’t banging too much we just tightened our course to windward and left things as they were. Wind filled in again at 11am and we have had one blip since then but otherwise making about 6kn toward Spain. La Coruna? Maybe but right now we are being set south so we may land in a Ria. But that would leave negotiating Cap Finisterre on the table so tomorrow we will look closely at how to get a bit further north. It could be that there is a mini-transat race of some kind going on as two 7m sailing vessels have passed us today heading toward the Azores. 7m? We think these guys are amazing. Of course they are going faster than us! DTG 194nm La Coruna.

A simple passage?

So this was supposed to be a short 1,200nm run in the prevailing southwesterlies straight to Brest. Started that way making 8-9kn but then 36 hours later and puff the wind had blown itself out. Then the exhaust hose starts to rule out motoring as a pinhole leak deteriorates. So today was spent tapping away at the 328nm distance to La Coruna at 2.8 to 3.5kn in a 7-9kn wind. That was when the going was good. Then nightfall came and the wind dropped again to about 4kn. We had to take down all sail and the choice was to drift or tickover in grear and see how it goes. So here we are motoring at 2.8kn with 313nm to go (ETA 4 days time) after about 18 hours travel. If we stop then we will just roll in the swell so movement means a little stability. Wind is scheduled to arrive tomorrow.

Ocean seems huge now

This was only supposed to be a small stretch with just 1,200nm to do at most even if we headed to Falmouth. But now, after motoring at 5kn for almost two days and seeing the curved horizon all round us for 36 hours the ocean seems endless. The engine hammers on and we would all like to have the wind put it out of it’s misery. But the dead zone is getting quieter still as the wind sits on our tail peaking at 3.5kn. Coastal cruising is one thing but the endless pounding of the rig and gear in the swell of the ocean is something altogether different. Even without sailing the hours of rocking gently seek out weaknesses in systems, joints, ropes and rigging. We have a vital bolt which holds the in-boom furling universal joint together, one of two, and it spends it’s life trying to escape. As it lives in an environment dominated by rotation it uses the slightest rocking motion to slowly unthread itself. I have to tend to it often but can only get a large screwdriver on it when the main is fully out. Clearly the joint was designed by an engineer and not a sailor as there is no means of locking the bolt beyond threadlock (in which it shows no interest). Another piece to redesign when we get home. Passed a bunch of dolphin fishing today. They circled a school whilst smaller ones leapt out of the water and crashed down on the outer edges of the circle to keep the fish ensnared. We are passed by one ship per day but as we close Finisterre we should see more and then eventually we will cross the TSS on the point. Wind is due in about 24 hours. DTG 416nm