Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day 6: 13.23.157'N 038.46.758'W, 143nm (24h)

December 13, 1200 UTC
Distance to go: 1,166nm
Wind and waves: NE 16-18kn, 2-2,5m
Sails: Main and genoa, port tack

Our world is still weebly wobbly. The seas tend to lull us into a nice rythm only to send us a choppy wave from at least 30 degrees off the norm to make sure that we are awake...wump. We try to get as much sleep as possible under the circumstances. Our clocks are set to UTC -2 and will adjust 1 hour every 3 days until we are on Suriname time, UTC-4. With our new watch system I go to bed at 1900, Emma and Macsen go to bed at 2000 and Seb takes the first 4-hour watch until 2300. My first watch spans 4-hours from 2300-0300. Seb takes 0300-0600 and then I take 0600-0900. The monkeys generally wake up again at 0800. In theory, Seb and I each get 7 hours of sleep. There are also slight opportunities to catch cat naps while on watch. Our egg timer is set to count down 15 minutes. Fifeteen minutes is apparently the time it takes between the first sighting of a tanker on the horizon until it is close to you, making it wise to perform visual checks every 15 minutes. Both the AIS and radar systems have alarms and they are set to go off when a ship comes within 12 miles.

So far we have come within three miles of five ships in the last five days, significantly less than during the rest of our passages. Two tankers on AIS, two fishing trawlers not on AIS, and this afternoon we glimpsed the mast on the horizon of a fellow sailor. It took only minutes before we contacted the sailboat on VHF and we were soon chatting about plans and perceptions of the crossing. It turned out to be a catamaran named Luar, manned by a delivery crew. They also left Mindelo on December 7 and are heading for Trinidad. They were enjoying the sunny weather and the wind. We bid good-bye with vigorous wishes of good winds, safe sailing, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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