Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day 9: 10.45.743'N 044.36.550'W, 138nm (24h)

December 16, 1200 UTC
Distance to go: 690nm
Wind and waves: NE 6-9kn, 2m
Sails: Halfwinder, port tack

Winds have become even lighter and we have hoisted the halfwinder for the first time since it fell under the boat. There was a slight tear (10 cm) that needed to be taped and it was a bit of a fiddle to get it back into the snubber but it's flying again and looks beautiful. It has also added a solid 1,5 knots to our incredibly slow 3,5-4 knot average of this morning. The electric autopilot (Otto) has been in use almost constantly in the last few days as we have been on an course directly downwind. Willy the Windpilot, our wind steering system, does not seem to hold us on as steady a course as Otto and this weaving course causes the sails to flap and the boat to loose speed. Rather a disappointment as Willy the Windpilot does not use any electricity and Otto the Autopilot draws quite a few amps, 24 hours a day. Generally our electricity system is self sustaining as long as there is sun for the solar panels to charge the batteries. Unfortunately, due to the additional draw of the autopilot we are forced to run the engine for a few hours every couple of days in order to top up the charge on the battery, not a big deal but it makes an awful noise and uses diesel.

The monkeys had a long bath in the cockpit this morning and had a great time playing with Seb's fishing lures (without the hooks). The weather has become sweltering and there is no breeze to refresh us. The cabin temperature at the moment is 33 degrees. The weather reports predict slight increase in the winds by lunchtime tomorrow. In the meantime, we sit and steam and stare out at the water hoping to see a whale.

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