Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Pole Dancing In the South Atlantic

Last Saturday we departed Ascension Island, bound for Suriname in South America, though the departure wasn't without its challenges.

First the anchor windlass failed when the chain was half way in, leaving 40 meters to be hauled in by hand, accomplished with a chain hook attached to our primary windlass in the cockpit.

Then one of my shoes blew overboard on a nasty leeward lurch, flying off the dodger as if it was unhappy with the wash I'd just given it. After retrieving the floating footwear, which took almost half an hour in lumpy seas, we re-hoisted the mainsail and discovered a small tear close to one of a the car attachments. Damn it !

Down came the mainsail, and we've proceeded ever since on a poled out genoa plus the staysail, wing and wing. Like all sailors we're a little superstitious, when it suits us, and we firmly believe that bad things come in threes, so nothing else will now go wrong on this passage. We hope...

As to the pole dancing, the motion of the boat is close to that kind if sexy sashay you might expect to see on stage. The spinnaker pole is holding the genoa out for the wind, and we've even experimented with our big boat hook to pole out the staysail. Proving that things do come in threes, yesterday the Man Over Board pole got into the act, failing above the float, so we spent an hour repairing that.

The voyage to Suriname will cover over 2600 nautical miles, and with the expected light trade winds from dead astern it will probably take around 20 days. Lots of time for reading books and fixing things that break. Suriname, and then Trinidad, was originally our destination for this year, though we changed that to the Azores and Europe after our delayed departure from South Africa. Later, we had a "management meeting" at Ascension Island and decided to take the easier passage, spending the next few months in Surinane, French Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago before flying home later in the year. This voyage will take us from 10 degrees south of the equator to roughly 10 degrees north, and as I write this we have only 2,180 Nautical miles to go!

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