Atlantic Crossing – Day 9

Blogger: John
Date: 19-Feb-2020
Location: Past 1/3 of the way to the Caribbean, getting on for halfway. Total to Date: 1113nm
24 Hour Run: 149nm (another new 24 hour record – so close to the magical 150)

Well, it’s been an interesting day today. For the first time talk in the cockpit has moved to ‘the end’. Last night we passed the 1,000 mile point and in another two or three days we should pass halfway. Debate today has been whether we should make landfall in very poor, very beautiful Dominica or in chic French, Martinique. Do we need to be broken back into civilisation gently or not? Current consensus is for Martinique as a good meal, easy living and a bit of culture are high on the list of desirables. It’s also easy to get flights from there for IJ and myself. But the thing that really swung it for IJ was that the tourist guide says that Martinique is the place for ‘lying on the beach. Speedo wearing grandpas abound here..’!

Back on board and it’s another lively day. We’re pretty used to apparent downwind speeds of 25+ knots now with occasional waves jumping up and slapping the unprepared on the back. It’s still not warm though especially at night when foul weather gear remains de rigeur. [Ah, just passed another magic number …1,111 miles].

Spurred on by Mariel’s nocturnal blog post yesterday I was just beginning my effort at 10.30pm when I heard an ominous grinding noise as we rolled from side to side. Oh no, not the rudder! But no, the improvised shaft brake had lived up to its name and had indeed ‘braked’. The prop shaft went a-spinning with nasty resultant vibrations. This is a pretty harsh environment. Everything is tested and things do break. Too dark (no moon now) to effect a repair until daylight I spent an uneasy night. That was the time of course that the winds picked up, the waves built and we flew along regularly sailing at 8 knots and once briefly hitting 10 knots as we surfed down one of the ever building waves. [I’m sitting typing this now in the nav station with one foot braced against the galley side]. Anyway morning arrived and we had a plan. We needed to slow the boat so I could refix that shaft brake. First we hauled in the heavily reefed mainsail but this had no effect so we turned into the waves whilst I quickly made the repair. Great teamwork and in a few minutes we were off again bowling along at 6.5 to 7 knots.

It’s been pretty hard to prepare meals for the last couple of days (you never have enough appendages to stop things from flying around) but soups and homemade bread have been excellent from Gill and Mariel. We are expecting a few more days of these conditions according to our ace ‘weather router’ Jack on Carpe Diem over in Colombia, Central America. Thanks Jack, great info on alternative routes.

We’ve had a bit of a sort out today so the dripping oranges and mangoes from the hanging nets have been eaten. Not so many water bottles in evidence now either as each time we finish drinking one it is cut up into little strips and stored away for later disposal. Peelings and paper go overboard and tins crushed.

That’s it for today. All good aboard wild riding Mehalah.

M, G, IJ, and J

Use with SHOW JOURNEY to track our progress.

One thought on “Atlantic Crossing – Day 9

  1. After reading your blog yesterday Mariel, your Granny’s forthright opinion came to mind. When asked how she felt about sailing, she said “It’s lovely when it stops”!! We’re loving the blog, thank you for taking us with you. Love Penny xx


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