27th December 2016
Position: 48º31.7N 005º11.9W
Wind: E F4
Swell: NE 3-4ft
Sky: 1/8 – stratus.
Weather: Beautiful but cold clear starry night.
A rich and varied day of sailing and life here aboard Discoverer. Last night’s good fun sailing couldn’t last forever, and we ended up with a tricky couple of night watches trying to make good progress. The wind eased, and then became very variable as it slowly made it round to east of north. This left us with very little power in the sails to play with, and a bit of residual swell created a real challenge on the helm to keep the boat moving in an acceptable direction. However early this morning it all formed into a steady breeze from the East, and we were once again shifting along nicely.
A mid-morning change to the largest of our headsails (the yankee 1) revealed a small rig tuning issue, which took us a few hours to get to grips with, and several ‘up, down, up again, down again, up again, down again’ routines with the headsail to finally be sure we had it sorted. By the time this was done, it was obviously now too windy for the yankee 1, so the 2 came up on deck and was soon flying proudly, pulling us along in exactly the direction we wanted to go – an unusual and rare occurrence when sailing!
Much to the delight of the team the night and day has been punctuated by frequent dolphin appearances, who have been looking after us well and carefully swimming every inch of water ahead of the boat to check it is clear for us to continue. We haven’t seen any of our Channel Dolphin Squad in a few hours now, but look forward to being met by members of the Biscay Dolphins Association soon.
The ‘Projects Team’ has been hard at it all afternoon. Our resident electrician, Mr. Seb Kosmala, has extricated the brand new battery charger from the generator space, and officially condemned it as being beyond a fuse, therefore beyond our means of repair. This leads nicely onto the exploits of our resident spanner monkey and boy wonder Henry, who can be found wherever there is trouble or excitement; a bit like a sailing yacht superhero I suppose. Today we discovered some oil in the engine room that wasn’t there before, and now that we are using our engine to charge the batteries in leiu of the generator/battery charger combo this elicits more concern than usual. Henry has now created an engine room so clean you could prepare dinner in it, so on our next engine run we should be able to pinpoint where any leak is coming from, or if what we found was just some old spillage that hadn’t become apparent until we got the boat properly sailing and everything heeling over again. There might be another chapter to this particular mystery yet…
The routine of cooking and cleaning is now in full swing, with consistently great food emerging from the galley every few hours. The victualling process and prep created a new phenomenon – Shnack Paks. These are like a normal snack pack you might give the night watch to keep them happy and quiet, but a Shnack Pak is something special. We’re not entirely sure why yet, but Ty certainly seemed to think them special enough to invent words in typical Aussie fashion, and they are going down a treat.
Once again, we’re approaching another TSS, this time off Ushant, and will soon have gone past this we will be making best speed across Biscay. I’m off to see our way through this and keep the boat trucking along at 10+kts, so from a happy, well-fed and fast Discoverer crew, have a great evening!
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