Scorching weather above decks and computer problems below

Yacht Saga Insurance
Tuesday 6th March 2007
Lat 28 13S Long 039 15W
Miles To Norfolk, USA: 4,901 nm
Distance In 24 Hours: 125.1 nm
Average Speed In 24 Hours: 5.21 knots

“A typical 24 hours onboard SAGA. 1000: awakened by the Iridium phone, after a wonderful 2 hour uninterrupted sleep; morning press call. Muesli for breakfast, it seems to work for the Swiss. 1000 GMT: Just downloaded the latest weather. Its wrong. It says I should have winds west of north, which I don’t have, they are ENE. This is confirmed by the course of the nearest boat to me AGD. My weather says he
should have ENE’lies but he is steering 019. So the directions on the weather files I am receiving are 40 – 50 degrees out. Not sure what reliability to put on these predictions for forward planning, but I have nothing else. In any case can’t steer anything better than this at the moment.”

“Potential problem looming is a high developing by the 6th at 1800 hours 180 miles right north of me. They say it will move back east for a while but who knows. The forecasters aren’t earning their rations at the moment. ”

“Pumped out the sail locker, mopped up around the keel, topped up the diesel tank, charged the batteries, had breakfast. Hot and humid below already but daren’t open the watertight bulkhead and hatch to the sail locker to create a draft. Dare not go on deck either as the sun is burning. Squadrons of flying fish about but all small, say 3 inches long, whereas I used to pick up some as long as 12 inches and you could make fish pie with them. ”

“1300 GMT: Decided to download another weather programme. Switched on computer, it started, then switched off. Re-booted and tried again, same thing.. Went into re-set, tried various combinations, it ignored them all and just switched off. Tried help, followed advice, no change. Re-booted, checked dongle and connections, all OK, no change. Well that solves the weather forecasting problem, I don’t have it. And to think I gave up two priceless days going to Ushuaia to have this fixed.”

“1500 GMT: Checked the engine next, impellor OK, but water in fuel trap so drained it. It was reluctant to recharge with fuel so replaced the fuel filter and ran it for 15 minutes to check all was OK. At least this is technology I understand!”

“1700 GMT: The wind had come round a touch and decreased, so set more sail, the double handed winch handle shearing in the process so I must be getting stronger! Lunch, I am 3 hours behind the UK, tuna, chopped raw onion and mayonnaise. Then let out more sail as the wind continues to decline. Worked with the computers in the afternoon. Discovered that Windplotter would accept gribs so now I have weather information again, but it is the same information and therefore untrustworthy. Interestingly the Sat C gives no weather for this area. Up to the border with Uruguay the Argentine Air Force forecasts came through which were excellent, but now there is nothing.”

“I decided to continue trying to get north east anyway. If the high forms then I’ll just have to suffer it. Boat speed slowly dropped to 2 knots so there was no way I could try and sail round where the high is due to form anyway and the further east I am the sooner I will pick up the trade winds. As the wind dropped I was able to open the forward hatch and the watertight door and create a draft through the boat which was all the more welcome as there was quite a smell of diesel in the main cabin where the engine is, as is also the nav area, galley, sleeping accommodation.”

“2100 GMT: The sun is setting, the wind is down to 3 knots, we are making 1.5 knots, but its cool. Opened a bottle of wine and sat beneath the mainsail where the draught is greatest and watched the sun set. No green flash. If this wasn’t a race I would have been quite contented. Thought about the wonderful display of daffodils in my garden now. An hour later the moon rose. Fantastic to think humans have trodden upon it. The sky is very clear and the stars are showing brightly. The distances are beyond imagination. If our sun was a football in the UK, the nearest sun, the size of another football, would be in Cape Town.”

“The cabin is cooling down at last. Put my hand in the food box, pulled out chilli con carne boil in a bag. Heated it, added a chopped onion to be different. Went down to sleep. 0020 big wind shift, tacked onto 330 degrees. No clouds, no signs for a wind shift at all. 0510 another wind shift, backed until the course was NW – tacked. Sea much flatter, no longer pounding. 0535 Wind veered 35 degrees, tacked again. Sent this. RKJ”