The Catamaran Adventures of Noel and Ceu
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Perfect Sailing

On Wednesday night we were cruising along at a gentle three knots. The sea was calm and it was lovely sailing. But it wasn’t to last.

First the wind died.

The sea was glassy smooth, the sun bright and strong. It was perfect weather for sunbathing. Unfortunately it meant we weren’t getting anywhere. With no watermaker, and a limited supply of water we didn’t have the luxury of drifting along like Phillipe of Gaia did (yesterday he did just 25 miles in 24 hours!). It was time to turn on one of the engines.

By using just one at 2000 rpm we can make about 3.5 knots through the water, plus whatever help the wind gives us, and it uses just one litre an hour of diesel.

Adding the second increases our speed a knot, but of course doubles the consumption. And pushing it to 2500 rpm almost doubles it again. Not what we need to do on a long passage like this.

Then the current turned against us.

We seemed to have found an eddy in the gulf stream that was flowing 1 knot AGAINST us. By Thursday night we were making under two knots even when we had a gentle 4 kts of wind to help us.

We decided to steam resolutely north west, hoping to get to the regular gulf stream as soon as we could.

For a day and a half we steamed along. Now and then we changed engines as Offri was sleeping over the port one, so we would switch to starboard when he was sleeping.

And now and then we would furl or unful the jib depending on whether was absolutely no wind, or just almost no wind.

The target was 37 deg north. And, sure enough, when we hit it at 6pm last night our speed went from 2 kts to 4 kts – with no change in course, and no change in weather. At least now there was some prospect of actually arriving in the Azores one day!

Then, this morning at 5am the forecast wind arrived! The engines were turned off, the spinnaker hoisted, and now we were stomping along at 7 – 8 kts on beam reach.

The sun is shining, the sea is calm, but the wind is up and Life Part 2 is moving again.

Ah, the perfect sailing day.

Sunday, 22 May, 2011, 6:07am GMT – 37 deg 57′ N 052 deg 50′ W sailing at 7 kts with spinnaker and main up.

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