Captain’s Log 8 Feb 2016 – A swim on the Equator

stewart Captain's Log 0 Comments

1130 507.2 miles to Waypoint 2
115.8 mile 24 hour run
Stew wins the ‘guess the daily run” game again! (Stew 115 miles, Zaya 112 miles, Tuya, more optimistic and accurate this time, 117 miles)
Later, the wind veered further and we could only steer 330° while keeping 3 sails full. So, we dropped the staysail. The wind continued to veer and the mainsail started blanketing the kite at 320°M, so dropped the main as well. Ran under the kite until 1900 when the wind died altogether.

Zaya hand steered from 1600 to 1830 as there was not enough apparent wind for the vane to be effective. We dropped the kite and started the port engine. We were 28 nautical miles south of the equator and this was to be expected. At 00°27.985’ S 029°43.9’W (approximately GMT -2) I thought the girls should have an experience we never forget. I shut the engine off, tied a rope to a fender and trailed it behind, lowered the ramp, stripped off and jumped in. The chart indicated the water here was 5,000 meters deep. It was a wonderful glassy blue. I took the facemask with me to check if anything big had taken up residence. It was all clear. Soon the girls joined in. There was lots of giggles, selfies and adrenaline all round. Great thrill and great fun. I had a swim around the hulls to look for the pilot fish and found a family? of 5 or 6, hugging close to mother.

Soon it was time to climb out, dry off, start the engine and resume our journey. Under one engine on 50% revs, we were making 3.6 kts boatspeed and 5kts over the ground, assisted by an appreciated 1.4 kt current. As sun set we cracked the last 3 Heinekens.

We steamed all night for 13 hours under motor, 4 hours port engine, 4 hours starboard, to conserve fuel. We have little idea how wide the ITCZ will be although all my research indicates it should be no more than 60 miles. As we had just 200 mile range we played the speed vs consumption curve. At 0815 we had burned a quarter of our fuel, a bit over 20 litres, and the wind began to return, right on cue. We have steamed about 66 miles.

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