Day 97, Year 6 Passage to St. Helena, Day 12-Slow Go
Date: Saturday, January 29, 2011, 1430 UTC
Weather: Overcast, Then Partly Sunny; Winds SE 10 (+ or – 5)
Temperature: Water and Air 69 degrees F
Latitude: 19 29.536 S
Longitude: 003 26.123 W
Miles Traveled: 1605
Miles to Go: 257
Location: Passage from South Africa to St. Helena

Slow go is better than no go, and slow go it has been today. Gradually we have gone from 150+ mile days to 120 mile days and this is where we’ll stay until we arrive at St. Helena. That is, this is where we’ll stay if we are lucky and keep the winds we have. People behind us are suffering more than we are as the forecast is for lighter and lighter winds as we get into this next week, so they are looking at a long passage to St. Helena or turning on the iron jenny. We sailed wing ‘n wing all night with winds in the 10 to 15 knot range, always coming from directly behind us. Once we were both up and about this morning, the winds became more easterly and we put all three sails out full on a broad reach. But the easterly change was short lived and an hour later we were back to winging it downwind. Then the winds went down to 6 knots and we hit our limit. When we are moving forward at only 3 knots, we turn on the engine. We motor sailed for about two hours and then just after noon the 10 to 14 knot winds returned. So we are lazing along at 4+ knots with 10 knots of wind pushing us along. But we’ll not complain. It is fairly calm, we are moving forward, and it feels good to be a little lazy for a change. We will probably still arrive in St. Helena on Tuesday morning, so all is well.

It was so calm this afternoon that I got motivated to start a “spring cleaning” regime. I realize it is not spring for you, but it is mid-summer down here so spring cleaning is months overdue. I started by making a list. Just doing that gave me the incentive to get a couple of things done this afternoon and it feels good to start checking things off the list. Mark is deep into Michener’s Caribbean and he has a hard time pulling himself away. But he did service one of our secondary winches that had gotten a bit tight and he did some tidying up on deck. When we left Simon’s Town we hung our fenders on the sissy bars up by the mast and hung all of our docklines on the stern rail. I had wanted those things reversed, so he did that today. He also pickled the watermaker as it won’t be in use until we reach the Caribbean and get the necessary parts for repair. I have slowed down on Winchester’s Atlantic as I have been working on getting the remainder of our South Africa photos edited and ready to be uploaded in St. Helena. I’m hopeful that I’ll actually get them all done, so I’ll be up-to-date on photos by the time we leave St. Helena for the Caribbean. At least that’s the goal.