Friday, March 10, 2017

St. Helena: a good day

I had a good day, but then the last week at sea were all good days, as have been all those since I’ve been at St. Helena.  I’m on a roll.

This morning before going ashore I removed everything from the v-berth, lifted, scrubbed and dried the cushions, then restowed, moving some items I’m going to need when I go to sea from their bags to the Great Cabin. 

While I had access to the bins beneath the v-berth, I got the can of Interdeck and painted the strip exposed by the smaller replacement solar panel on the port side of the mast, and the can of Deks Olje.  I want to oil the wood, particularly the floorboards.  Having put all the stuff back that lives above the cushions, the Deks Olje is still out and I will have to find a new home for it on the next passage.  I also scrubbed mold.  It may not look much different, but the v-berth is dry and cleaner and better organized than it was.  The duffle bags up there are tied in place, but knockdowns powerfully shift things about.

I cleaned the bilge.

The bilge on most boats is unseen.  GANNET’s is up  close and personal.  Debris falls down there.  I can reach it and do.  Because of narrow spaces beside the nuts on the keel bolts, I sometimes have to use a hack saw blade to push stuff to where I can remove it. 

I sprayed a second coat of waterproofing on the hood.

I discovered that both the depthsounder and the steaming light were not working.  The switch on the electrical panel that controlled the depthfinder has failed.  I moved the wire to another switch and the depthfinder works.  Our mooring is in 68’/21 meters of water.

The steaming light problem was obvious, I think.  A wire had corroded and broken away from a crimp fitting.  I crimped on another.  It is not yet dark, so I don’t know for sure if I have fixed the problem, which really isn’t much of one.  The steaming light is only used when powering after dark, which GANNET never does.  I was pleased to see that the new deck running lights are still working, but only because I like things to work rather than not.  They too are never used.

Almost 1800.  Just before coming below to write this, I was standing in the companionway sipping white wine.  Two masts were visible on the horizon.  One to the northeast on a boat approaching the mooring field.  One far off to the northwest, a vertical sliver on an otherwise flat horizon, on a 50’ boat that left this afternoon.  I’m surprised I can still see her.  She must be 15 or 20 miles out.

There is another small boat here.  A 27’ being sailed by two young men from Perth, Australia.  I have only spoken to them briefly on a ferry ride in to shore and don't know details of their voyage.  But good on them.

I expect to leave next Monday or Tuesday.  It should be easy to sail off this mooring.  The moorings are arranged in three parallel lines.  You know that given a choice, and I had one on arrival, I am in the line farthest from shore.  Depending on the wind, I might even be able to sail off the mooring with the G2.

I put in a waypoint off St. Lucia.  It is 3,729 miles distant, bearing 295º.  Rodney Bay, which is the location of a marina and a port of entry, is another 20 or 25 miles farther.

It should be a passage of three parts:  a trade wind broad reach from here to the doldrums; doldrums; a trade wind beam reach to St. Lucia.  

Divide 3800 by 120, a 5 knot day’s run, and you get 31.66 days.  By 132, a 5.5 knot day, 28.78.  By 144, a 6 knot day, 26.38.  The unknowable variable is the doldrums.  Our course from St. Helena to the Equator may zig-zag as I don’t want to loaf along as we did the last week coming here and may gybe broad reach to broad reach.

We pass within sight of Barbados a hundred miles before reaching St. Lucia.  I have never been to either.  From what I read, St. Lucia has better yacht facilities.  I may have visitors in the Caribbean and being in a marina would be useful.  If any of you have personal knowledge of these islands, I’d appreciate your sharing your information with me.

Time for another tumbler of boxed white wine and freeze dry chicken and noodles.


Here are two Prisma variations on the above sunset as seen from our mooring.


Twilight now, but dark enough so that when I turned on the steaming light, I could see it lit.

As I said, a good day.