4 December 2019
Miles traveled by Mindelo: 2060
Location: practically 33 miles from St. Lucia, just past the 60th west meridian and just above the 14th parallel north, about 850 miles from the equator.
We are almost there, an ocean swallowed up in 13 days of absolute, satisfying and never too violent sailing. The sea and the wind were generous, Ariel extraordinary, perhaps above expectations, as if he were at home, and we, his guests, all the credit goes to you more than us. About 2100 miles in 310 hours, now more now less, at an overall average of 6.8 knots, without using the engine except to turn it a little, to change the generator on a couple of occasions to recharge the batteries , but without the need to use it as a propeller because the wind has never left us alone.
The production of alternative energy through the fixed solar panels and the silent wind (wind generator) have satisfied us even if they are not sufficient to guarantee total autonomy at sea without using the diesel generator, which they do instead in the harbor or in the port, where consumption is reduced due to the non-use of autopilots and instruments.
Ariel is equipped with numerous devices for instrumental navigation and safety, always double and constantly on 24 hours a day, two autopilots that work in synchrony to halve the effort, constantly in use, and another back-up that we make work for a few hours every now and then. You are at the helm only on special occasions, due to the need for manual steering in case of changes of sails, or for particularly demanding sea situations or for pure pleasure, otherwise self-steering with wind mode, i.e. you adjust the sails and the autopilot behaves exactly as a helmsman would feel the wind, and therefore change the course according to its direction.This mode in the latest generation autopilots guarantees lower consumption and above all greater safety off shore because it can manage wind changes simply by changing the route. Both Raymarine and Lewmar, the two brands of our autopilots are proving very reliable.
We produced about 2000 liters of water and we never lacked the comfort of a morning or afternoon shower, we did gymnastics every other day and always shared lunches in the cockpit and dinners in the “ocean tavern” comfortably seated at the table, even when the sea wasn’t exactly very kind. Unfortunately there was no fishing; or better on 3 occasions 3 huge fishes have attached themselves to our lures, as is usually done, but on all occasions the line has given way due to too much force. We have attributed this problem to two factors: 1 the always high speed (in addition to 8 knots), and the rig of the fishing rod prepared perhaps for a Mediterranean and not oceanic fishing, but I say perhaps because it was made to prepare by those who do it by trade, but unfortunately it turned out to be a weak point.I will see to S Lucia to completely modify the line / bait binomial, trusting in the sure greater experience of the suppliers in the area. However, judging from the SSB radio contacts with some boats in the fleet it emerged that the fishing was not fruitful for many in this ARC, especially for the fastest ones, therefore we believe that the speed factor had a considerable influence.
Fortunately, we have no particular problems except the fixing of the bowsprit, the impeller of the generator and a “tail blow” of the Genny in the light of the green road to starboard, which we repaired in the first section between Las Palmas and Mindelo and the recent (last night) Fabrizio’s ruinous fall due to a murderous wave, on the commander’s chair, which he irreparably yielded, but saved his friend from perhaps worse damage.
Mixed crews on both legs, of beginners and more experienced.
In this section, praise goes to Maurizio , owner of a Zuanelli 40, a reliable navigator who needed to deal with the ocean and with those who have already crossed it several times; faithful and precise in the maneuvers, present in both sections and immediately appointed with good reason and with my second merit; between the lines … it is likely that Hallberg Rassy will become owner in the near future.
Fabrizio, psychiatrist physician at the first real experience of the sea off shore, prudent, observer and willing to learn the seafaring art; evenings at the Taverna dell’Oceano to philosophize about history, medicine, religions and much more from its origins to the present day will pass into Ariel’s story.
And then there is Renzo , good, kind and helpful, more expert in fabrics than in the “sailboat” universe, even if he, as owner of a 31-footer, is convinced of the opposite; however, it must be said in his honor that at the change of sails and at yesterday’s jibe with spinnaker genoa (change of course with the wind in the stern), that the low charge, the high charge and the retention of the pole, (the real hard bones for all sailors) have finally found a clearer place.
In the first leg we had Marcello, Fulvio and Beppe, two pilots and a retired journalist, different approaches to the sea and sailing world. Marcello, of military origin, Tornado tester, brilliantly solved the pole problem with a written procedure, which he will never forget. Fulvio, more Naif, the airline pilot, made it his own with a different, less systematic, but equally effective method. Having had to deal with routes, meteorology, navigation instruments, albeit in the sky and not in the sea, made them quickly get in tune. Beppe, the creative, journalist and also not a novice shipowner and sailor has pleasantly contributed to navigation and with Marcello, also and in a largely satisfactory way to the on-board kitchen, and by writing some pieces published in the online press, which will continue to exit until arriving in Australia.
Now we will put Ariel to rest for a month, all at home and we will return with the preparation of the World ARC which will start from S. Lucia on 10 January 2020 with other friends on board and especially with Cecilia. Continue to follow Ariel’s adventures on this website and on La Stampa on line.
Here soon dawns, the plotter missing 26 miles, the first ships and the first boats approaching the island begin to appear … “instrumental” signs that the earth is close, but yesterday at sunset a beautiful black bird with a large wingspan , circled and glided around Ariel for over half an hour, the first greeting from the Caribbean came from the sky.
See you next time
Paolo & Ariel Crew