The wind hole that we've been trying to avoid acted as a something of a magnet to Maunie so, despite our best efforts, we fell into it at 18.00 last night and took the decision to motor through it for about 14 hours (the Fleet tracker will show a very straight line where we had the engine and autopilot running). The wind hole was also full of very heavy rain – Rich described it as his wettest sail ever! Listening to the SSB radio net, lots of other boats motored between 12- 15 hours though the hole.
Eventually the weather cleared and we emerged this morning into sunshine and, thankfully, a reasonable (but not quite strong enough) breeze so we hoisted the Parasailor at 10.00 UTC and we're currently trundling along at about 5 knots, enjoying the silence after all hour of the engine noise. The hot sun means that the bimini sunshade has been rigged over the cockpit and we think that the beanbag will be rigged on the foredeck after lunch, with a strict rota of usage between us!
There are positives to be found, of course, even when the sailing doesn't quite go to plan. The level and relatively steady boat last night allowed Graham to deliver a tour de force Steak Night dinner – excellent rib eye steaks with roast potatoes, carrots and beetroot – which left him melting in front of the cooker but was received very well by the crew. We also ran the watermaker for a few hours so have plenty of piping hot water (heated by the engine) for a substantial clothes wash today, plus crew showers; now that we are out of the rain zone it's hot but the stifling humidity below has reduced a little.
As the stocks of meat in the fridge dwindle, we're back to fishing for our suppers. Yesterday afternoon we hooked into something very large; the reel screamed as the monster fish took about 100m of line out and we just couldn't wind it back in. Just as well, probably, the 14ft Tuna (it must have been at least that) chomped through the line after 5 minutes. Hopefully we'll land something smaller soon.
It's been great to receive your emails – Steve Gamman has been delivering weather routing info (ie "You're going to sail into the hole!") and a lady from our neighbouring village, Holford, sent us a message, having read about our trip in the Kilve News and started to follow the blog. We can't read any comments posted onto the blog out here (but will catch up with them in Saint Lucia) but any emails to maunie (at) mailasail.com will get to us.
Best wishes from the Maunie crew