Someone once described sailing across the Atlantic as MAMBA (miles and miles of bugger-all) and, certainly, as the wind died yesterday that's how it seemed to us at first. Night watches are monotonous under engine, without sails to trim, so we might have been forgiven for deciding to leave the boat under autopilot control and both get some decent sleep.
However, the photo, taken of our chart plotter at 04.40 this morning, shows why we would never run without a watchkeeper; after hours of MAMBA, we suddenly has 3 large ships crossing our track. The grey arrows are ships transmitting their AIS signals – the 4th one is Stormvogel – and the plotter tells us the CPA (closest point of approach). The vessel coming from the south, 'Darya Kirthi', had a CPA of only 250ft when we first saw her but she was a massive 751ft in length so, depending where her AIS transmitter was fitted, that could mean the middle of her deck. We were pleased to see her alter course by 10 degrees to port, so we missed each other by nearly a mile, indicating that her watchkeeper was doing his job!
Shortly after this we suddenly found ourselves with enough wind for sailing so the sails were set and, bliss, the engine stopped. Maunie left a beautiful luminous wake, with bright dots of phosphorescence tumbling in the disturbed water so it was a pretty magical but all-too-short moment. Half an hour later the engine was back on and the sails stowed but at least it gave Graham something to do on his watch.
Apart from a long, 2m swell, the sea has been very calm so we both managed some decent sleep and have enjoyed hot showers today. We also had a bonus display of dolphins in the smooth water, though they didn't stay long. The forecast remains for light winds for the next 24 hours (we've never run the engine for such a long period) but we should get some breeze on Wednesday afternoon. In the meantime, a spot of sunbathing on the foredeck I think.