Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

110 miles to go - and the Axelrod fails the bounce test

The perils of handling yogurt in a rolling boat!
Good morning from 21 degrees 21 minutes north, 66 degrees 26 minutes west. (about 30 miles NNE of the Venezuelan island of Puerto El Roque).
Well, this is proper Tradewind sailing alright – the wind's behind us so the yankee foresail is poled out to starboard and the mainsail is out to port, with a preventer line to stop the boom swinging as we roll. Winnie the Windpilot has done an admirable job for the past two days so we haven't had to touch the steering wheel at all. There's a reasonably large swell (about 2 metres) and every now and then Maunie does an unpredictable lurch, one of which caused the pot of Axelrod yogurt to go flying as we were making breakfast this morning. Actually, that has probably been the most dramatic event of the past day or so and Dianne complains that her last night watch (04.00 to 08.00) was boring as she had nothing to do and no ships to avoid.
It's quite a contrast to our Atlantic crossing where we had to contend with rain squalls, gales and then flat calms but, with just two of us aboard now rather than the ARC crew of four, we're not complaining. We've now settled into our watch pattern so yesterday Dianne stood the 08.00 to 14.00 watch, Graham did the 14.00 to 20.00 then Di had 2 night watches (20.00 to midnight and 04.00 to 08.00); the pattern automatically reverses so the next night Graham gets the two night stints. The watches tend to leave you feeling a bit jaded (4 hours sleep, if you can manage to nod off, is enough time to get into a really deep slumber so it's not great being awoken from it) but we can just about keep awake during the night watches (Graham resorts to podcasts on the iPod if it's a struggle to stay alert).
The favourable current which was pushing us along at nearly 2 knots yesterday seems to have left us now but we're still making around 6.5 knots towards Bonaire, via a waypoint which keeps us clear of Venezuelan waters. Overall, helped by the tide, we are several hours ahead of schedule so at the moment it looks as though we'll arrive in the very early hours of Monday morning. Our plan was to come into the port of Kralendijk in daylight so we may have to stooge around a bit. The normal course of events would be to anchor in the shelter of the island, well away from other boats and obstructions, to await daylight but the whole coast of the island is a designated Marine Part so anchoring is strictly forbidden to avoid damaging the coral and other aquatic life; we'll play it by ear when we get there.
Missed the rugby yesterday so please let us know the result of the England – Wales match! BBC World Service didn't mention it when we last checked! Happy St Patrick's Day to our Irish readers. If the wind was less we'd be flying our 'Irish Flag' – Maunie was originally an Irish boat (Maunie of Baltimore) so her cruising spinnaker is in the green, white and orange of the national colours!

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