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.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Day 6 - so this is normal, is it?

Our position as at 21.00 GMT, Thursday 16th May:
05 degrees 37 minutes south, 102 degrees 01 minutes west
Distance run in last 24 hours: 175 nm
Another cracking 24 hour run and life aboard has settled into a steady routine. We're now acclimatised to the sea conditions and the weird sleep patterns so are able to tackle a few more things than the basic eat-sleep-read routine of the first few days. However, what has become normal us is still a pretty different experience from 'normal' sailing so if you were teleported aboard right now, even as the most experienced coastal sailor, you would find it quite a shock and would probably comment along the lines of:
  1. Wow, it's hot
  2. The sea's really pretty rough
  3. The boat's really rolling
  4. I can't see anything but waves and sky (no,wait, there's Stormvogel a mile away)
  5. The boat's flying along
  6. Why isn't anyone steering?
Yes, we'd say, it's a bit warm but shorts and no shirt is a comfy rig and there's at least a breeze across the boat. We daren't open any hatches for fear of rogue waves so our cabin is a bit stifling at times unless we run a fan. The sea is quite scary at first sight, big waves and lots of white caps where the wind tears the crests off them. On the south coast we'd describe this as rough but actually here the waves are regular and Maunie just lifts over them so the deck is mostly dry; the rolling isn't so bad when you get used to it but we move around her with one hand holding on at all times. The horizon is pretty vast (and wait till you see the night sky) but, apart from a procession of white cumulus clouds, the reassuring sight of Stormvogel's sails, bright and white in the sunshine, is the only thing to break up the view. Keep your eyes peeled, though, Dianne saw a whale only 50m away this morning. And, yes, we're sailing at nearly 7 knots with full main and yankee on a broad reach with Winnie doing the driving, effortlessly, so we only look up when a rogue wave knocks her off course – most of the time she recovers but very occasionally needs a helping hand on the wheel.
So, while you are taking stock of your new temporary home, holding on tight, you'll see us move relatively easily around the boat, accustomed to the motion and oblivious to the rolling which would probably have you feeling a bit nauseous. You'll notice us getting on with things – Dianne has just finished cleaning out the hanging locker where the life jackets and (currently unused) waterproofs hang (there was a bit of mildew forming in the warm, tropical air) and is now weighing out the ingredients for flapjack, though 'weighing' is more like guesswork as the scales don't work in a moving boat. Graham is at the laptop, checking the weather files and writing the blog, and is about to set up the fishing line after making up some new lures and traces. The short run of the generator during the night, just to give the batteries a boost before the solar panels took over in daylight, means that there's hot water from the immersion heater so showers in the cockpit are also on the agenda. Once she's finished baking, Di will go and get some sleep this afternoon before supper (the second portion of our sausage casserole from 2 nights ago) and then get ready the first of her two night watches. You'd be welcome to stay for supper, of course, but you'd probably want to be teleporting back to somewhere where the floor doesn't move and the smaller horizon has a few more things in it to see and do. It was lovely to have you aboard – do drop us an email to let us know what you thought of the experience.

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