Day 4 check in from BSL

29 09 2011

Morning all,


All is well on board BSL, we are having a great time and enjoying being settled into an onboard routine. Apologies for not sending out any blogs for a few days, we have been spending all our time either sailing or sleeping. We are hand steering almost 100% of the time, although the pilots are very good and have been very well set up, after reviewing data they are a few % slower than driving so for the most part  one of us is driving, the other sleeping or making coffee…


As mentioned in my previous post, we had a pretty uneventful trip out of Palma, and enjoyed getting a bit of a break on the fleet. We made a couple of tactical mistakes which cost us some miles and at one stage the lead, but we were very happy to lead the fleet out of the med. The med is an interesting place of contrasts, stunning sunsets, teeming with dolphins, but at the same time littered with monstrous feats of engineering freighting our daily essentials all over the world. They initially can be admired for their sheer size, then sit back and observe the mountains and mountains of unnecessary crap that is moved from one place to the other. Easy to say I guess, from our little 12m space where we can’t just whip up the road and buy a steak from Argentina or cheese from Italy or a car from Korea, we have to just make do with what is around us. Not only though littered with ships, but with masses of plastic, diving into the marina in Palma to check the bottom a few times I managed to pull out numerous discarded plastic items. A shame for such a pristine city. The rest of the med is much the same, and we see  bottles floating about out here daily.


Exiting the med was pretty straight forward, threaded the needle through a few ships, and had a nice blast through to Tarifa where we had a good shunt of 40 knots – we carried on out to be able to gybe and lay the western TSS limits, threw in a quick gybe and then took off south broad reaching through the night. A small region of very little pressure was evident in the bay off of Rabat, and there was no option but to try and punch through the middle. There was no way a buffalo girls was going to work here. So after the full court press of the previous two days the very light airs were met with mixed emotions – we could relax a little and have a good clean up, but unfortunately it can also become a lottery as to how to get out first. We seem to have come out OK, and have played the pressure and angles reasonably well so far.


After the pressure built we have enjoyed a bit of a chess match with the Love Boat, and guessing what sails they have due to the angles they are sailing as we constantly monitor their speed and angle on the AIS. Every change in speed or relative bearing created a whole  new discussion.


A few interesting encounters off the Moroccan coast as well…a lone fisherman in his 30 odd foot traditional wooden fishing boat, 30nm from the coast…maybe just trying to feed his family? Then a much larger and ominous looking fishing boat that could have just been curious and wanted a closer look but did give us a couple of anxious moments as he seemed to be determined to get close to us. Then late yesterday, amidst speculating where Halvard and Miranda were (they dropped out of sight ahead of us) there seened to be a large sail which we thought was great, we were hauling them in really quickly. It was actually Mar Mostro, the VOR entry making their way up to Alicante for the start of their trip around the world. Had a quick chat on the radio as they passed 50m to leeward of us then disappeared over the  horizon doing 12 knots upwind.


Generally all is very well on board. No breakages or injuries (except my feet trying to get used to a new pair of shoes which I have given up on), we are eating like kings and generally having a great time. I did however shock myself by realising today that I have not brushed my teeth since last Sunday. I promise to get onto this in the next  few days. Once I find my toothbrush…