Archive for March, 2008

Half Time

Friday, March 28th, 2008

After 11 days of either strong or no wind at all we finally get a taste of the true NE Monsoon. ‘BE’ gently heels over and gratefully transforms this subtle but determined shift in energy in amazing 6 knots plus. The bow cuts firmly into the deep blue, water rushes past fast and we all feel that something has changed. We are at the end of most fresh fruit and veg not to mention chocolate but the amazing experience of really moving again makes us all smile as we make in the last 24h as much progress as in two full days earlier in the trip.

Evacuation

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

With the weather and sea having settled down hopes were high that Marlon’s finally gets over his terrible seasickness… but his stomach has other plans. He hasn’t properly eaten and drunken for almost a week and therefore become so weak that he can hardly move. Having tried everything I could aboard it is clear to me that I have to act and hence make the decision to get him to land for professional treatment as soon as possible. Closest land is a week sailing away and therefore the only feasible option is to transfer him to a commercial vessel, which are over 5 times faster than us and mostly have medical staff aboard.

Marlon agrees and I jump on the radio to enquire help plus sail more north towards the main shipping lane. The first vessel to respond is a 100m Japanese support vessel for tankers. Nice people but not willing to help. However I have a nice chat, get some better medicine for Marlon and some cake and whiskey for the rest us. Better then nothing, I’d say.

One day passes but the next vessel is a winner. An about 300m Danish container vessel about 20 miles away offers help straight away and 1 hour after contacting the friendly captain, his chief officer is on board BE with 3 other crew to get Marlon. In the mean time the captain contacts an American war vessel close by which will pick Marlon up via helicoper to get him to land. We are simply stunned how quickly and efficient it all works and are happy for Marlon. And believe it or not, the Danish vessel gave us a slab of Coke as a present, which will go soooooo very nicely with the whiskey ;-) So, once the sails are up again we take a deep breath and have a dink together wishing Marlon to get well soon.

I am still very sad that this happened and will take some learnings out of it, however, I am also glad to see that the unspoken etiquette of sailing to help each other still exists. To me, this sets sailing apart from many other activities and maybe one day we are able to return the favor to someone else.

Rough start

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

This does feel familiar… but unfortunately to something I try not to remember. Since leaving the Maledives we’ve been constantly beating into the wind with at least one depression each day including quite strong squalls and rain. In between there are also calm patches which are especially pleasant in choppy sea. On top of that Marlon is doing tough fighting seasickness.

However, the good news is that Richard became a valuable member of team BE and together with Chloe, who is a real natural talent for this and enjoys it as much as I do, the three of us take all the shi*t the sea throws at us with quite some ease. Considering the short time we’ve spent together we have already developed a great understanding for each other, the boat and the sea, sometimes working hard for hours in pouring rain but always laughing over a cup of tea (yes, I am outnumbered here by English ;-) at the end. Wind is also not too strong keeping the sea neatly under 3m. Wind direction is not ideal but still enables us to sail roughly in the right direction.

In a nutshell, progress is poor but we’re having fun… still hoping for that one magic change which will bring back the NE monsoon with it’s sunny relaxed sailing and no wet weather gear. Till then cafe and cake ;-)

I see Red Sea

Monday, March 10th, 2008

Clearing out today for the 2000 nautical mile passage into the Red Sea. Richard from the UK and Marlon from Sri Lanka complete the team of 4 with Chloe and me.

First stop is likely to be Djibuiti for re-provisioning. NE monsson promises good sailing - We can’t wait to get out there.

IT LIVES !!!

Monday, March 10th, 2008

Long ago I’ve stopped counting my attempts to improve the windvane steering and almost accepted the unusual high steering forces caused by the tiller arm for the pendulum rudder and the almost impossible acrobatic procedure to set up teh hole thing up. So, whilst fascinated about my latest idea I was hesitant to get too excited…. but it works!!!

I’ve built a completely new rudder for the boat totally separately from the main rudder only for the wind steering and because it is far aft of the boat it works unbelievably well. No comparison to the old design, it’s so accurate and easy to set up…and also the main rudder works again perfectly. Only think missing i now a proper sea trial.

Even Bigger Fish

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

I just casually placed the fishing rod on the deck to grab my torch…. when this BIG MASSIVE MONSTER of a fish came and took the hook…. including rod! How embarrassing! So this one will stay just between us, alright!