Friday, October 31, 2008

1:30 AM watch

We are using Her Majesty's watch schedule, courtesy of Martin. It was developed by the Royal Navy, and has been in use for about 300 years. It is the source of the expression "dog watch" which probably derived from the term "dodge watch". Once each day, a few of the crew get a 2 your watch instead of the usual 4 or more hours on, so they "dodged" the watch. The two hour watch allows everyone to get offset enough so that everyone gets a rotation through the good and bad times for a watch.

What this means to me is that I am on watch from 10 PM until 4:00 AM, but I get tomorrow off.

What it means to you is that I am all caught up at the moment, having fixed all that we know is broken, and chose to share this time with you.

It is clear and calm, with light winds out of the west. We saw a sliver of the moon for the first time this trip; it set shortly after the sun. The stars are brilliant. We are motoring at present to cool the icebox and charge the batteries. I hope that we can sail tomorrow, but have my doubts
that there will be enough wind.

We are racing a frontal system to Bermuda, and it carries gale force winds to weak storm. That is a little less menacing than it sounds, as we were sailing in near gale winds the first day and a half, and it was fast, fun and safe. But gale force we would rather avoid.

We set minimum goals for progress for the next two days, sufficient to avoid the gale. Thus far we have managed to put some "in the bank", meaning we are ahead of that schedule. At the present rate, we should achieve our 17:00 goal by 10:00, 7 hours ahead of schedule. If we are lucky, that will give us time for a nice leisurely sail tomorrow, probably under spinnaker.

Talk to you later.

P.S. Dec 20, 2009

On a 6 hour shift, you have some time to blog. We always had two on watch through the night, so it was OK for one to go below and warm up, or make some coffee, tea or soup; or blog.

This post is the first I mentioned that we might have gone to Norfolk, now that it seems clear that we are going to Bermuda. No point in getting the second crew upset for nothing.

Paul and Bruce around sunset, notice that we are warmer already, no hats! Afternoons turned out to be the best times. Everyone would be up by about 14:00, and it was a time of camaraderie and usually the big meal of the day. Then the early morning crew was off to try for some sleep, and the evening watch set to work on the deck inspection.

Deck inspection was one of the really good things we did. Each evening an hour before the sun set, and each sunrise, we went around the boat and inspected the rig, electronics, lifelines, battery
condition, etc. etc. etc. I think it saved us from real trouble at least twice. One such time was finding that the pin that held the boom to the main mast was compromised. We could have lost the main sail. That would have made it difficult to make Bermuda before the gale.


It got REALLY dark at night