Passage to Cape Verde: Day 2

Day 2: 13 October 2016

Day two dawned bright with a sunrise at about 0715 UTC after having a very, very nice night sail with about 15 knots of steady wind from behind (NNE). We didn’t touch the sails or autopilot all night — we just continued to sail at a nice pace, with fairly low sea state, towards our intended direction of Cape Verde.

We are happy when days pass “uneventfully” while hundreds of miles away from shore. Today was another happily-uneventful day! Or, perhaps, events are simply appreciated differently on a passage. Todays events were highlighted by deployment of the hydro-generator, a close encounter with a fishing boat, and — as usual — food!

We had the grand excitement of deploying the hydro-generator for the first time. This piece of kit came with the boat and creates 12V DC power when we are sailing. The good news is that it works, and that it is very quiet! We can’t hear it running, but it is steadily generating about 2-5 amps of power (depending on our boat speed). It’s hard to get an accurate reading, but it doesn’t seem to slow us down more than about a tenth of a knot.

About mid-day, we noticed a largish (~100 ft) boat about four miles away on the horizon. It wasn’t on AIS, and it seamed to be making random changes to its course. Slowly, it altered course towards us and ended up passing about a half mile behind us. While a half mile is another postal code at home, at sea, especially when virtually alone at sea, this felt quite close. We think that it was a fishing boat and it was tending nets or lines of some sort. It continued to make seemingly random manoeuvres as it moved slowly towards the East and the coast of Africa.

Food was another highlight of the day. We enjoyed ginger fried rice for lunch, Angela’s freshly-boat-made chocolate chip cookies for a snack, and pasta with fresh veggie sauce for dinner. Meal choices on a passage are opposite of meal choices on land. On land, we are inspired to cook based on what veggies look the freshest and most-appetizing in the store. At sea, however, we are encouraged to cook based on what veggies look worst and must-be-eaten-that-night-because-they-won’t-last-until-morning. Not to worry — we have loads of good food onboard and no one will be going hungry!

The kids continue to make good progress on their schoolwork. In math, Anneka is working on converting units of size, weight and volume in the metric system, Dorian is working on early geometry, and Eliana is working on letters (and cutting and taping everything in sight, as usual!). You can imagine Anneka’s confusion after living and studying in countries that use the metric system (grams), the Imperial system (pounds), and the Pound (£) for currency. The kids are allowed to watch a movie, in French (!), as part of their language studies. Today’s pick was Cinderella.

We enjoyed pre-dinner cocktail hour while listening to the Freakonomics Podcast about “How to win games and beat people.” The title sounds fairly aggressive, but it is a very nice story about a British mathematician who interviewed experts about many of the common games (from pillow-fights and skipping stones to hang-man, Battleship, and rock-paper-scissors) and determined the most systematic approach to winning each game. Fair warning — you do not want to bet against Angela when it comes to playing future games of Connect Four!

As we are writing from night watch now, we are enjoying another lovely evening under sail. We are starting to learn the star patterns and can see Orion over the port beam and Pleades directly overhead. The moon sets seem to be happening about 20 minutes later each night as they are now bracketing the watch change at 0400. The nearly-full moon has made nigh sailing brilliant. We don’t need a headlamp to check the sails. The only complaint, if it could be made, is that the bright moon is making it difficult to see the amazing trails of bioluminescence in our wake and with each cresting wave (or surfing dolphin). The hardships we must endure!

Our Day 2 twenty-four hour run was 121 miles, which puts us about 1/3 of our total distance traveled towards Cape Verde. The forecast for tomorrow is more of the same 8-12 knot winds from behind, then getting lighter for a couple of days before filling in again near Cape Verde.

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