Day 414 – THE ATLANTIC: Day Nineteen

Distance sailed today:148 NM
Total distance sailed: 1844 NM
Midnight GPS position: N 21.06 W048.33
Wind: Variable Wind Force 1-2
Sea state: Calm/Flat
Generator hours: 24hr
Smooth motoring on a smooth Sunday on the Atlantic Ocean today. We broke through the 1,000 miles remaining mark. Not far to go now before we make landfall on Virgin Gouda in the British Virgin Islands.


But all was not 100% well today. The bit of rope that we knew was wrapped around the port side propeller shaft was making noises. It was time to remove it. Steve was happy to do it himself, but I volunteered to have a hack at it.

Easily one of the scariest experiences of my travels to date.

The water here in the middle of the Atlantic is crystal clear. The trick, like when up high, is not to look down. I looked down. My little inconsequential legs hanging like in thin air. Below, more than 2,000 metres of water. Somehow that was not a comforting thought as I took a great breath of air and poked around under a 40 tonne boat.

It was calm enough, and with the motors switched off I had nothing to fear from the propeller. But, it was so big and menacing. Normally I am not claustrophobic, but under the boat was like a confined space.

It took three separate goes to get the rope cut off the propeller shaft. First go I ducked under and took one look at the rudder and propeller and rope and hull and 2,000 metres of suffocating water below me…OK, I saw mostly only the 2,000 metres of suffocating water below me…and came back up for air.

I composed myself and went in for the kill. The second dive I managed to cut through the rope. Whether that was the bit of rope that I needed to cut in order to free it from the propeller or not, I didn’t really care. Just cut something, I thought. Take a hack and something’s sure to come loose.

The rope didn’t come loose, so I had to brace myself for another go. By this time snot and water and salt and stinging salty water is somewhere encroaching upon my nasal cavaties. I blow my nose into my hand and tell myself to get over it.

Plunging back into the bottomless void, I came face to face again with the grey prop. The black rope, my nemisis, hung there, taunting me. I took my time this time. Well, a token extra nano-second. I eyed the piece of rope I needed to cut. I lashed out and hacked.

I surfaced holding a great swath of mangled twisted black fishing net rope. My trophy. My prize. Then I got out of the water really quickly, as if I was seconds away from being devoured from some faceless carnivorous sea creature. I spent the next few minutes lying on the deck recovering.


Steve just stared at me and muttered something along the lines of “You should have just let me do it.”

I was too busy trying to prevent the stinging sea water from burning my face off from the inside to hear. And I was happy. Happy that I had chosen to have a go despite my loathing of deep water.

Later on today it was my turn to cook dinner. Today was also Sunday, meaning that it was Sunday roast day. I made stuffed chicken leg/thighs, roasted with spuds, stuffing balls, and peas. Ellie made Yorkshire pudding. Gravy was a thickened chicken soup. Rather delicious if I do say so myself.


The stuffing consisted of fresh garlic, onions, mushrooms, fresh capsicum (sweet red pepper), camembear cheese, bread crumbs, a sloshing of olive oil, and salt and pepper. I wrapped the boneless chook around the stuffing and secured it with toothpicks, and seasoned the outside with oregano for Steve and Ellie, and ground hot chilli peppers for me.

Today begins a four part sailing tutorial by Skipper Steve Dewhurst. He kindly took the time today to go over some terms used in sailing. First up is MECHANICS OF SAILING 101.


It is fairly obvious, but you can’t sail a sail boat directly into the wind. So for 45 to 60 degrees either side of the direction the wind is coming from, you can’t sail in that direction. The most efficient position to have the wind is on a beam reach. That is, coming straight on to the side of the boat. Wind screams past the sails, creating high air pressure on the rear side of the sail. This pressure is higher than that of the front of the sail, therefore the sails pull the boat forward. This is called ‘lift’. Very similar to an airplane wing, except that lift on a sailboat pulls the boat forward. Tomorrow I will be going over the SAILS 101 tutorial.



Still all clear. A little too clear perhaps. There is no wind about, perhaps being sucked away by hurricane Gabrielle.


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