el Dorado and the rainbow

Today we have had quite a lot happen considering where we are, but first the night...
This was dark as the moon set quite early, the watches were uneventful, other than Paul seeing a bright green light which turned out to be the Dog Star Sirius, and it drew to a close with sunrise at 07:22 GMT. Not a spectacular sunrise but it took the chill out of the wind when the Rays reached the cockpit. A breakfast of porridge, Apple, cinnamon and crunchy brown sugar was a good start for the day ahead. We were still sailing under a slightly reefed genoa which lifts the foot of the sail just past the rail and avoids the enemy of long distance sailing, chafe. Each morning I do the rounds inspecting stays, fixings and sails for signs of wear, tear or stress. After this I retired to my berth to catch up on my sleep. We sailed on, with occasional increases in wind as a line of clouds overtook us, quickly returning to the normal 20knts once it has passed over, but giving winds in the high 30s to mid 40s for 20 - 30 mins and boosting our speeds to 9+ knts for that time giving us a satisfying feeling of surfing down the swell.

During one of the intervals between squalls we decided it was time to deploy the Parasailor (spinnaker) so set about setting up all the lines and pulleys  a job for two people to hoist and release 154 square meters of sail, but it only weighs 20kg so is not a backbreaking manoeuvre. The sail is contained in a sleeve, or sock, which is hauled up to the top of the mast leaving an 18m grey tube suspended from the masthead. The bottom of the sock is then pulled up to the top of the mast releasing the spinnaker which, with a swish and a thwack, opens up to its full capacity. You can both hear and feel the difference in the boats response, everything sounds quieter, the ride feels smoother and you can feel the power pulling and lifting the boat. It is spectacular from on board but we wish we could see it from another boat to get its full grandeur. 
The Parasailor in action 

We managed a run of about 45 mins before the next line of clouds brought winds above our max safety level of 25 knts of apparent wind and we hauled the sock back down over e spinnaker snuffing its power. We have spent the rest of the day running under our genoa making an average of 6.5 knts.

Paul decided to try his luck at fishing and reeled out his last remaining Watmu yo yo lure in the hope of catching something for supper. To our amazement, about 90 mins later, there was something on the line! I rushed for the camera while Paul hauled in the line, half disbelieving there was a fish on the end, but it soon became clear that there was the streamlined glistening golden shape of a Dorado! Paul brought it on board and dispatched it after giving it a dose of Morgan's spiced rum in the gills... guess what is for supper tonight!

We were treated to several rainbows in very close proximity, almost able to reach out and grab the gold.. but as ever they move just as you make that Lottery winning grab! 

Sun has set and the last glow of the day is turning through shades of blue to grey and it will soon be dark again.

We have not seen a single bird or ship today.. Just a fish :-)

We have 75 miles to go to Ilha de Porto Santos where we will probably stop for Tuesday night. It is another 60 miles (10hrs sailing) to Funchal on the main island of Madeira.

Time to sign off.

Until the next time!

1st mate Haddock aboard Tin Tin.

ps. Please feel free to share the address of the blog with anyone who might be interested in my ramblings!
pps. Don't forget to follow our position on the map which is accessed through the link at the very top of the webpage....


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