Hejira being a heavy solid cruising yacht, needs a ‘bit of a blow’ to get her going. The light sailing conditions experienced since the period of squalls has provided good relaxed sailing but it has also meant that the lightweight production yachts have ‘got away’ and we have slipped back down the fleet. As we are now over half way (a milestone celebrated with a beer) to Bermuda, we are able to begin to focus on our arrival time, it being important to arrive off St. George’s in daylight to negotiate the narrow entrance channel and ‘clear in’ with Customs, Immigration and the Port Authority. The ARC organisers kindly provided us with the myriad forms to be completed so we should be prepared for the inevitable onslaught of bureaucracy. Ollie joining the crew is a complication but at least we don’t have any animals or firearms which seems to excite the authorities.
At 0700 the wind was falling away and at 0900 we reluctantly engaged the engine. The wind has continued to drop and we are now, 18 hours later, motoring on a sea which is becoming glassy smooth. It was a glorious if uneventful day which allowed time for some reading and relaxing.
We have both adjusted to our sleep patterns and the watching through the night is no longer a chore, we now instinctively wake at the right time and we have concluded that sailing Hejira with two is extremely comfortable. It is so much easier cooking for two, we have more space and our water usage is hardly registering on the gauges and, yes, we have been showering.
ATOM have ‘come up trumps’ and a new VHF remote will be brought out by Ollie on Saturday so we will be back to fully functioning operation with Hejira in great shape.
The new Raymarine instrument system, like much of technology these days is extremely comprehensive with depths of menus rarely plumbed in normal operation. The Ocean passages have allowed the time to get a real grip on the multiple functions and display options. Favourites include a cockpit display which shows, in bold figures, the speeds derived from the log impeller next to the SOG which is the speed over the ground derived from the GPS.
This simple comparison gives an instant understanding of the tide and current being experienced and is an extremely helpful function.
Continuing to motor, we are tracking on auto to the Bermuda Spit Buoy which is our finishing mark and we are able to adjust our speed to arrive in the middle of Friday. We could arrive first thing by lifting the engine revs but we don’t want to join a queue of yachts trying to ‘clear in’ as the authorities deal with a backlog of those that arrived through the night when the offices are closed.