The continuing adverse current coupled with a short chop and the wind directly on the bow made the morning slow. This was not helped by my decision to ‘skirt’ a military firing range between Otranto and Brindisi, I figured that, given my luck on this passage, I might take a shell just below the water line.

Beyond Brindisi the coastline is low, straight and pretty uninteresting. Having booked my flight back from Venice on Friday evening, I am now looking at my watch and choosing to take a course straight to the tip of the ‘spur’ overnight expecting a signal around tomorrow lunch time. Despite a semi promising weather forecast, the wind disappeared completely and the only option was to motor over an increasingly flat sea overnight. At least the route I am taking will not be peppered with shipping so I am hoping to get FULL 20 minute naps without the incessant AIS alarms which seem to even consider lighthouses a collision hazard.

At 19.20, I was in the galley doing the washing up and there was a bang under the hull. Not a collision sort of gradual bang, more of a ‘chop’ bang. I dashed up on deck to view anything in the water but nothing. I reckon the propeller chopped something thankfully light as there is no vibration or untoward noises – phew ! Just goes to show how vulnerable you are.

When you have been sailing your yacht for a number of years, it’s a bit like a relationship (see the Desmond Holdridge quote written over the picture on the home page) and you begin to understand her moods and her utterances. Every sound has an explanation and a meaning: is it ok or is something wrong, are you making her work too hard and she doesn’t like it? I even think that when asleep, an unusual sound, no matter how subtle can actually bring you back to consciousness. Some years ago I was ‘chasing’ the source of water in the bilge and, in order to eliminate the keel box, I fitted baffles to restrict any possibility of ingress. I found the source elsewhere but never removed the baffles.  Consequently, as the water is forced up and down the keel box by the passage of swells and waves, so it expels and sucks in air past the baffle restrictions. The sound is like an old lady sighing or wheezing. I think I should re-open her airways and improve her breathing, it will make her less animate.

I am now five consecutive nights into my ‘sleep deprivation torture’ and, if anything, it is getting easier presumably as my body clock adjusts to the new regime. Just sometimes during the day I am overwhelmed by the absolute necessity to sleep and I have to take a spontaneous nap. After this I feel fine again. I am worried that this narcolepsy becomes the new norm and I get a reputation for falling asleep mid conversation – it’s normally the person I am talking to! Adjusting to normal sleep patterns may be a challenge but I am sure that sleeping horizontally in a bed will help.

I wrote a letter that was published in the December 2016 Yachting Monthly entitled ‘Slack the stack-pack’ (features in the Articles section of this web site, just search ‘slack’ on the home page) and the photograph was of my previous yacht. I have adopted the same philosophy on Hejira and it cannot be denied that it cleans up the appearance and must enhance the air flow over the foot of the mainsail.

Slack the Stack-Pack

Having ‘turned the corner’ and with Venice metaphorically in sight, I have felt able to confirm dates and destinations to the various crew who will be joining me for the more leisurely elements of this adventure. Some of them are expressing reservations after the disclosures in the ’Naturist’ blog.  I have had to assure them that I will not be enforcing a new dress code and that my new proclivity is reserved for solo sailing. Having a good 4G signal inshore close to Brindisi has enabled the sending of Emails and the booking of flights so; once again, I have introduced the deadlines which I was so eager to avoid. Well it’s either that or sail solo for the whole season and go completely mad.

With this post uploaded, I will be sailing a more direct route which will take me offshore, probably out of mobile signal range. As a result, tomorrows offering is likely to be devoid of pictures as it will be posted over the Satellite. Well what is there to photograph I hear you say, you would be surprised as this random craft spotted well offshore clearly demonstrates.

Curious craft spotted well offshore as we sailed past.