Date Tuesday 7 May 2013 Position Rome, Italian islands and Cosica
The morning starts with Richard Hewson and the RG650 becalmed off the coast of Italy. It is the first bit of sleep Rich has had for a long time, but it would not be for long!
0104 Position 41 29N 12 17E Wind has picked up again to 8kts from the north, bringing with it rain. What a better way to wake up from a deep slumber but have to go on deck in the rain and hoist the sails. My hands were struggling to even grip the halyards as I was still in my sleep coma. Add to the enjoyment of solo ocean sailing is the fact that it is bitterly cold as the wind blows off the snow capped Italian mountains. I am wearing as much thermal and wet weather gear as I wore in the southern ocean last year and Im still cold.. Amazing! What better way to start the day!
0400 Position 41 40N 12 16E Slowly slowly making way in light winds working our way to windward. Thankfully as we get closer to land the chop flattens off a bit and I can balance the RG650 to steer herself. Im feeling very tired and long to get another hour or two’s rest. Infact I think im trying to convince my body that I am still actually asleep, so when the opportunity arrises I can just lay down and continue with my dreams! During the next lull I do exactally this, and get about 40 minutes of Zzz time.
0900 Position 41 44N 12 02E We are sailing off the coast of Rome. With light variable winds it is no wonder that the Romans preferred to travel by road rather than the sea! Wind is veering from W to N 3-4kts.
0924 Position (By Sun) 41 46N 12 05E. I took a morning sun observation with the sextant and calculated and plotted it. My first calcluation and EP were a bit scewiff (fatigue) and it placed me somewhere inland near Rome. My second position was a lot better and only a few miles off the GPS position which is a great achievement in a small boat, while trying to helm with one hand to keep a straigh course and use sextant in the other hand to take the observation. I would not have believed it possible until I did it myself with an ok result.
1000 Position 41 46N 12 03E Becalmed. Saw a turtle, it did not look too healthy.
1511 Position 41 57N 11 54E Out of the duldrums. Wind increased and backed to the south west. The RG650 is in full flight with full main, Jib and Code 0, setting a course to Coursica!
1530 Position (By sun) 41 57N 11 47E. Took an afternoon sun observation. It all ties in nicely with my GPS and DR. If my old navigator could see me now he would be horified, as I scribe lines on the chart with a blunt pencil and a broken ruler as the chart rests on the cockpit floor next to the JetBoil stove, musli bars, sheets, halyards and other items.
1924 Position 42 07N 11 35E Wind continued to back, and now LWS. The wind veers to a True Wind Angle of 130T, so I peel to the Code 5. Making good boat speed of 5.6kts in very light almost glassy conditions.
2015 Passed Ilse De Giglo and the Italian mainland under light weight spinnaker now fully powered up. I sail past some fisherman, their flashing buoys resembling special marks and cardinal marks I rush below to check the chart. I am flashing my headtorch around when the radio skwaks to life
Fisherman – Eh.. boat with the torch, you sail or motor
Me – This is sailing vessel RG650
Fisherman – Thats crazy, you sail through islands in dark. How many you onboard?
Me – One person onboard
Fisherman – You crazy
I get off the radio and get my head back in the charts, not sure if the lights ahead of me are just fishing floats or uncharted nav marks or rocks as I belt along in complete darkness in full sail at 8kts.