I have a small but varied library on board, ranging from sailing books and nautical almanacs to science fiction to exploration to thrillers to history to philosophy, so what have I been reading for the last two days? You guessed it, the 1997 Viz Annual. My head is now full of colourful characters like The Fat Slags, Cockney Wanker, The Modern Parents, Millie Tant and Spoilt Bastard, to name but a few. It’s been my favourite comic since 1988 with a blend of childish humour, cutting political satire and just plain filth that never fails to amuse me. I didn’t see it on sale in America, but perhaps it’s not their cup of tea.
Another excellent book I’ve just finished is “Give Me A Ship To Sail” by Alan Villiers, who skippered a replica of the Mayflower across the Atlantic in 1957. It was fascinating to read his account of the voyage from Plymouth in the UK to Plymouth in the USA, retracing the steps of the Pilgrim Fathers who sailed the same route to start their new lives in 1620. It’s almost the reverse of my trip, and interestingly the Mayflower’s average daily run was almost exactly the same as mine at 106 miles. Mr Villiers comments that this figure applies to pretty much all large sailing ships on long voyages so it’s nice to find out that Odyssey can keep up with them.
My voyage is still going well with settled weather and a nice stiff westerly. I’m now about 1,300 miles from La Rochelle which means I’m about two-thirds of the way there. So far today I haven’t broken anything although I did have to fix the steering wheel adapter for the Monitor which fell off due to two of the the three retaining clamps deciding to fail at the same time. Not a problem though, and I fixed it in a jiffy to get us back on course.
The sewing is also coming along nicely, but I’ve only done about 6 feet with about another 10 to go on the massive tear in the genoa. It’s not actually as bad as it sounds as it’s up the trailing edge of the sail where the leech tape and UV strip have separated from the main part of the sail. Since it’s taking forever I think I’ll just fix the worst bits and then stitch it every foot or so and hope it’ll hold out, providing I don’t meet any more hurricanes…
I’ve found that the small working jib is in the best condition of all six sails and sets very nicely. It’s the one I should have had up in the storm but hadn’t got round to taking down the genoa before the wind arrived, after which it was impossible to do as I could never have managed to lower such a huge sail in storm force winds without it flying overboard, probably taking me with it. Next time I’ll try to remember to do it before the wind gets up unless it happens in the night, in which case I’ll pursue my normal course of action of swearing at it, putting a pillow over my head, and going back to sleep.
Meanwhile I’m sailing more or less dead downwind with the breeze just off the port quarter. I’ve got the mizzen, main and working jib out downwind with the big drifter poled out to windward, which seems to give the boat a good balance and keeps us going nicely.
Not much else to report so it’s time for tea and biscuits on the lawn, after which I’ll get back to my sewing while I listen to some gentle chamber music, if I can find any on my iPod, otherwise it’ll just have to be more pounding techno 😉