Friday, January 27, 2012

Cruise of the ‘Aziz’ a Pioneer 9 Part 10

Why I actually made the decision to sail towards La Corunna I do no know. Perhaps it was because I had been there before with my friend Bill aboard his Eventide, ‘Ishani’. I had plenty of water and food; I was not exhausted; I was not ill. In hindsight the decision puzzles me. The wind almost immediately increased to Force 3, from the northeast, which gave the yacht a good speed of 4.3 knots. In fact, my log records that I was enjoying the best sailing to date. I did a meridian altitude that exactly corresponded with the Garmin GPS that gave a reading of 45 degrees, 17.5 minutes north. Our longitude was 13 degrees 41.7 minutes west. ‘Aziz’ was heading directly towards La Corunna on a course of 123 degrees compass. The GPS confirmed we had 256 nautical miles to go.

The sea was gorgeous and jewel like; each little wave reflecting and refracting sunlight so as to make a spectacular scene of spectrum colours for my delight.

Half-an-hour after midnight the sea became very agitated, shaking the yacht and pummelling her. She was racing along at 5.7 knots. I noted from the chart that we were directly above a spot where there was a sudden decrease in depth from 4,000 metres to 3,000. I handed the Genoa to slow the yacht and to make life more comfortable. All around there were large areas of florescence. I was entertained by the moon and her many reflections. The sea was alive. I could hear waves conversing, chattering, murmuring, humming and sighing.

Early that morning of 23rd July there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The air was the purest I had ever breathed. Visibility was fantastic. We had the most excellent sailing with full main and working jib while beam reaching – speeds regularly over 5 knots. At 1618 I discovered I had left the navigation lights on all day, causing the battery to discharge faster than the wind charger could replace spent electricity. There were about 130 miles of ocean between us and the land. The shipping forecast warned of fog patches, but that seemed most unlikely. As the wind strengthened I was forced to set the number two jib and put two reefs in the main. I felt there might be a blow during the night – it was better to reef when I could see what I was doing.

My fears were unfounded. Later I was able to shake out the reefs. At sunrise on the morning of 24th July I replaced the small jib with the Genoa. At breakfast I discovered the remaining bread had very bad mildew. I generously gave it to the fishes. At 0818 I observed a military vessel well ahead, fine on the port bow. She didn’t worry us. The wind was coming from the port quarter and for some unknown reason the self-steering gear vibrated badly. On closing land the air became humid.

For the first time during the cruise I deliberately sunbathed, as conditions were ideal. Not long after exposing myself to the sun a school of porpoises came to have a look! They were truly inquisitive, but definitely not impressed! I wished I could join them in their frolicking. Numerous ships passed north and south. Tuna jumped from wave top to wave top. Again and again porpoises visited the yacht. Sunset was spectacular.

Text for the Day

Psalm 147:5 ‘Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.’

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