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Archives for April 2010

How do you say Manihi?

Its not just me!


Nobody can pronounce names in he South Pacific, today's radio net is high farce. Nobody can hear Bali Blue the net controler - maybe his new tattoo is interfering with his SSB (Single Side Band HF radio). Many of the fleet can't remember what Island they are heading for. Fia Tira, not a south pacific name, a boat name are relaying and can't remember the name of the island they are going to much less pronounce the ones they are relaying. Its not they're fault. many boats are headed for Manihi. I've always pronounced it badly as Marni. Cos its neighbour is Ahe. Other pronunciations include "Man a he", "Man ee he", "Manny", "Man a Hi" - there are almost certainly other pronunciations I've missed but they are so far out I can't be sure which Island they are talking about.

The British Admiralty, the greatest most famous nautical publisher in the world, can't even get it right. Rangiroa the island we're headed for they have a tide station listed in the right place, and it likely is Rangiroa as it the biggest and most developed of the Tuamotos they however call it Raroia. So do other publications, if you add an h somewhere or other. Other wise its another island further south.

Please try saying these place to your friends, tell them I was there. On Huku Hiva we went to Hakatea bay where Hakaui village is and visited Hatiheu. We didn't go to Hakaehu, err I think. On Ua Pou (pronounced Wapoo) we were in Hakahetau  not to be confused with Hakaotu, Haakuti or Hakamaii. Now you begin to understand the problem.

Guardian S/V Angel

 We're all in the same boat, ok we're not, but all the boats are in the same boat. No wind. We have a guardian angel. Well I hope they're Guarding us. They're defiantly called "Angel" Just beyond them is Aspen. We didn't spot them but during the night Aspen made contact with Peter Pan. Rayla is still in VHF (Very Hight Frequency FM walkie talky style radio, range mast head to masthead about 25 miles). They're, possibly, on route to Manihi. They're all expecting help to get in. We went bump into some coral going in there last time. The guy who helps, Xavia, Ex French navy, has told 2 different boats 2 different tide times. The Island we're going winch the admiralty may or may not have meant by Rairoa I have tide time for. On my iPod (Aye Tides) and my PC, winXtide and Total Tide. They don't agree. There's an hours difference. Aspen's software - possibly sourced from his ray-oh-my-god-its-so-full-of-bugs-I-need-deet-marine Chartplotter. Raymarine = Raytheon bomb 'em first and ask questions afterwards' marine division. Our wind instruments are vibrating like an IT Contractor on too much coffee in the light winds. The Log needs to be switched on and off twice before it will do anything. When it is working it usually lists our top speed as 255Kns, impressive as its 5 times the world sailing speed record. The echo sounder is off and is still managing to tell the Autopilot, that we are aground. We are indebted to Simadrel I think that we are able to use after their rayFail autopilot lost it and careered all over the ocean. They worked out you have to tell it about the southern hemisphere. Oh and the chartplotter-radar- teasmaid screen switches on and off occasionally if you turn the brightness down. Reminds me of windows. To be fair some of these could be fixed with a software update. However we know the current bugs, and they're not a problem better the bugs you know than the bugs you don't.

EDIT: Sorry Raymarine is no longer part of bomb em first and ask afterwards Raython. Still got bugs though.


Position: 12° 20' S, 143° 59' W | Posted: Wed 28th April 2010

No I havn't got a tatoo.

Part of me really wishes I had. They're fabulous, traditional and important round here.

To Busy to Blog

Mind you so was cannibalism.

I really don't have the time right now, even with the pits they kept prisoners of war in, the heandsman's block stones they'd lay their heads on when they bashed they're skull in with a war club. The pits they'd throw their entrails into. The Banyan trees they'd put the bones in afterwards. The raised platforms they'd leave bodies on loved ones on till the bones were clean and could be brought into the house. Of ancestors souls in sharks, of turtles as symbols of fertility

Then there's the scenery. I've always rushed the Maquesas. I'm doing it again a bit. Have crammed in a LOT. Plus a lot of repairs, I'm exhausted.

I've seen tropic brids, imperial pigeons, had my feet nibbled in a cave by crayfish, I've been scared of an eel. Sat around a camp fire singing songs. Eastern a pig roast in a pit.


Yes danced the Pig Dance - badly I Might add. But no worse than some of the other white ghosts. I've seen the third highest water fall in the world. Drunk spring water, forded streams and watched a man wash his horse on the beach.

I can see my house from here

I've had goat and tarro and deep fried breadfruit and red bananas. I've remembered how much I like pampelmoose. I've drunk more Hinano, which I can pronounce better now.

I can say thank you in Marquesan. Lost and retrieved my GPS. Seen stone penis's, Tiki's platform houses. Scared by falling coconuts. I've even got statistics.

12 people a year are killed by sharks (on average). 150 by falling coconuts.

Mind you the coconuts a quick way to go and they don't circle your boat. Think they scared the turtle off.

Damn I wish I'd got that tatoo. But I'd have had to rush it. Not a thing to rush a tatoo.

I've seen the baby Jesus with a bread fruit. His Grandad the carpenter with a stone axe - no metal till the white folks got here. And did those feet in ancient times walk upon Nuku Hiva's mountains green. Damn, no tatoo and a drought, not as green as last time.

Oh Bollocks, I'm going to have to come back.... Bang goes my life. I'm pretty sure the pictures do not do the place justice. But they're up, maybe you'll understand just how good the Marquesas are.

P.S. Errr Sorry - Just remember I'm short on sleep, covered in oil, sore. I've no house, wife, kids or prospects. Right now I wouldn't have it any other way. No tatoo either :-(

Position: 8° 56.6' S, 140° 97.8' W | Posted: Sat 24th April 2010

Are we neraly there yet?

Broadly speaking yes. Last night we were due a wind change, we had decided not  to fly a spinnaker in case. Opps we didn't keep to that and put it back up again. T'was fine till midnight, after half a hours thinking time we got it down. With difficulty.

Sailing Abbreviations:
Genny = Genoa - large overlapping headsail
Genny = Generator - Converts diesel to electricity[1]

Today we are running with white sail, poled out genny and main. Rolly, that cruising chute spoiled us, its been flat fast and quiet for days.

Oooh eer, can fit it in the viewfinder

As a result we're really looking forward to getting in. Should be on Saturday morning. Being at anchor in a sheltered anchorage with a full night to sleep for the first time in nearly 3 weeks sounds like bliss.

The bad news is we're not going to over take anyone. At the net this morning we've closed in on Lucy Alice, but aren't going to be able to take 94 miles in 280. We've been doing fabulously recently, and they'll probably be in on firday night. Hopefully we'll make the Gendamerie with them on Saturday morning.


This is my last post before I get in. I've done many blog posts while at sea but can't upload them. You can read them all in the blog archives for this month, and a bit of last month.

Blog Highlights:

As well as bloging I've done some work on the site in general.

Video Thumbnail
New Video section

New Video Section

There's now a video section, some of these were only embedded in blog posts, now they're all in one place. Particularly check out, So Long, and thanks for all the fish. Complete with tom narration.

I wrote some stuff for my SC's newsletter, I assume they didn't publish it, I wouldn't. "Murder at La Plyita" is a rewrite of the story that appeared in my blog of the night of mayhem in Panama City. Whilst I am particularly proud of "The Dampness of the Pants" a guide to sailing fashion. Unlike the version sent to the SC this one has backing music - curtsey of the musical episode of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps. Oh and I remembered to finally write up how I make such fabulous bread on boats[2].

Sounds music and voice-overs etc on or in pages or video's have been lovingly chosen and carefully crafted [3] so if your at me old college and no speakers go see Rm 18 and borrow some headphones, there's another box in the IT office if you need them. They'll be pleased to see you!

ETA Nuku Hiva, 10 am Saturday. May Move the position for this post to Nuku Hiva. Just to make the map work..... Island Kea II out.

  1. Used to convert diesel in to electricity.
  2. No really, my bread is very good.
  3. I.E. before I went to the pub.

Position: 9° 11' S, 132° 48' W | Posted: Fri 16th April 2010

Gassed like a Badger

The night before last the Generator stopped itself after 5 minutes.

This is very irritating, mostly because after many truly unpleasant hours yesterday I thought I had it licked. We thought it was spitting water out of the pipe underneath. After hours of trying to get it out I gave up and by passed it using 2 gas fittings and the pipe that feeds water to the deck wash pump on the foredeck.

Bilge Rat 
Old photo, generator is the white thing.

The disappoint when it fired and water and exhaust fumes appeared under the engine was dreadful. The good news is engine charge system is working now. At 60% we may be able to up this, the freezer is off to save power. I liked the generator it gave me lots of 220v for my gadgets. Principally this PC.

Obviously my laptop was completely flat at the time....

 We're seriously worried by the generator, and still haven't identified the problem. The manual is detailed well written and has numerous illustration. That wasn't a typo. It has one picture of one side of the generator which it uses repeatedly.

All the cooling system is the other side of the generator, flat against a wall and completely inaccessible, so we can't see it or look at a picture of it. Yay!

I'm really disappointed at the moment. Normally I can fix anything. The water maker was eventually fixed but it took forever. Miss Tippy's laptop, forgotten password. Damn windows home has disabled the built in Administrator account so no joy. Spirit of Nina's laptop is French, they are  not. No I couldn't get it into English. Basque or Catalan yes. English no.

Normally I'd do a re-install  but you can't do that on third world internet. Even if the laptop manufacture did a proper job with they're website - which few do, bloated modern drivers and obfuscation utilities mean a re-install of windows from scratch requires several internet hours + time to download hundreds of meg.

I got heat stroke yesterday, down the bottom of the boat warm engine, warm water tank, warm everything. Lying in a pool of warm bilge water. Wrestling with rusty jubilee clips. No to mention being gassed by exhaust fumes. I ended up sick faint and with a stinking headache. I deserved to fix it. Had to eat a bowl of pretzels and put loads of salt all over my dinner for fear or what I'd done to my salt levels. You could have rung a pint of sweat from my boxers, let alone my t-shirt.

Damn I'm frustrated,  a job well done is satisfying, please can I properly fix something, permanently and well? I usually can everything is conspiring to be difficult at the moment.

I'm hunched over the chart table with my laptop charging off the 12v, (heh heh nice backup toy this). Its uncomfortable, and since were not getting nearly as much off the engine as the generator into the batteries, and my laptop is no subtracted from the battery charge not a free by product of it. I'm going to have to back off on the re-rendering video for the iPod. as we've seen it eats power and slows the lap top charge.

Island Kea, really goes well in light winds. Since they went light we've been flying a Cruising Chute for days. Its gone well. Very well actually. Last blog I commented we ran faster than anyone one else in the fleet. Now without the Genny we're getting a push from the engine when we're charging off that. We've been noticed. Fia Tira and Lucy Alice were chatting about wind rigs and arrival times on the radio last night, and had a good chunk of conversation about us and our sudden catchup routine + apparent massive speed advantage. Makes us look good.

Wind is due to go up again tomorrow. Kite snuffer is tricky to say the least. We'll probably drop it and go white sail. I have never, ever, run a kite for 24 hours straight before, we've had this up for 4 days. Tempting fate.

Position: 9° 11' S, 132° 48' W | Posted: Thu 15th April 2010


Since I am now a fashion guru, its time to talk skin care. RSS users will need to got to my actual site for this. If you want to achieve the pinnacle of sailing fashion, like me, your going to have to work on your skin.

Apply a balm1 to feet to prevent dryness

Foot Care for Dummies.

Given that Nvidia or somebody bought out the Body Shop, and probably test it on kittens etc these days and homoeopathy's even more bollocks than the BNP you'll have do find your own way of creating perfect skin. Nobody but that Annie McSomething woman who used to get actual work on telly and in films but now just does adverts will help you. Not that she looks up to much. Even wearing all that wrinkle cream you still can't even get a job as an extra on The Bill. face it, 'ts not working!

I digress. Tom's perfect skin is achieved by balming his feet in a special mix of Bilge Water, shredded alternator belt and accumulated  diesel exhaust particulate. This is easily obtained from the engine room of any small yacht. In fact, can you believe it, its free!

This stops the skin drying out in the intense sun, and subtly lubricates the skin to stop the 6 Pa'anga (£2) Tongan Flipflops from rubbing on the dinghy ride to the pub. It can be tricky to get it out from under the toe nails.

A dusting of flower dries feet
and helps sooth rubbing flip flops

The trouble with dinghy rides to the pub is the salt water, which never really dries and can case dampness of the foot - which like communal showers leads to athletes foot. Sand and the aforementioned quality Tongan Flipflops or Bata Malaysian slip ons can rub before you can get the stuff back out again.

We've all had sand chafe, but fear not I can fix it. A light dusting of flour will fix both problems for you. For correct application add the flour to the bowl, mix warm water with sugar and yeast in it, add a little salt and a tablespoon full of oil. And mix, carefully. If done in a seaway this will result in just the right amount of flour being deposited on each foot. As a bonus with a bit of kneading and an oven you get some bread as a side effect. see my bread making tips.

"WARNING: Do not use Tom's feet in the preparation of food"

On Island Kea my feet are actually as clean as they've ever been. The reason we are Tail End Charlies, as we identified our selves on the Thursday SSB quiz night is cos we were waiting for the spares for the water maker. It works, properly at last. I'm going to have a shower tonight. We've sailed 2400 odd miles and have a full tank of water. I was slightly concerned we'd be lat for the Daniels bay trip in Nuku Hiva, things are looking up wind and boat speed wise.

During the briefing by the Rally, I had to interject that you can only go to the Gendamerie at certain times of day to check in in the Marquesas. The rally informed me I was wrong. I wasn't, they've announce this morning you can only check in between 7 and 11 am. Again, three time across this ocean, maybe I am what passes for an expert round here? I hope we can check in Sundays, I don't think we'll make 11am Saturday, 11am Sunday's a possibility. We ran faster than all the boats left in the fleet bar Aqualuna yesterday. 143 Miles, running all night with a Cruising Chute is why. I reckoned a few days back we need to make 120 a day to get in Sunday. the previous 2 runs would be lucky to scrape that. Yesterday has probably fixed that with interest. Still running well, both in terms of speed and direction. Forecast too now has a bit more wind.

1 A balm is the most dangerous animal found on South Pacific Islands.2

2 That gag copy-write Monty Python 1979.



Position: 8° 25.7' S, 125° 30.2' W | Posted: Tue 13th April 2010

Traditional sunday down at Brighton Drinking Club

Errata: For
"Brighton Drinking Club"
"Brighton Sailing Club"

Ok we're net controllering again, worked a bit better this time, partly because Lucy Alice have the hang of minimalist relaying. We're still using 4kHz wich is theoretically good for a few hundred miles. This band is now known as the "Lucy Alice Band" since they're now only 200 odd miles away. Which means we can talk to them fine. Now we've other frequencies agreed as well as the 4kHz channels, we've 2 on 6kHz, 2 on 8Khz, and one on 12kHz. At the right time of day I'd theoretically be able to talk to the UK on 12kHz.

Pub's Open

The trouble is, the higher frequencies are better for long distance. But the bounce off the ionosphere. So they're no good for short distances. So if we do a radio check with a boat we can actually hear on 4kHz, they can't here us on 6 or 8. We can't reach the further boats on 4hHz to organises a radio check on a higher frequency cos they can't hear us. Catch 22.

So we stick to the Lucy Alice Band, and rely on them to relay. There half way to the middle of the fleet. The Front runners are in so we don't have to worry about reaching them. Miss Tippy, Bionic, Blue Magic, Jackamy and Natiboo are in. One other did make the net this morning, "Dropping Anchor Now" I won't say who cos errm, they were dropping off Fatu Hiva, which is not a port of entry. Launches into air guitar version of Breaking the Law by Judas Priest - think I've been at sea too long.

Here's today's plot.

the Law

 Anyhoo, last night we ran quite well, 6ish knots. This morning we stopped completely. For about half an hour we were motoring. Couldn't run the radio net with the engine on though. Its hard enough to hear anyway. We were going to stick any old sail up in the hope of keeping the boat in the right direction. In the end we found enough breeze to refill the cruising chute we've been under the cruising chute on the opposite tack all day. Not fast 4.5 knots. But this afternoon some of that elusive current has turned up and decided to help. Nice.

Mines and Abbott Ale

 Its Sunday, since as any fool know, God made the world in 6 days and on the 7 he went sailing. On a slight aside he realised he'd made a mistake, and on the 8th day invented the dagger board thus proving the hobie cat is in fact heretical.

Enough about that, after sailing he probably went to the Pub, now normally I use the Brighton Drinking Club for my Sunday afternoon pub. Well its more sort of a lifetime hope that boat faeries do in fact exist and will put my boat away for me if I sit in the bar long enough. Not seen any yet, but I keep persevering. Since going to church out here would be tricky, I think you need to transubstaciate or somfin. Popes are hard to come by out here too. More to the point we can't have a church, not enough self righteous bigots, child molesters etc on board. That and its a small plastic boat, where the hell are we gonna burn witches? We can however simulate the pub....

Sunday afternoon down the pub, last week I had one of my precious 4 tins of Abbott ale. God look at that photo I need a hair cut.

Back on the old laptop thing, I'm really getting to know mine. After all this typing the keyboards picking up a shine that the old one had and this didn't develop on land. Mind you were heading for the next big test of my site. The first time I was in the Pacific, I caught 1024 week roll over of the GPS system, unlike the millennium bug it actually did something.

GPS receivers used to count weeks, early ones used a k to store that number. it could not store numbers bigger than 1024. Our back up one went titsup for this reason. Last time the primary key on the database that runs this site rolled passed 1024. I obviously assigned a large enough size to the key. I wonder how big, this is item number 2045. Coming up on the bik 2k.

 The Power management on this laptop is a real juggling act. I.E. the battery last forever if you're blogging it turns the CPU down. Try and do video rendering and it plummets like Alexander lemming. 2 hours v 6 hours. Uniquely charge time is variable too. If I'm re-rendering video for watching on the iPod Touch and its flat It uses too much juice off the mains to allow high speed battery charging. Interesting.

Position: 8° 25.7' S, 125° 30.2' W | Posted: Mon 12th April 2010


I've never been hit by a flying fish, I've been lucky, they go seriously quick. They appear to be able to swoop around waves, but whether this is about airflow or sight I don't know. I suspect its feel of the air, cos dodging ships is absolutely behind them.

Its impossible to photograph flying fish

2 of of closest shaves have been on Island Kea. The first I was standing in the cockpit and one bounced off the top of the spray hood in front of me. It was dark and barely seen just a flash. The really scary one happened about dawn this morning.

 It came in over the windward aft corner of the cockpit. I was under the spray hood in the forward leeward corner. It cleared the navpod in front of the wheel by a couple of inches, a big one. coming straight at me. No time to move I'm not kidding about the speed of these things. I didn't even react even though I was staring strait that way. No time.

It went thump in to the cockpit coming inches to the right of my head. Dead. Killed its self I assume, no sign of life. Chucked it back anyway.

Things have been going well, and though the future is not as rosy as I'd like I'm pretty optimistic.

We're 2/3 of the way there, in 13 days.  Trouble is wind is now right behind us, which is slow and its light. Believe it or not sailing boats, or modern "fore and aft rigged" boats at any rate can't go right down wind.  We have to zig zag not much but a bit. Its slow because sails don't just get in the way of the wind, they deflect the air in a curve and emulate an aeroplanes wing. Except when the winds right up your chuff, when they just get in the way of the wind and push you along slowly. When the winds even a little from the side, the motion of the boat forward changes the apparent angle of the wind forward. This increase the air flow across the sails, helping them set better and more airflow is better at smoothly flowing over the sails. Not when its right behind you. The boats motion is just subtracted from the wind speed. We've got apparent wind of about 7knots when its good. We've a cruising chute (large, simple, spinnaker) up, and are doing 5 knots.

Cruising Chute into the sunset

Pretty good going, we need it. Were not expecting much wind. We've still along way to go. Over 900 miles. If we'd got the current we'd expect this would be smaller and out speed would be better.

Where the hell's the South Equatorial Current? This passage is supposed to be big on free miles has been before. Charts my knowledge, the pilot books all have large amounts of favourable current everywhere. Its not here. When I say large amounts up to two knots further north. I'd expect a minimum of .5 of a knot. Nope.

Who's the expert anyway? I found my self disagreeing with Tony's predictions of the wind on this passage. I'd expect 15 knots to 20. He was taking about 25 knots +. Naaaa. This is the pacific the Trades aren't as strong as the Atlantic. He also said it'd be stronger at the Marquesas, again I disagreed I'd expect it to drop off towards the end.

 Not many people sail this way. There's 30 odd boats on this biannual rally. Maybe 30 on the world arc. That's a significant chunk of all of the boats headed across I'd seriously believe an annual total of 150, maybe 250. Not a great number. Fewer still do it again its mostly a once-in- a- lifetime thing. I'm on my third trip across. That puts me into a very small group. Of the 50 billion odd people who live on this planet how many have done this several times? Some undoubtedly, but I've never met anyone personally. I know people with multiple Atlantic Crossings, Phylis on Mercury Rising and Delphine, former crew mate of Caroline's who's on a non rally boat out here somewhere are on their second crossings. Never met anyone on their third.

Errrr maybe I am the expert. Damn.

Position: 8° 40.8' S, 124° 24' W | Posted: Sun 11th April 2010

No shock, hard drive is running normally

Well we've a bit less wind than earlier and it looks like its begun its shift to the east. Maybe a bit calmer night tonight. Mind you that's the price you pay for 2 days of 190+ mile runs. Miles are flying by.

Damn things in shock again

We've hit the 1/3 way point about 4pm that's just under 6 1/2 days. Close to twice the speed I managed last time. Nice.

I've finally waded through the morass that is the Windows 7 control panel to find the controls for my overly clever hard disk drive. Its possible to turn it off, I've managed to turn it down which is safer. Still goes into shock occasionally though. Yesterdays problems were that I killed the process called TPshocks.exe. Which didn't stop it switching the drive off every wave but did stop me from telling it what to do.

Hoist by my own petard again.

The Joy of Technology

Slept better last night, Steve's been reading pilot books, that's a good sign. We could make Nuka Hiva in another 12 days at this speed. Unlikely. Be nice not to break my 26 days at sea record. Really I have  no desire to break that one.

I'm pretty certain I've never run 200 Nautical in a day, we were only 6 shy of that this morning. We not seen as much favourable current as I'd have liked so we may get another shot at 200.

Laptop's doing pretty well apart from the crappy power saving. If I press the button it hibernates. If I close the lid it sleeps, if I press the button then closes the lid it starts to hibernate then stops, eats its battery then when you open it up, hibernates its self. This is either Lenovo or M$'s fault. Useless plonkers. Despite this its battery disappeared remarkably quick earlier, then ran for 20 minutes with 0%. Go figure. My laptop tells me battery was made 26th of June 2006, first used in July 08 is at 25 % charge with 3 hours eight minutes to go to full charge. You don't get that kind of detail from a PC world computer. Its better than that, its been cycled 156 times, its at 35 degrees, charge current 1.75 amps at 16.02volts. 20.15 watt hours are available out of a 74.88 Wh capacity. Does yours tell you that?

Now if your wondering why I buy second hand X series thinkpads all the time, my battery is excellent, the software looking after it is excellent, if your much younger laptop battery is dead or dying. Can't afford a new one of these mind, they're not cheap. God I am a sad geek.


Its tomorrow, can't be bothered to start a new post this ones open. This ones not going to win any awards anyway.


Bread's a baking, smells lovely, I'm off watch but still not back abed waiting for it to brown. I may have mentioned this but I can't find where so here goes again. I hate cooking, I'm lazy I live in the deli across the road (hello Ivan). Never really saw the point of making bread when there's a perfectly good bakery nearby. In fact as a bit of Tom trivia I've never made bread on land in my life, pretty sure never at anchor or alongside either. I'm a deep water master baker. Yes I had to learn how to do it, but Simon taught me first on Marabu mid North Sea and again mid Atlantic. Don't tell him he wouldn't like my improved technique picked up of Jacky, its a bit eco unfriendly. You can guarantee a nice warm spot for it to rise if you use the oven....

Sometimes the sleep deprivation is handy means you can go back to bed. Stay awake too much at night, either deliberately on watch or by being rolled around you bunk when your off watch. Not much too do at present, passage making is like that on the good days. Miles rolling by nothing to see nothing to do. Like I say that's the way I like it. Apparently the lights of a ship were visiblelast night, that's the fourth one + Aqualuna who we left Puerto Ayora with, god this ocean's getting crowded.

Yesterday's Plot Click to Enbiggen

 I may stay up till after the radio net now that's at 10:00am, we're net controllers for the day. We're not as far back as we were from most of the fleet. However there are 2 boats in Puerto Ayora, still, Moonshiner and Scott Free. Roundabout's left 2 days behind us, she's a big disco 55 so may be reeling us in, we've not heard her on the radio net so we don't know. Of the boats on the net were furthest back. Gotta deal going with Mercury Rising to help us out. They left 2 days ahead of us and 1 to three days behind most of the the others. Soon to overhaul Briet and Aspen looking at yesterday's run. How do I know this? - as it says above I'm as sad geek, I've a PHP haversine formulae which ahem, I've lost the instructions for so have fudged to give me Nautical miles (I think ÷ 1.15 is good enough and produces believable answers.) its a relatively straightforward task to plot them using the php GD library. Click the picture above to see the output.

You may be able to find this online if you try either on the BWR site or YotPlot (may be yacht plot). I'm 1000+ miles from the nearest bit of land, no google. Here's why we're going to struggle on the radio net we're tail end Charlie:

Angel Range 595Nm (probalby), 7°36'S 115°15'W
Aqualuna Range 203Nm (probalby), 6°42'S 108°39'W
Aspen Range 505Nm (probalby), 5°27'S 113°33'W
Bali Blue Range 545Nm (probalby), 7°14'S 114°25'W
Bionic Range 464Nm (probalby), 8°7'S 113°0'W
Blue Magic Range 643Nm (probalby), 8°20'S 116°0'W
Briet Range 472Nm (probalby), 5°58'S 113°5'W
Camomile Range 526Nm (probalby), 7°51'S 114°4'W
Chsalonia Range 458Nm (probalby), 7°32'S 112°57'W
Enchantress Range 466Nm (probalby), 7°33'S 113°5'W
Fai Tira Range 418Nm (probalby), 8°19'S 112°12'W
Fugue Range 356Nm (probalby), 4°32'S 110°37'W
Gauntine III Range 642Nm (probalby), 8°2'S 116°1'W
Island kea II Range 0Nm (probalby), 7°9'S 105°17'W
Jackamy Range 641Nm (probalby), 7°37'S 116°1'W
Lucy Alice Range 369Nm (probalby), 7°14'S 111°28'W
Mercury Riseing Range 473Nm (probalby), 5°35'S 113°2'W
MissTippy Range 710Nm (probalby), 7°58'S 117°9'W
Moonshiner Range 978Nm (probalby), 0°45'S 90°18'W
Natibou Range 911Nm (probalby), 9°35'S 120°23'W
Norsa Range 569Nm (probalby), 7°24'S 114°49'W
Perigrina Range 564Nm (probalby), 7°30'S 114°44'W
Rayla Range 603Nm (probalby), 7°56'S 115°22'W
Scot Free Range 978Nm (probalby), 0°45'S 90°18'W
Simanderal Range 769Nm (probalby), 8°5'S 118°9'W
Spitit of Nina Range 550Nm (probalby), 7°2'S 114°30'W

 Probably a few boats missing, no Roundabout or Peter Pan I suspect. Skipped Scott Free as they're back in Puerto Ayora. In summary. Miss Tippy's a big new Oyster, Aqualuna, Blue Magic and Roundabout are brand new Discovery 55's. With Jackamy these are the big fellas and designed with this sort of passage in mind. Natiboo and Spirit of Nina are cats. Natiboos fast with an early start to boot. The rest are "normal" boats between about 35 and 45 feet, a couple of Island Packets Fugue and Rayla, a 20 year old 42ft Westerly (Camomile), Lucy Alice is a 42ft Oyster (normal boat, buit in 88 - not like the posh modern ones). Normal stuff. Gaultine III's a bit odd, ketch rig with no sail hanked on her Mizzen. Suspect she's a borderline motor sailor, but big though. Fia Tira's a hard chine steel boat.

This puts us top of the second divison as it were. At 49 ft were bigger than the main fleet, but the leap to the first division is a large one. The Miss Tippy's and Disco's are 20 years younger and a big jump larger. The early birds left on Tuesday, the modal group was Wednesday, a few went Thursday, Fugue and Mercury Rising Friday, us and Aqualuna a week today (Sunday) so its OK we're last. We seem to be gaining but its hard to be sure, its heard to here all the positions. I'm fairly confident in reeling in some of them before we get to Nuku Hiva.

Oooh this got a bit long...... Island Kea II Out.

Position: 7° 12' S, 106° 0' W | Posted: Sun 4th April 2010

Too Posh by Half

Sigh, its a bit bouncy and I've got a decent laptop. I.E. I didn't get it from pc world. Because its good it watches for shocks to the hard drive and moves the heads out of the way if it detects them.

I'm on a moving boat, in the middle of the pacific ocean. I think I've managed to turn it off, but when the laptops working hard such as now when the generator is on re rendering videos for the iPod it slaughters the performance. Just realised why it took about half my battery and ages to make this yesterday.

Lots of dolphins, and man this is a big ocean

I should point out that we're running fast, and I do mean fast we were averaging 8 knots yesterday, last night it was down a bit, still high sevens. There's not much current helping us at present either we're really running that quick. Judging by the roar of water passed my head, we're still charging along. To put this into perspective, when on Jackal last time it says in my blog for this passage that it took 6 days to get 500 miles. After 5 days we're already 770 miles in.

Position: 6° 34.5' S, 101° 50.6' W | Posted: Sat 3rd April 2010

Big Brother

Boredom breeds what Vardnean College referred to as "Professional Development". I've been fiddling with the faces function on Picasa.

Picasa's a free photo manipulation program come library program, its a Google owned freeby. It scores particularly highly since its crop enhance and effects filters are non destructive. So if you crop a photo, the original image off your camera remains unchanged, however next time you open Picasa it re-crops it before sowing you. You can have your cake and eat it as well.

I started adding people to it, it can now recognise faces. So I told it Me, Alan, Jacky and Christian and it found a hell of a lot more photo's we were in in than the few I clicked on. Old friends who are reading this should not be offended. Its just that I bought the Digital Camera for my last trip - stands to reason the largest numbers would be the crew of Jackal.

Here's the Leader board:

Dolphins, lots of them

  1. Me - 374
  2. Christian - 147
  3. Jacky - 115
  4. Matt - 111
  5. Alan - 88
  6. Mei - 73
  7. Katrin - 59
  8. Steve - 42 
  9. Toby - 41
  10. Chris - 41
  11. Paul Clark - 35
  12. Virginia - 32
  13. Sherm - 30

Which clearly indicates I love my self - a lot. More than twice as much as I like Christian. I love my self 3 times more than Matt (who frankly only got that far up the rankings by getting married twice). Sherm, Paul, Ginny. Your a tenth the man I am. Statistically speaking of course. Toby! Oi why then hell has Toby got into 9th Place?. Hell I've got 20 pictures of Crazy Horse. Of all the sailing club regulars many of whom I've know for 15 years appearing in the list, Simon who I regularly crew for and have crossed the Atlantic with, manages 13, Paul Clark who's got on the list due to an epic trip (with borrowed camera) to lake Garda in Italy is below him. Toby how did you do it? I've never even shared the rescue boat with him...

 Old friends should be offended, Jake and James (flax) a mere 8, if it wasn't for all the band photos even Sherm wouldn't make the list, Chris has done relatively well, must have been the Holiday snaps. Toby though takes the biscuit.

The Point?

Where a Dolphin used to be

There isn't one. Today's going well its now more than 24 hours since the Engine was on. We're doing over 7 knots, with a bit of current on top, in slight seas most of the morning's been glorious sunshine. Hopefully we're in the South East Trades that will carry us all the way to the Marquesas. Tis a long way to go. 2650Nm last I looked. Yesterday we had literally a hundred dolphins playing under the bow. Normally a digital wirr think wirr click camera pointed at a dolphin will shoot empty sea, there's 9 visible in the top snap! Right is where a jumping Dolphin used to be.

We've been struggling a bit for the last few days, messy sea and no wind. Smooth and fast is good in comparison. We've also re-deployed the towed water generator. Which should save fuel. It seems to be running well with small the small blades on it. The draw back may be sharks. They bite them. Its a 12 mm thick piece of rope with an inch thick by 2foot long stainless bar on it with some little plastic blades on that. Several kilos of spinning metal. Any shark that bites that is going to know about it!

Position: 5° 37' S, 96° 25' W | Posted: Thu 1st April 2010

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