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Just catching up on Mark's tale. Been pretty busy the last few days. What a nightmare at Sea. Shorthanded auto steering has to be one of the most critical pieces of gear. If reliant upon an electric autopilot, it makes sense to carry spares. I was pretty sure he was going to carry a spare autopilot ram. So happy he worked it out. Amazing.

The preventer breaking was what got my attention. Mark is too good to have rigged a piece of dental floss. Can't help but wonder what broke: the line, the hard point, the block, etc. Obviously, this must all be substantial.

Looks like solid wind on the beam now an nearly to the trades. Hoping for an uneventful remainder.
 
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Dental floss is very useful aboard! I use it to sew on buttons. Easy to tread into the eye of the needle and the waxed kind seems to last forever. 😄
 

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this is what the brushes look like in the autopilot Motor. Size is 5x6x8mm long. It is amazing that Mark was able to remove them at sea without dropping into the bilge ! Respect!
20210331_152253_1.jpg
 
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An excerpt from their latest post. Seems like "south till the butter melts" still holds true. Let's face it, folks have been making this trip for 600+ years. :)

Our course is still South. Due South. South By South. Much to the chagrin of my friends who have been screaming we’re lost. We’ve been on the due south course for a week looking for an opportunity to turn west. Even the computer models have been scoffing at my southness… but finally a few hours ago all 4 computer models have swung into agreement with me!
 

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They've made the turn! Seems they are working hard to ride the edge of the wind. I think even further south would be more consistent, but they are trying to thread the forcasted wind needle. At least it's something to do on a 40 day passage. 40 days. Wow.

From Mark's latest post........

We have a dilemma: we have 2,200nms to go. One series of computer modelling using weather forecasts says we have 21 days to go by sailing the fastest route with good winds that takes us 300nms / 600 kms off the rhumb line.
The other series of computer models (a little cheat put into the data by moi) is slower, more along the rhumb line, 300nms/600 kms shorter and takes 22 days.
 

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He predicted it would take somewhere between 30 and 40 days. Winds do look a little more favorable ( consistent) at around 20 n. What I have noticed is that his departure timing from France couldn't have been better. It seemed like all the doors closed behind him after he passed through. He probably doesn't mind a few more days at sea in a gentle breeze, rather than a butt kicking. I guess they haven't caught a fish yet.
 

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South again to the trades! Way to go.
 
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Now he's home free! He's in the trades with 15 kn tail wind flying poled-out twin jibs, main furled and the boat steering itself. Hope he has a bimini or equivalent because now the butter is melting. He said the UHT milk he bought in France doesn't taste good, he should have tasted it before putting it aboard. I have quit using milk a long time ago. I buy Irish Country Cream at Costco, it comes in 1.5 liter plastic bottles and costs $9.99. Use it for coffee, cereals and whereever milk is called for. It never spoils even when open and I don't have refrigeration aboard. My solar seems to keep-up with usage in the summer when days are long. I wonder how comfortable his twins are under the cockpit when it's warm. I think AIS is a blessing.
2007-BENETEAU-CYCLADES-393_8731_14.jpg
 

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The latinos have full fat powered milk that tastes pretty good and last forever. Walmart carries it.
 

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We catch a FISH!
Tue Apr 06 2021
I am asleep in the Forenoon Watch after our row-boat adventure of the previous post, when Marjorie screams we have a fish on the hook.
As this is a hunter type activity and I am Male, I take instant charge and start winding in my fishing rod while barking orders: “Bring me a big knife. You call that a knife?” etc
Can we just pause here while I mention that I don’t like fishing? Actually I love fishing I just don’t like CATCHING fish. A lovely day or sitting around drinking beer and watching fishing rods is destroyed when a fish starts wiggling one. On a boat its even worse because I can’t stand the smell of rotten fish and can sniff out a tossed scale as soon as I get into the cockpit.
And I’m far to squeamish to take the caught fish off the hook. Let alone kill it.
Just lucky I’m born now and not in caveman times when your whole life is iccy things.
Anyway, back to the fray, after a couple of pulls on the rod I know something about this fish. It’s a tiddler. Tiny. Knee high to a grasshopper. But even a dwarf ocean pelagic fish can be the biggest thing ever to fit in the cockpit, which, remember, has sailing gadgets in it too… like hundreds of meters of ropes, steering wheel, cushions, novels, last nights empty coffee cups…
A baby dorado less than 1 meter long and just about to be hauled into the boat by Marjorie who has grabbed the boat hook.
Pause again while I lightly mention Marjorie is French so naturally gets a blood-lust up when she sees anything alive as she is consciously converting it into a recipe. And French need food done right: break bread, don’t cut it; cut blue cheese is some family secret method; etc.
Give the blood-lusted a huge sharp knife and, well, beware!
A meter long fish, Dorado, flips about 300 times per second and Marjorie is hauling it into the cockpit, and scales start to fly to places I will later smell. Its Beast against Beast and I give fish and woman 50:50.
So I decide to help. My only method is speed: kill it quick; fillet it quicker; chuck the rest over the side. And as an actor I add a few gratuitous histrionics. Loudly.
So the fish is sliced, diced and julienned in record time. The whole aft of the boat is covered in blood. Marjorie has been presented with 2 (OK, tiny) fillets of fish for her to cook.
I relax. Male duty done.
Marjorie says “Next time we catch a fish you kill it… and then go to the other end of the boat and stay there until I have prepared it”.
I guess I can take orders
:slight_smile:

Mark
 

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They haven't made a new post since, Tuesday. Hope they don't have their hands full with something like another failed autopilot. Looks like they are trying not to give up any more south, or maybe they want to inch back up to lighter breeze. It's been noted these models are not necessarily exactly what they are experiencing, however, it suggests they are DDW with 14kts on the stern.
 

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He must have seen your post, because about an hour and half ago, he turned south. There's some calms headed toward them, he might be headed south to stay on the wind, get north later.
 

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He must have seen your post, because about an hour and half ago, he turned south. There's some calms headed toward them, he might be headed south to stay on the wind, get north later.
I've not looked at predicted weather, but that strategy makes good sense to me. Running a little higher than DDW and be more comfortable too, depending on wave state.
 

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Mark seems to be jibing 10-15 degrees to either side of the rhumbline course of 266 Mag. He seems to be maintaining good speed and good VMG. They have around 2900 miles to go which at a 5 knot average speed is roughly another 24 days. I think that they are at sea for 23 days now, so that will be a 47 day passage, not all that much longer than Mark's original estimate of 30-40 days. The good news is that they seem to be safe and enjoying themselves.

Jeff
 

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My math could be off, but I come up with about 1663 N Miles and about 13 days @ 5 kn. probably more like 15 days if he hits the lulls
 
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