Sunday, May 31, 2015

Monday Blog

Position 010615 0400 hrs GMT
27°20' N, 60°40' W
Wind SSE 6 knots
Boat speed 6.5 knots
Course 030

Although Bermuda is only some 360 miles away, we cannot sail straight downwind so are forced to zig zag which adds to the distance we need to sail.  We wont arrive before Wednesday at the earliest.

According to its website Bermuda has only one compulsory entry point for yachts, which is in the north, and is closed from midnight until 0800, so there is no point in arriving at night.  You have to enter and leave via this station, which is some 18 miles from the capital at Hamilton.  We are looking for an alternative berth as this boat is not designed to motor and can only make 4 knots under power.

Since it was Sunday, breakfast was made up of the last of the eggs and the day passed finding shade around the deck.  The squalls continue, not as violent as further south and the rain is welcome as it cools everything down, apart from allowing us to top up the water bottles.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sunday Blog

Position 310515 0400 hrs GMT
24°22' N, 60°43' W
Wind ESE 8 knots
Boat speed 6.3 knots
Course 06

Saturday started well.  We found the aft ballast tanks had not emptied so pumped them out which removed transom drag and put the speed up by 25% Mid morning we had a big squall, took 2 reefs in the main, bore away at 14 Knots and made some lovely progress.   Later, when we decided to let out
one of the reefs the batten car tore out a small section of track.  Up the mast and we guided the slides over the gap to get the mainsail with one reef.  The track will be repaired in Bermuda.  Nice to be sailing faster
than the wind again.

The Tropic of Cancer was crossed in the afternoon and was duly toasted. Its the first crossing of this tropic at sea for Dilip and Josh.

Another day, another set of cigarette inventory. Looks like tea bags will be safe on this passage as crew maintain their discipline and usage is being strictly monitored. At the time of writing this blog, the inventory stands at
34 cigarettes which we believe is excellent given the extra effort put in by
the crew up the mast.

During the morning squall, we were refreshed by some lovely warm rain which not only rinse Grey Power of the accumulated salt but equally the crew. Lovely start to the day after the days of heat which we have enjoyed. Fresh
water was duly harvested from the mainsail which avoided the need of playing with the water maker. It was more efficient than our water maker and is the best water we have tasted to date. Nice and sweet!!

After the work on the mast, we settled for a lovely Indian version of pot mess which delighted all on board. The recipes provided by Dilip are wonderful, if only he could remember what he put in them so we could recreate
them in the future.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Grey Power Blog - Saturday

Position on May 30, 2015 at 0600 hrs GMT
21°41' N,  60°23' W
Wind East 10 knots
Boat speed 6.6 knots
Course 015

As your would expect on the good ship Grey Power, we started the day with a tobacco inventory. The captain's rule is that the next day's allowance is only allocated after morning coffee and at that time I am pleased to report that there were two cigarettes carried over from yesterday. Based on the fact that there was one carried over from the previous day, this sets a trend that there should be three carried over tomorrow but this sensible suggestion felt on deaf ears as you would expect from the on-board team.

Anyhow, I am pleased to report that as of 9 am ship's time, our cigarette inventory was at 48. This is being closely monitored on an hourly basis when all crew are summoned to check the stores.

This morning we decided to tackle some more engineering tasks prior to breakfast. Robin and Dilip decided to work on the keel hydraulics whilst Josh was tasked with water making. Based on valuable input from Jason and his team @ Grenada Marine we managed to swing the keel to starboard whilst gaining a greater understanding of the knobs and leavers that live underneath our chart table. We are not fully sorted with the keel but work is in progress....

In parallel to this, Josh worked on the water maker. This was more a bag of mixed results - although we made 1 gallon of water (sorry our skipper is still stuck in imperial measurements) - we thereafter struggled to make any water. The current assumption is that the speed of the boat (6 Knots at the time of writing) overcome the suction of the pump. So sail slow for water or be dammed by the venturi effect of the water flowing past the hull. More experimentation required as sailing slow is not in the vocabulary of RKJ!!!

Anyhow our valiant engineering efforts were rewarded by an outstanding breakfast of fried peperoni, onion and baked beans! True cowboy food and perfect in the absence of fresh bacon! A perfect start to the day and living with the heat. At lunchtime, under the guidance of the world renowned expert on these tropical matters, Commander Dilip Donde advised us that the body was bad at retaining vitamin C under these extreme conditions so a double round of rum and lemon juice was ordered for all crews. This was
consumed around a debate of naval history and putting the world right both in the UK and further afield.

A "lazy" afternoon followed due to the climatic conditions before an outstanding pot mess resembling a chilli con carne without the chilli. It goes without saying that our Vitamin C levels were checked and replenished followed by a bottle of red to mark the mid point of this passage. We are now expected in Bermuda Wednesday(ish) and hence one bottle out of the two carried on board sounded eminently sensible.

So far we have crossed three other vessels. One on the first night, one last night and a catamaran today whose "captain" hailed us on VHF. Commander Dilip duly apologised for our Admiral being otherwise engaged with his pillow and unable to personally respond on the VHF.

Settling in for the night with good conditions!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Friday Blog from Grey Power

Position on May 29, 2015 at 0600 hrs GMT
19°10'60.00"N, 60°23'60.00"W
Wind Easterly 8 knots
Boat speed 5 knots
Course 350

Good morning,

We are making good, steady but slower than expected progress towards
Bermuda. As I write we have some 821 nautical miles to go so we don't
expect to make land until Tuesday or Wednesday based on current conditions.
That's ok as our stores will ensure we do not go hungry!!!!

This morning we set the reaching sail to keep boat speed up. Hoisting the
sail felt like a PE class on the forward deck. However our efforts were
duly rewarded by a wonderful breakfast prepared by Dilip. Bombay potatoes
with a peanut twist! Lovely!!

Cigarette counting remains a high profile activity on board even more so
than before given the extra time we are likely to spend at sea. Good
behaviour meant that one cigarette was carried forward from yesterday's

Due to the heat, not much activity happened during the day. At lunchtime,
new recipe for rum was trialled with fanta but to everyone's delight we
resumed to lime tonight.

We need to replenish water stock using the water maker and this will be the
focus of activity in the morning as all other maintenance tasks are under


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Thursday Blog from Grey Power

Position on May 28, 2015 at 0600 hrs GMT

16°47'0.00"N, 60°19'0.00"W
Wind Easterly 8 knots
Course 005
Speed 8 knots

Hello everyone,

As we approach night 3 on Grey Power - life has evolved. Dilip and Robin are now concentrating on maths - they seem to spend much of their time working out ETA versus cigarette consumption to ensure that they arrive in time without needing to resort to tea bags. So far they are doing the sharing of cigarettes like teenagers going for a quick one before being caught!!! Tonight, Robin was trying to shorten the day and get tomorrow's allowance brought forward only to be sensibly reminded by Dilip that we needed some for a safe pilotage into harbour. So agreement has been reached the a subsequent day's allowance commence with the first cup of coffee in the morning.

By tonight all our fresh stores (food) will have been cooked and from here on we are into our tinned supplies. After two days of bacon for breakfeast we are now looking forward to Dilip's Bombay potatoes. Much eagerness is being place on this delight which we look forward to in the morning. Dilip is proving to be the king of the breakfast fry up!!! After Bombay potatoes tomorrow, we will need to figure out what we can cook in the morning. Suggestions on a postcard please!!

As Grey Power turns to be an oven during the day, all maintenance activities cease by order of our skipper between 11am and 4pm. This morning we decided to commission the watermaker to no avail. So we spent the best part of 3 hours removing it from the bulkhead, stripping it down and replacing the motor (Thanks to Simon @ Clipper we had a spare on board). This was duly refitted and no difference. We solved the problem this evening by direct wiring the watermaker to a battery so we could make water and plan to run a new cable once in Bermuda. Looks like we are going to need to replace the old wiring once in Bermuda.

In the meantime, the sun is getting to Robin and Dilip with more Hindi being spoken as the hours go on. The strange thing is that Dilip does not understand all the time Robin's phraseology so all in all Hindi lessons are progressing for all involved.

Life on board the good ship Grey Power is good, she treats us well and with our daily rations of lime juice (augmented by Rum to make it acceptable to the crew), we are enjoying our ride to Bermuda. Tonight, two toasts were held. The first to the watermaker while the second and most important to the Queen for delivering another speech in the House. God bless her.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wednesday Blog

Position on May 27, 2015, 0600 hrs GMT
13°54' N, 60°43' W
Course 13
Speed 9.4 knots

Tuesday was frustrating.  The wind never achieved predictions and came from NE x E instead of ENE, so we hyad to tack our way north with increasingly light winds.  In our first 24 hours we achieved just 85 miles towards Bermuda, which will affect our ETA.  

Then at sunset, as we were eating Potmess, the wind veered and steadied and we now have St Lucia 9 miles to the west and are making 9 knots in the right direction.

The additional temporary stove is now up and running and used a bent coathanger to keep the pot/frying pan in place.  Scurvey is being beaten back by the application of lime juice to the crew disguised with a tincture of Guadaloupean rum.   

It is hot!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Position on May 26, 2015 at 0600 hrs GMT

11°55' N,  61°16' W
Wind ENE Force 4-5
Course 125 degrees
Frequent tacks in squalls

Monday Blog

Via Nigel Rowe and Sail Training International, we have made contact with John Wadson, the STI Bermuda representative, so now we think we will be berthing at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club.    Our arrival will be around next weekend, but we have made arrangements for Blogs and a map to be sent to everyone via Dilip’s Brother-in-Law, Mandar, daily so our progress can be monitored.

Jason lent us a car yesterday, so we explored the Island.  There is so much undeveloped potential here and it is not set up for tourism at all, so has the charm that the rest of the Caribbean has lost.  The people are friendly, but keep this to yourselves as this secret place must not be overrun.   There is little flat land, but it is pleasing to note that they found a decent level area to create a magnificent cricket stadium.

Grey Power is ready, and once we have concluded emigration and Port Clearance we will be on our way.    After a spot of lunch with Jason, who owns Granada Marine, which I thoroughly recommend for its friendliness and capability. The verandah bar on the beach at the side of the boatyard is the meeting place for all the cruising sailors.  Sad to leave, but we need to clear the Caribbean before 1st June, the official beginning of the hurricane season although nothing forecast at the moment.     So we will beat out clear of the windward islands and then take what comes to get to Bermuda.

The next blog will be tomorrow from the boat. If it does not come through I will have unsurprising IT problems!!!