Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Proximity to land can drive one mad!

During Happy hour we had our closest passing of a vessel anywhere on the trip. The AIS showed us that Darya Tara was 6.5 miles away and on course to take us out! Called him up to advise him of our presence, which he acknowledged, and made a three deg course change which was sufficient to clear our stern by about 1 mile.
We also learned a bit about the accuracy of the C-map 93 charts! SAN 5 shows an 11 mtr breaking seamounton the edge of Jasseur bank, so we had wished to plot a course between Montague and Vitoria Banks. The Garmin Blue charts dont even show the banks at all, so to try to get a more precise turning point, I opened up Maxsea, and picked pos 20,19,029S, 36 59,56W. After we had reached this point of safety, and changed course towards Cabo Frio, the depth alarm oes off pop! Now it makes the same sound as Fred when he dies, so nerves were a tad fraught! Having discovered that Fred was fine, Mary notices that the depth is changing..95.4, 95.3, 95.2 etc. She wakes me up with some alarm, to report the situation. Sure enough, it is now reading 85.6, 85,5, 85.4, 85.3.. "Mem, depth does'nt change by point 1 of a metre every second! Sure you did'nt press the countdown timer?" Dont think so, but then turn it off! Five minute later we down to 67.8, 67.7,67.6..Lets look at the detailed Cmap chart! We fire up Maxsea, plug the GPS in, and .. See Mem, we're well clear of the banks in 1697mts of water! " Then why are we now down to 56.6, 56.8, 56.4, cos thats not a count down!" After plotting the depths for an hour and a bit, it is quite clear that the edge of the Vitoria banks are NOT where C-maps say they are! The N/E corner is a good 5 to 6 miles out! So the course we chose to avoid any bank turbulance ran right down the 50mtr contour for a couple of hours, and it was lumpy! Our night watch system got seriously messed up, and perhaps thats the reason why Mary deleted the most recent SMS message, instead of reading it! Apologies to whoever sent it! We had spent the night on too much of a downwind broad reach, with pole out on port, after our course change, intending to move the 6mtr pole to stb at daylight. This meant we sailed rather slowly, with the main to midships to clear the jib,rolling around in a horrible sea! Dawn sees us swing the pole to stb and jump to 7.5-8.0knots! That was great, until Fred chose to give up again! Heaven knows why , perhaps too much weatherhelm as we were being thrown about by the quartering swells. Opened the reservoir, checked fluid levels, reset instruments and pilot, and A for Away!
Our days run was 134nm, leaving us 366 to go. At present we are running down to the oil terminal at 6 knots, and should be able to decide if we can cut the corner a bit, as the leg from there to Ihla Grande could be a bit of a beat in this weather. I might try to hang a right in the same sort of area that we did in African Rennaisance en route to Rio. Someone has sent a big/complex message which is blocking our ability to receive any others. The connection keeps breaking down before we receive any thing. It also seems that 50 % of the messges are from Amos connect to say they have a problem ! And Ive got to waste time and pay for that download time? Cheers for now!

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