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Sunday, April 17, 2011

April 15, 2011-Passage to Africa, Dispatch #5

I'm standing by the mast looking to the west. Africa is there somewhere just over the horizon. I can smell it. Africa!

The sky to the west is clear; a pale blue with a few light clouds. There is a hint of dirt and livestock in the air. The dirt and livestock of Africa. I swear it! I've been waiting for years for this landfall. I know we'll make it in a day or so.

Standing here with the wind blowing in my face feels good. It is a cool and dry wind. The tropics are long behind us now, possibly for good. I'm enjoying the fresh air, and the feeling of being so close to our goal.

But it is slow going. There is not much wind and the seas are choppy and there is a foul current that is sapping two knots from our speed. Maybe it is payback for the previous two days when we had a two knot boost from a west bound current. Anyhow, we were slogging along yesterday in a dying breeze and at midnight when the sailing finally became impossible and I switched on the Yanmar. Now with the motor we can go six knots but we are only making four knots towards Africa.

This will delay the arrival but won't stop it.

Meanwhile life goes on aboard Wings. We eat, we sleep, we stand our watches. The SSB radio died completely on the 13th, (Oh, Happy Birthday, Jan) so we have had no long range radio communication, no weather reports, no email, no blog postings until now. (When this goes out we will be in port in Africa). I took the radio apart but I can't find anything visibly wrong. Losing the radio saddens me, but we'll get by. We hope people who have been expecting us don't get worried. Meanwhile I have talked to a couple or commercial ships on the VHF and they have given me weather reports which didn't say much but didn't sound threatening at least.

I've made further progress on the broken boom vang and now realize that only the topping lift function is broken, the boom vang still operates as a vang. So that too is good.

If the motor hangs in there, or some breeze comes up, we'll be in Africa in about 30 hours: Midnight Saturday, April 16.

Later than we planned, but we'll get there.

Fred & Judy, with Jean-Mee and Jennifer as crew, SV Wings, On Passage

Click here to see the Log Book Pages for this passage

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