Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The mailman

Every day, there are moments more important than other. Of course, the
three meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, that we take sitting down in
the main cabin, after having dressed the table properly. Also, drinks
before dinner at 6:00 p.m., although it takes more and more creativity
to manufacture some munchies for the occasion.
But there are two very important times in the day, and that is when the
mailman delivers the mail.
The first time is at noon, after the noon fix, when I send the request
for a grib file. In that same session, we send the mail that was written
after the last session of the day before, and we receive the mail send
also after that last session. Everyday, we know that we will have at
least one message, that from Annie, Jean-Fracois's wife, with numbered
messages so that J.F. can make sure that he did not miss any. But we may
have up to 8 messages. Brothers of the coast, family, friends,
suppliers, our weather service and so on. We then have lunch and then
read the messages, sometimes print them and prepare to answer them.
After lunch, it is usually my watch, and I take the time to answer my
messages. J.F. does it when he comes up for watch at 2:00 p.m.
Then when I take my watch at 4, I do a second session to receive the
grib file. We also send the replies written since lunch. Very often, at
that time, we receive more messages which will be replied to at the noon
session the next day.
Here in the Pacific, I have noticed quite a number of holes in the
satellite coverage. I even saw on one occasion the GPS lose its
satellites. Every time this happens, I kind of worry that it might be
caused by a technical failure on the boat. But so far, the connection
comes back and all is well.
For the last 24 hours, we have been running with the same set-up,
although we started the day with 6 hours on starboard tack steering on
320, then port tack directly to Fatu Hiva on 248. That set up, with the
main at 2 then 3 reefs and the genoa with its sheet going through the
end of the boom proves to be quite effective. In 24 hours, we have
covered 150 miles, i.e. 6.25 knots average. We have closed on Fatu Hiva
by 131 miles and we only have 207 miles to go. At that speed, we will
probably be too late to get in before dark tomorrow, but too early for
daybreak on the 20th. We will probably have to drift for a while waiting
for day break.

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