Wednesday, August 11th 2010
Pos.: 48°53'80 N - 31°50'38 W.
Today is the 12th day since we left St. John’s and I estimate that we will arrive in Ireland in three to four days. This really has turned into a speedy journey considering that there is a distance of 3.200 kilometers between Newfoundland and Ireland.
We were, however, lucky with the weather. We had no storms, which could well have been expected on this route. Instead we met up with a sea fog, which was often so thick that one could hardly see a hand in front of one’s face. Not only was the visibility bad – it was also the dampness and the oppressive feeling of being under a lid which were hard to cope with.
It is also necessary to constantly watch the radar screen so as not to miss an oncoming ship. I certainly would not like to sail here without radar. But after about four or five days, the fog got thinner and the visibility automatically improved. We had mostly winds from the south-west with a force of 4-5 Beaufort, which virtually meant optimal conditions for us. We sailed almost the whole time with a starboard tack – often with all sails set. It was just wonderful sailing. The routine on board was often pleasantly interrupted by the sightings of whales and / or dolphins, which we saw almost every day. We just sighted a huge sperm whale which was obviously relaxing on the water surface and was not afraid of us at all.
As of today, we unfortunately have almost no wind and must sometimes use motor power. We are under the effects of a high pressure area above the Azores and that is causing the winds to go down to zero. The Atlantic is as calm as a flooded gravel pit today – well almost.
During the whole crossing we were kept informed daily by the weather station in Hamburg and were, therefore, able to set our route so that we could take optimal advantage of the wind. Thanks to modern satellite technology, we can receive weather information daily by email.
Life on board during a crossing like this one is mostly determined by the watch system. We have three watches: the first begins at midnight and ends at four in the morning. After that the watches are 4-8 and 8-12.The system repeats itself; the first watch is now from 12 to 4 o’clock pm and is responsible for the ship and so on.
There are two people for each watch. As skipper I don't go on watch but am "on call" at all times. The advantage of this system is that I can always help when help is necessary, but am not bound to a fixed watch system. Each watch is responsible as well for one meal. We unfortunately do not have a cook for this part of the journey and must cook ourselves. The mealtimes depend on the watches; breakfast is from 7:30-8:30, lunch from 11:30-12:30 and dinner from 7:30-8:30 pm. During the day, bread must be made and a different crewmember has mess duty every day. This means doing the dishes, cleaning the toilets and the sinks and sweeping and washing all the floors in the ship. There is just no chance to get bored.
I am expecting us to arrive in Dingle on the 15th and the next camera team is awaiting us there.
But first there is one thing very necessary and of high priority – and that is a shower.