(Above) Capt. Eric Forsyth and the Fiona
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From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--A quiet day, with a stern wind of 8 to 10 knots. We are averaging 100 nm a day with the light winds. St. Martin is 2929 nm ahead. All well on board.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--Another quiet day of gentle sailing, with a breeze from the stern of about 12 knots. In the afternoon, the wind veered and we gybed in order to maintain course to the first waypoint, which is just north of the equator. Gybing is not so simple, as we had to shift the whisker pole from port to starboard. We are now 3,016 nm from the approach to St. Martin. Spaghetti for supper, then we watched a movie. All well on board.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--We have enjoyed a great sailing day; 12 knots of wind from the south east. Victor the Vane" in charge of steering. All well on board. St. Martin is 3133 nm ahead.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--Fiona weighed anchor and left Ascension Island at 2:40 pm, local time; bound for St. Martin in the French West Indies, 3,272 nm distant. ETA 1 April. On board Eric and Mathieu. Sailing nicely wing and wind.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--When we anchored in James Bay, Ascension Island, Jon and Mathieu decided to check in to the Obsidian Hotel. The next day, Jon liked the luxury so much, he quit the cruise and will fly to UK. Mathieu and I will sail Fiona to St. Martin; we plan to leave on Thursday. Today, we took a tour of cindery Ascension, conducted by Tony from the Conservation Centre. I think the most amazing thing is a tropical rain forest on the peak of the highest mountain--and man-made, too.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--Fiona anchored in James Bay, Ascension Island at 14:10 local time (UTC) on 3 March, 2014. It has taken a week to sail and some times power from St.Helena. We will stay two to three days and then leave for St. Martin, French West Indies.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--Overcast today, which was a welcome break from the heat. The wind remained light from the southeast; we sailed mostly wing and wing, sometimes a broad reach was needed to hold the course. Ascension Island is 75 nm; we should be there before sunset Monday. All well on board.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--We have enjoyed a light, but steady wind all day giving a us a run, wing and wing. At an extended Happy Hour we drank our rum while watching Woody Allen's brilliant film, Midnight in Paris. Mathieu, being French, particularly enjoyed it. Supper followe:; chicken curry with canned fruit for desert. Ascension lies 161 nm ahead.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--The newly-rigged mainsail has helped our speed, but no matter how big the sail is, it still needs a wind, which has been very light. We made good a hundred miles, noon to noon, in the past day, but that includes a few hours with the diesel running. We are 267 nm from Ascension Island.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--Another day of very light winds. But we attempted a little compensation by removing the storm mainsail, which had been bent on since the Falklands, and bent on the full mainsail. The forecast shows 5 to 10 knot winds over the whole area as far as Ascension Island. We have been running the diesel on and off. Ascension is 360 nm ahead. All well on board.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--We had a very quiet day, with a light wind that never exceeded 10 kts, and was mostly five kts. The sea is calm, the night sky brilliant, the rum is holding-up, so what's to complain about? All well on board; Ascension is 469 nm ahead.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--As usual, we could have used a little more wind, but tonight we are sailing nicely, with about 10 knots of wind on the port beam. The sea is calm. We had spaghetti for supper and afterwards watched a movie: Judy Dench as the Last of the Blonde Bombshells. Ascension Island is 547 nm ahead. All well on board.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--Fiona is leaving St.Helena today, bound for Ascension Island, ETA Saturday.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--Fiona moored in James Town Harbor at lunchtime, 21 Feb.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--Fair winds all day have propelled Fiona ever closer to St. Helena--we are now only 57 nm from the approach way point. From there, it is about two hours to the anchorage at James Town on the northwest corner of the island. Our ETA is just after daybreak on Friday, about 6:60 am local time.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--The wind seems to have deserted us--for 12 hours, we have been powering slowly over a calm sea. I hope we can refill our jerry jugs at St. Helena. I should have mentioned yesterday that we crossed the prime meridian on the 17th. Today and tomorrow are Birthdays: Jon is 50 today and Mathieu is 24 tomorrow. We had a combined party at Happy Hour, I baked a carrot cake, the Birthday Boys blew out a candle each and we knocked back a celebratory rum, or two.
The wind has picked up as forecast and we are moving nicely.;We had the first rain since we left Cape Town. Mathieu was 24 today; he called his parents in France on the Iridium phone. St. Helena is 179nm ahead, our ETA is Friday. All well on board.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--For the past two or three days, the main communication link between Fiona and the outside world, Sailmail, has been faulty. This was due to computer problems at the receiving station in Africa. The effect was to delay FNN postings and to have weather forecasts delivered after the forecast period had past! The weather, in fact, had hardly changed: sunny with very light wind. Today, we dropped the sails for a swim break; the water temperature was 80 F. Progress has been slow but steady, St. Helena lies 357 nm ahead.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--We have had great sailing today, with a fair wind that very slowly diminished. Now we are jogging toward St. Helena at 3 knots, with no perceptible wind. Mathieu trolled a line today and caught a fish about 18 inches long. After photos, we threw it back in the sea. We could not determine the species. Chicken curry for supper. Distance to island is 555 nm. All well on board.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--We have sailed into an area of calm again, although I hate to do it we have used the engine today for about five hours. St. Helena lies 461nm ahead.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--The past day and night has seen some great sailing--at night we have a full moon, by day the wind has picked-up and we are sailing near hull speed. There really is nothing better than sailing downwind on a warm night with the moon dodging between the clouds. I got an email today from a friend in NY to tell me they have had 55 inches of snow so far this year and more coming. Well, it's a tough life, sailing here at 25 degrees south, but someone has to do it! St. Helena is 699 nm ahead. Fair winds, Eric
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--The forecast was half right: the wind speed did increase in the morning, but later it dropped. The direction also became erratic and we moved the whisker pole from port to starboard and back several times, to keep Fiona sailing downwind wing and wing. We have been averaging about about 100 nm per day, with winds of about 10 knots. St. Helena lies 815 nm ahead. All well on board.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--Another quiet day: Mathieu and Jon continue to refine their celestial navigation skills. We passed a large sea turtle that waved a flipper. The forecast for tonight is for slightly stronger winds, 15 knots--that will be welcome. Spaghetti for supper. 918 nm to St Helena. All well on board.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--Another very quiet day, with winds not even reaching 10 knots. We powered some and sailed some. The sea is so calm that, even with only 8 knots of wind, we sailed at 4 knots, which should get us there in the end. Jon lowered his underwater video camera under the boat for some nice shots of the prop slowly turning, yet the fishes stayed out of range. We are 1017 nm from St.Helena. All well on board.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--A day of contrasts: complete calm until mid-afternoon--we powered over a flat sea.Then, a nice westerly wind developed and we sailed on port tack over the same calm sea. The Jon/Mathieu navigational team took noon sights and today came within 3 minutes (a minute equals a mile of latitude distance) of the GPS, which is very good. St. Helena lies 1108 nm ahead. All well on board.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--By lunchtime today, the wind picked up a little and since then, we have enjoyed a port reach over a calm sea. Jon and Mathieu took a noon sight and got the boat's latitude to within a minute of the GPS! A remarkable coincidence; celestial sights are rarely accurate to better than about five minutes.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--Another quiet day; very light winds until mid-afternoon, when they picked up to about 12 knots, from the south. We set the jib on the whisker pole to port and ran wing and wing until supper time, when the wind backed and we adjusted the sails for a port reach. Jon and Mathieu tried their hand with a sextant today. Tomorrow we will take a noon sight if the weather is fair. St. Helena is 1333 nm ahead.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--We have made little progress today, with very light winds, sometimes on the nose. In the afternoon, the sea ahead started to boil as a feeding frenzy developed. It was impossible to know what kind of fish were involved. Now, we are far from land, the sky at night is brilliant, with stars once the moon has set. The Milky Way lies north/south and the Southern Cross hangs over the stern. St. Helena is 1416 nm ahead. All well on board.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--Fiona is making good time, under clear skies, with a 15-knot breeze from the southwest. We are now 1510 nm from St. Helena. Spaghetti for supper. All well on board.
From Capt. Forsyth, at sea--Fiona is underway again! We left Cape Town just before lunch on 5 February, 2014. Crewing with Eric are Mathieu and Jon. Once clear of the wind shadow of Table Mountain, we picked up a fair wind as we headed for St. Helena, 1640 nm distant from our present position. Our ETA is 17 February.
From Capt. Forsyth--Jon Lihou joined the boat today, bringing the crew strength up to Eric, Matthuie, and Jon for the trip to St Martin, which is planned to start Wednesday. The steering system is fixed--we hope--and we plan a short sortie tomorrow to check it out and also refuel.
From Capt. Forsyth--Mathieu joined the crew on 28 January; he will sail as far as St. Martin. The third crew member, Jon, is expected on 1 February. Steering repairs are not completed yet.
From Capt. Forsyth--Capt. Forsyth's latest Newsletter about Fiona's Antarctic adventures has now been posted here.
From Capt. Forsyth--Simon left the crew list today, 16 Jan, and flew to Canada. The parts sent by Colin arrived yesterday via FedEx, and today, David and I fitted the new universal joint, so now the emergency tiller is functional again. A local rigger is preparing replacement parts for the wheel steering system. Yesterday, David, Bob, and myself, took the train to Simon's Town and toured a submarine. Today, we ascended to the top of Table Mountain via the cable-car, after we fixed the emergency steering. I have two crew signed-up for the leg to the Caribbean. They will join the boat after David and Bob sign off next week.