Cape to Rio race – Day 9 update from Rotary Scout

c2r 2014 rotary scout FINALBy Grant Chapman.

Daybreak arrived a lot later this morning as we headed further west with the sunlight squeezing through small gaps in a leaden sky that was heavily overcast. With a constant 16knots breeze behind us we swopped the genoa for the heavier white spinnaker as so much cloud suggested that we could be in for a few squalls. We didn’t want to risk damaging the big purple bag further as it was already starting to fray at the edges. We also ran ‘tweakers’ to the spinnaker sheets which consisted of lines loaded on the winches that we could tension quickly to narrow the ‘shoulders’ of the spinnaker to spill wind out of the top of it should the need arise.

During the early hours of the morning we had lost power on our instruments and the bilge pumps which we later assumed was due to drawing out more power than our solar panels were supplying. So we turned off everything except for the tricolour on the mast, VHF radio and tracker unit to conserve power until sunrise.

We crossed the Greenwich Meridian at 06h33 UTC and contrary to the opinion of one of the crew members there was no bump as we went over the imaginary line. We spotted another big container ship steaming north east off our starboard side and Lorraine tried to land a somewhat diminutive tuna that had the temerity to strike the Rapala lure which was only a shade smaller than the fish itself. The fact that such a small fish could manage to chase down potential prey travelling at over 8 knots gave it away as being a tuna as not many fish are capable of such a turn of speed. The baby tuna skidded across the wake behind us as it was reeled in and then it inevitably dropped off the lure during one of the bounces close to the stern.

The mystery of Scarlet the ghost continued as Marcus claimed that she sang a ballad to him about having lost her lover at sea many, many years ago and how she would return to take a new one on a still and moonlit night. He said that she also sang about how her new lover would know of her intentions when she gazed into his eyes while he slept. Knowing that tonight would be full moon Ashwyn was starting to look decidedly pale at the thought.