Ho hum...what to write today?... Engine on… Motoring in a straight line due south… Maybe I can find some inspiration from the logbook entries for the day...?
0300: Yankee 1 down, Main up. Motor-sailing. (Nothing very inspiring about that, I'm afraid.)
0500: Twilight. Clouds on the eastern horizon. (We spend a lot of time watching the clouds at sea as they often give an indication of a change in the weather and we were hoping that these clouds would bring us a little bit of breeze and some welcome rain to cool us off, but in the end they remained where they were and never affected us at all.)
0600: Crossed 09 N in 025 07.757 W at 0729. (Perhaps a bit confusing that at 0600 we were able to write in the logbook where we were at 0729! This is because daily life aboard Zhuhai is run on local time, in this case 0600. But entries in the logbook are made in UTC for consistency, so 0729 UTC at this longitude is 0529 local time.)
0800: Delicious bread :) (The standby watch always bake fresh bread every morning. This morning we discovered that all of our remaining apples were starting to go bad, so rather than throw them all out, Sophie Cross had the idea to cut them up and add them to the bread mix. Another lovely treat from the galley!)
1100: Hot (that small word really doesn't do justice to the temperature on the boat in these Equatorial regions. Some of the crew are really suffering badly from the heat.)
1200: Nothing exciting to report. (That sums up today quite nicely!)
1300: Changed to starboard inner fuel tank. (We have four tanks of diesel aboard the Clipper 70s so that we can run the generator for charging the batteries, or use the main engine when permitted to motor through the Doldrums Corridor. We have now used just under 1/4 of our diesel since leaving Portimão. The two outer tanks are larger than the inner tanks. Se we have approximately 3/4 of our fuel remaining to complete the second half of the race. It should easily be enough, though for the next 36 hours our consumption will be higher than average as we are motor-sailing. Consumption drops considerably when we are just charging the batteries.)
1400: More brown boobies. (No not those ones...Sula leucogaster is a very widely distributed bird in the gannet family, found in all of the tropical oceans of the world. It looks something like a juvenile gannet. In the tropical regions of the Atlantic Ocean we see them every day, regardless of our distance from land. They feed on flying fish.)
1500: Mainsail in for trimming. (The first indication that we are breaking through the Doldrums into the SW Monsoon was that the mainsheet needed to be brought in as the wind shifted from the east towards the south, causing the mainsail to start flapping.)
0100: Day tank topped up. (Fuel is pumped out of our four main tanks into a 100 L day tank before it is pumped to the engine. At the speed we are doing we consume a bit less than 10 L/hour, so the day tank has the potential to run dry every 10 hours. Every watch has a team member designated to monitor the fuel levels and occasionally they have to go into the sweltering heat of the engine room to top up the level of the tank. Those that complain of the heat on deck or in the accommodation area really need to spend a bit of time in a boat's engine room in the Tropics to get a new understanding of what hot really means!)
So I guess that kind of sums up a day in the life aboard Zhuhai while motoring through the Doldrums… Not very exciting I'm afraid, but the Doldrums are something to be endured and we will soon be back into proper racing mode when things start to happen once more.
As I write this a ship has just appeared on the AIS, 24 miles away, northbound, so at least we know we are not alone out here...