James, thanks for the questions. I’ll do my best but know that when at sea after several days into a crossing ones IQ lowers due to sleep deprivation and being bounced around.
1.) How many hours a day are you sailing (traveling)?
We sail 24 hours a day. For this trip we’ve averaged about 135 nautical miles per day but not necessarily toward our destination. This route is kind of L shaped with the first leg being mostly south to get into the trades which we hit yesterday. When we left the La Palma we had to tack for several hours and didn’t motor until the wind died down. We preserve/manage fuel for emergencies or to get into better wind.
2.) Do you sail throughout night? (ie: auto pilot), Does crew member need to stay up/watch?
Yes we stand watch 24/7 on passage. The autopilot does all the work. I stay up after diner until about midnight. Jerri until about 4AM, Me again until 8-9AM, Jerri until 12-1pm then we are together from 1-7pm. So we actually only spend about 6 hours awake together per day. If I get woken frequently sometimes I’ll take a nap in the afternoon.
Watch is kind of adhoc during daylight hour but we have the radar/AIS on a look around as we think about it. During nighttime we set a timer and look around every 15 minutes. I will sometimes look at the radar for hours and watch the wind speeds, boat speeds and directions. Our radar can see most boats but not the smaller fishing boats. AIS is on most boats and all big ships. We can see them from a long distance and hear an alarm if they get on a collision course.
3.) How many hours a day are spent on maintenance on the boat?
In general, I try to do one boat repair per day. Just by starting the repair I tend to get distracted and work on a few. Today I was lazy and all I did was run the make water, run the engines to charge the batteries, adjust the sails, do some navigating. Repairs underway are typically just safety issues and luckily we’ve only had the tranmission issue that we worked on a few days ago. Before the crossing we did 50 – 100 hours of work ourselves and had professionals do about a weeks worth of work.
4.) Can you describe the sea conditions with respect to height of waves high, frequency?
Every day is different. When we sailed from Gibraltar to the Canaries we had up to 40knots of wind for a day and 30 for a day. The wind was from behind so it’s very manageable. If it was “on the nose” it would have been really miserable. We check the weather at least twice a day and have an accurate 14 day forecast so our goal is to never get caught in a big headwind. In 40 knots you get breaking waves on top of big swells. The waves slap the boat and throw you around. In one such wave, while Jerri was heading down a large step she tore her ACL so you can get bounced around but that’s unusual. On this passgage we have 5-8 foot waves from behind that the boat surfs down because we’re sailing mostly downwind. The best description I can think of is a slow canter on a horse that is not sure footed. You rhythmically go up and down with little jerks here and there and sometimes the jerks are more exaggerated and sometimes they settle into but you are always bracing for a jerk one way or another.
5.) How do you manage your food supplies? (how much you have Frozen vs canned, do you need to catch, etc…)
Jerri is now a pro here. We vacuum seal frozen meats, buy fresh produce the day we leave and the first 5 days have everything we could want. Today we finished the Zucinni and for lunch we are done with the lettuce so we hade slightly boiled cabbage for a salad. We’ll get into the canned food for the rest of the trip.
I’m lazy on passage and only fish if it’s relatively calm and in daylight. We probabaly won’t fish anymore this trip.
We also have cans of soup and other emergency provisions so we could probabaly eat for 45 days in a pinch.