Unidentified Floating Object
Our weather router’s suggested course of 340-345 degrees to take us slightly south-west of Bermuda in preparation for lighter winds is scuppered by the sighting of a giant floating object some 130 miles south of the island. This unlit leviathan described as a large steel box about 60 ft by 40 ft, and 20 ft above the water, has potential to sink ships. And because wind and current conspire to put this monster bang in front of us if we keep to the advised route, we are aiming for the east of Bermuda instead. The rectangle formed by the hazard markers on the photo of chart plotter indicate it’s likely location (probably more SW as we get near).
The popular guess is that this floating lump of potential harm is a dry dock door that has broken free of its tow in the Canaries and is celebrating its freedom by following the trade winds for a holiday in the Caribbean. But here’s the thing: I can understand a tow breaking, but I find it difficult to comprehend why anything under tow – vessel or lump of metal – isn’t fitted with AIS. A functioning AIS transmitter would make these floating objects visible to nearby shipping, and the addition of a locator beacon would facilitate anything that has broken free to be retrieved or scuppered. These technologies aren’t expensive. We have three AIS transmitters on Lady Jane and two locator beacons. And I’m a parsimonious northerner. In the meantime, this box is still lurking out there, but no one knows precisely where.
Anyway, the impact of this forced new course, and now slightly forward-of-the-beam seas, is felt mostly by Maria. Her previously forgotten seasickness has returned with malice. She has spent the best part of three days lying down un the cabin settee hardly able to move or eat. The sea state isn’t the most crew-friendly; it has the appearance of water on a fast boil. Even I (usually unaffected by seasickness) feel uncomfortably queasy when down below.
Lady Jane, however, is coping exceptionally well. We are sailing with around two-thirds of our mainsail out, and the genoa furled halfway between the first and second reef markers. With this setup, Lady Jane is sailing flat in 23 knots of true wind and can cope with squalls that have brought gusts of up to 30 knots.
We reached the halfway point last night, so will be celebrating by breaking out the ginger biscuits and Stugeron.