Friday, 23 May 2014

After one week at sea, we still have nearly 200 nautical miles left to Bermuda. At the moment it looks like we'll arrive in Bermuda Saturday – just in time for the Champions League Final (If they care about that in Bermuda).

The previous week we haven't had a lot of wind, and with only 100 litres of diesel (our tank capacity), we've had to economize a bit with the motor sailing. However, the weak winds have made our trip slow but very comfortable, and I do prefer that to fewer but less comfortable days at sea. It looks like we’ll hit a stronger low pressure in the last 150 nm, though, so the last one and a half day will probably be less comfortable.

Debut on the SSB
In the past week I've had my debut on the SSB radio. When I started sailing with Henrik, I was very reluctant to speak on the VHF radio, but I have more or less overcome that by now. Operating he SSB radio on the other hand I have left entirely to Henrik. Every morning at 7.30 the Salty Dawg Rally have a round-call, but since Henrik’s night watch ends at 7.00, he was already asleep the first morning out. Because I didn't want to disappoint Linda, who together with her husband Bill is the founder and organizer of the Salty Dawg Rally, I had to turn on the radio myself, find the channel, find out our position, and figure out the wind speed and wind direction. The first day I messed it up a bit, but since then I have improved.

SSB-lingo
When we now on the daily round call get to Capibara (which amongst the Americans are pronounced capib(aa)r(a) in stead of capib(ah)r(ah)), I answer: “Good morning Linda! Capibara’s position is XX XX north, XX XX west. The wind speed is X knots coming from XXX.” Yesterday at the evening round call I even added “Did you copy?” and ended the following chat with a “Capibara clear”. I’m still reluctant to use the (super cool) phrase “roger”. The others on the SSB net say “roger roger” and “roger that” all the time, but I think I lack a bit SSB-experience to use it.

HAM license
I’m surprised how much fun I think it is communicating on the SSB radio. I consider myself a pretty modern person, who can’t live without my iPhone, so talking on the SSB seems quite old fashioned - especially now when we can send and receive e-mails through our Iridium phone while at sea. Never the less, I'm now thinking about getting myself a HAM license. And when I get it, I’ll definitely use “roger” all the time and add my calling sign every time I say Capibara: “This is Capibara, Oscar-Delta-Bravo, Four-Zero-Five, signing off.”

Salty Dawg Rally Spring 2014
Follow our position and the other Salty Dawgs in the Salty Dawg Rally Spring 2014

Signe Stoor: Freelance Journalist and friend of Boatshed