On Christmas Eve while sailing south towards the Cape Verde Islands we were becalmed. Two hundred miles off the coast of Africa the wind dropped completely and left us drifting at half a knot with the current. Alone on the Atlantic, we dropped the sails and went to sleep bobbing on the swell.
On Christmas morning we were woken by a light wind heading our way so we set the genoa and tried sailing with that while we ate breakfast but the wind was much too light and the sail flogged so it was time to finally unpack our christmas present – a Parasailor.
We first came across this downwind sail while in Spain. Stuart, from parasailor.co.uk, was also in Ayamonte and gave us a demonstration of the sail out on the river We were impressed; Shane said it was just what we needed and Stuart agreed to deliver it to the Canary Islands so the next morning we ordered a huge orange and black version.
Stuart delivered the sail as promised and also flew out from the UK with a bag of goodies to set the sail up for Artemis. Twice he came out with us and drilled us in hoist sail, jibe sail, strike sail, hoist sail, strike sail, … At the end of the second day we both had back ache and sore muscles.
So on Christmas Day it was finally time to hoist and rig the sail with no Stuart. The bad news was we were hundred of miles from anywhere if we needed help. The good news was we had another ten hours of daylight to get everything working and a few hundred miles of open water with no one in the way. To add to the fun there was the typical Atlantic swell rocking the boat and we had to do everything while clipped on to the boat with our safety lines. We tidied away the jib, rigged all the lines, brought the Parasailor on the foredeck, struck the Genoa, hoisted the sail in its sock, opened the snuffer and – were sailing. We only took ninety minutes from “OK let’s do this!” to “Yippee, we are Parasailors!”
In the last nine hours the apparent wind has varied between two and seven knots but we have an average sailing speed of 4.8 knots and no flogging sails. We are both happy with our Christmas present.