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Date: 30 Dec 2006 18:04:56
Title: Day twelve - wash day!

Noon position 18:03.1N 34:33.0W   
 
Day's run 117nm   
 
We're feeling all sparkling today as we've both had a shower. Allow me to explain. Unlike the majority of yachts making this passage we don't have a watermaker (desalinator), it was on the wish list but the budget wouldn't stretch so it got left out. This means that the only fresh water we have access to is that which we carry, about 500 litres in the tanks plus a small reserve in jerry cans for emergencies. 500 litres actually goes quite a long way if you're sensible but it does mean that the luxuries of life, like having a shower, have to be rationed. So as you can imagine getting clean is quite a nice feeling as it doesn't happen very often! Today's wasn't the first of course, we allowed ourselves one on Christmas day and hopefully we'll be able to have another couple before we arrive. I hope so, otherwise Barbados immigration won't let us in.
 
We got the gennaker up again at lunchtime today and have been going well since - not reflected in the "day's run" above as that's only up to 1200 today. Unfortunately when we drop that sail at dusk our speed will fall off again until daylight when hopefully we can hoist it again. It makes a hell of a difference - in light winds the genoa only gives us 4-5kts, unleash the gennaker and that shoots up to 6-7-8 kts. Hopefully the wind will be right for us to use it a bit more often as it's the difference between 100 miles a day and getting to Barbados before Easter...
 
Having had a shower it's a shame that I'll be gennaker-wrestling again soon and getting all salty and sweaty - ah the pleasures of sailing!
 
We saw some interesting contacts on the radar last night. As we're out in such a large expanse of ocean we rarely see anything at all, but at night we regularly do a few sweeps with the radar on 24nm range just to make sure there's nothing heading our way. Last night we had a number of quite strong contacts within a few miles of us, which if they were boats we should have seen their lights but saw nothing, so we wonder if perhaps they were whales? We may never know...

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