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Date: 31 Dec 2006 17:08:50
Title: Day thirteen - clocks going back

Noon position 17:26.8N 36:38.2W
 
Day's run 125nm       
 
As predicted, when the gennaker was taken down last night to be replaced with the genoa our speed dropped right off. We cheated a bit by running one engine for most of the night as the batteries were getting a little low and in need of a charge, and this helped push us along but still a disappointing day's run. In a new spirit of let's-pull-our-fingers-out-or-we'll-never-bloody-get-there togetherness we hoisted the gennaker at 0800, into a very slight breeze. Harrumph. The wind stayed light all morning and has only recently perked up a bit so now we're making reasonable speed, only, I fear, to slow down again overnight. On the plus side, we reckon we're now over half way to Barbados and cold beer, with only (only? Did I say only?!) 1325nm to go. Say it quickly and it doesn't sound far.
 
Something we hadn't really considered or indeed bothered to find out about was what to do about time on the boat. I don't mean what to do with our time, that's a separate problem, but what time to work to. The Canary Islands, for some reason, use UTC (GMT) so we were on the same time zone as the UK. But of course as we head further west we find that it's staying lighter longer and getting lighter later. As far as we can deduce, clocks need to be turned back by one hour for every 15 degrees of longitude you pass through. So now we have two times on board: UTC (GMT) is used for the noon position and radio scheds, and local time (currently two hours before UTC) for our watch system. Some boats we know stick to UTC for the whole trip and adjust it in one go at the other end but that only really works if you're running a watch system 24 hours a day (usually with a larger crew) which we're not. We share the responsibilities during the day, and at 2000 start a three hours on / three hours off watch system until 0800, which seems to work OK but you can see that if we stuck to UTC eventually we'd get all out of whack and be sleeping in daylight and both up in the dark. Not that we're not sleeping in daylight as well but you get the picture.
 
We're still having trouble maintaining radio contact with the other boats, apparently they can hear us but we can't hear them, but Lena (the Swedish boat I told you about, do try and keep up) is acting as go-between and relaying messages so it's no real problem, just a bit frustrating.
 
We don't have any New Year revelry planned, not least because one of us will be asleep at midnight (UTC and local!). We hope you all have a good one - at least our heads won't be sore tomorrow!!

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