A Lady
Stephen Hyde
Mon 21 May 2012 19:22
MONDAY  21st  MAY  2012
Last night was a tough night,
Having had a Pizza for dinner, ( simple and quick in rough conditions, ) we settled down for the night,
The wind was building all along as were the seas,
We reefed the sails down further, ie  4 reefs in the mainsail, 4 reefs in the genoa, and 2 reefs in the staysail,
The night was as black as the " Ace of Spades" and the seas were growling all around us, and no fish on the line.
Denis and Vera came on watch at midnight and experienced speeds of 13.50knots as the wind screemed through
the rigging, we recorded winds of up too 40 knots, Is the glass half full ? well , at least we will make a fast
passage to the Azores if this holds till next friday,
Skipper & Aileen came back on watch at 04.00hrs, then at 04.45hrs the wind began to shift to the NW,
skipper adjusted the autohelm 30% to stb, and decided to take down the Goose wing system as this
wind would go into the north as predicted,
Add lots & lots of rain to this and you can see we were having a ball, ( we have to be nuts )
S walked up to the bow and lowered the spinniker pole ( the headsail already rolled in ) In the middle of this operation
the wind suddenly shifted north, and we were sitting there with the mainsail & staysail aback, we still had the mainsail
preventer in position, not to mention the running backstays on the starboard side, ahhhhhh, organised panick needed.
S called Denis out of his bunk and we set about sorting out all the sails , ropes, uphauls, downhauls, preventers,
running backstays and then tacked the boat rather than gybe in these severe conditions, where we could easily
wind up with a broken boom or even worse.
We, being very mindfull that 2 sailing boats on this journey were abandoned in the last 48 hours,
Settled down, we began reaching again towards our destination, well reefed down and still doing over 9 knots,
In the 24 hours up to 06.00hrs today, we covered 213 miles, and have avereged over 207 mls per day for the last 5 days,
Thats the best we ever did on this boat, or any boat for that matter, the best we did on a previous occasion was when
we had Niall & Mary O'Rielly on board as we sailed across the north of Australia with the " World ARC".in 2010.....
Then we had our Parasail flying for 3 days & 3 nights in ideal conditions and covered 660 miles, thats 220 per day.
Now, back to today again, looking at the positions of other boats, it seems that we still have company fairly close,
well close is somewhere between 60 and a 100 miles, but on a trip like this , that distance is nothing,
" Sookie" is much further than us but would surely have the same wind as ourselves and he is slightly ahead by our 
reconing and we are giving him time on handicap to boot, soooo they have a good chance of first boat home and also
first prize,
Dinner, whats that !  The " Starlight restaurant" would be nothing with out the daily dinner, even in the blooming
freezing conditions of  today plus then the occasional drenching from a passing wave,
Who loves this :-  we are definatly nuts, and at our age when we should be praying for a peacefull .......... Hello skipper
get a grip here, Just because we havent had an injection of alcohol for 5 days does not mean " We are Nuts "
On the subject of DRINK , we were just saying how we always got a boozy reception on our arrivals at the various
destinations around the world with this same organisation ,
Ohhh , we do miss Paul & the lovely Suzanna , who always had a great big glass of the local "molatoff cocktail"
( alcohol ) to welcome the fleets safe arrival in port . No such luck here on this trip,
we hope Paul & Suzanna are enjoying the Pacific with the World ARC fleet again as we speak,
Hello Paul & Suzanna,,   
Thats all for now,  
Signed :-   Stephen Hyde  ( Skipper )