Fri 7 Dec 2007 17:53
every day i think i will have nothing to report, but then i sit down and start typing and all sorts comes to mind.  yesterday i think i left it with the sun back out and a gorgeous sunset.  had pre-prepared lasagne as it was still a bit rough - those pre-prepared meals have come in really handy.  having another one tonight.  started normal night shifts if somewhat blowier than usual.  generally very squally night and i was on last shift with dave from 4-8am.  it was one horrible little black cloud after another - gusts up to 36kn and rain.  to help the shifts go by i have gotten in the habit of having a mandarin after the first hour and then a treat from the sweetie box after 2 hours.  so at 6am dave and i picked something out - i normally have a very healthy muesli bar or a small packet of maltesers - which i much prefer.  i was in my usual position between the winches just watching the waves breaking nearby in the darkness.  no moon at all last night but stars in between the clouds.  saw 3 shooting stars again.  just opened my maltesers when i saw a huge wave rolling and breaking just off the port side near me.  it made me think of surfers in australia.  i then saw another one forming and watched with interest when i suddenly realised the boat had gone into a trough and the wave - which was huge - was about to come aboard without permission.  i started to jump down, dave was already sitting in the cockpit and it not only drenched us both but there was about 3" of water in the cockpit - we were paddling in it until it drained away.  however, the worst thing was that the girls had opened their inner hatch as it really is ridiculously hot down below now and the wave drenched and woke up becky.  her bed is now wet and her bedding is hanging throughout.  i was wet through to my trousers beneath my foulies and was then cold and yuch for the last two hours.  not nice.  might think twice before i sit up there any more - see photo taken before the wave! nils and jussie - this is where your mother gets to when she's working nights!
day broke and basically it has been either white and windy or wet and windy all day.  the thunder storm of the day before we have since heard had an average wind of 44kn and gust ups to 50kn so mark thinks we were lucky and hit the tail end of it only.  storm reports of some damage to other boats would indicate that not all the fleet was so lucky.  but thank goodness no one was hurt.  this is another front, hopefully not so bad, although we have had some heavy gusts today - but the boys are all ready and prepared and hopefully this will be over by tomorrow lunchtime and the sun will come back out.
to try and describe the motion at the moment, we are basically surfing down these big big waves which follow us all the time but never seem to quite catch us up.  every now and then though we go into the trough at the bottom of the wave at the same time as a 30-34k gust comes through and this makes the boat veer sharply round either to port or starboard - depending on tack - and then jerk itself back on course again.  this motion happens about every 10-15 minutes and it is this that sends us all over the place when we are trying to sleep. it is worse at night as the wind tends generally to be stronger then.  what will it be like not to move any more?  even as i am writing this i am constantly going on to one foot and then another and my mouse is sliding up and down the chart table.
we had a huge success this morning and awarded the lads 10 out of 10 for big nasty black wall of cloud avoidance maneouver.  lisa and i went to a weather seminar given by chris tibbs in las palmas and he said because a squall moves at about 15 degrees difference to us that it is possible to port or starboard gybe - depending on wind direction - and miss it.  this one this morning was horrible looking but we managed to catch only the tail end again, so well done boys.
we are all just hanging around today really - the boys on deck in their foulies and us girls lazing around, reading or sleeping, preparing food and drinks for the boys and sweltering.  i had two little cheapo thin cotton elasticated top sundresses on board to sunbathe in - the girls are now wearing one a piece and looking very fetching and feeling much cooler. 
we changed another hour today as we crossed another meridian last night - saving the celebration for better conditions.  we are now only one hour difference to the rest of the planet again - we plan to move the remaining two hours when we arrive.  speaking of which.... we are now under 900 miles to go and are hoping that we will only have one of each day of the week left - 7 more night shifts - to go.  we are all coping well, no one seems irritated or short tempered and everyone pulls their weight and all is well.  however, we do all now want to get there especially after the last 2 days and nights! still, caliso is a star, she rides the waves beautifully and she is lovely and snug below decks.  more of sunshine and blue skies hopefully tomorrow.  jan xx

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