Seamus Heaney

Wed 10 Dec 2008 16:32

Position: 15:06.062N 050:55.426W



Wednesday morning and we are now making great speed. We covered 160 miles yesterday. Wind is easterly force 5 and with poled out headsail our speed is 6.5 kts. We are rolling about 30 degrees, it makes it difficult to work in the galley, great sleight of hand is required with the cereal, as the bowls move around like bumper cars on the worktop they must be followed with the milk carton and it is never certain into which bowl the milk will flow.


It will be difficult for us to rehabilitate to a stationary kitchen after this. We will probably continue to leave pots on non existent mid air shelves thinking that they will be there moments later and to pause before bringing down the blade of a chopping knife to make sure the helpless onion is still there and the momentum favours the aggressor.


I have also learned to close the lid of the toilet after use. This is a good way of stopping your wife’s creams landing in the bowl when they fly out of the press and across the room.


Beautiful night last night, the moon, very low in the sky was covered by clouds and it shone twin bright search lights from beneath onto the horizon, a four to five metre swell followed us and at times when we fell sideways of a wave Cerys rolled so much that, in a sitting position your back was coming close to horizontal. We were doing 8 kts with white horses extending into the distance under one reef with the genoa poled out. The swell built very quickly, the wind making use of the existing momentum and I was startled on a few occasions by shooting stars in my peripheral vision streaking across the sky.


The great news is that our countdown timer, which measures time to go at current speed began to click the minutes off. It can only count from 99 hrs 59 minutes, where it has been stuck for the past two and a half weeks but as we reached 700 miles and speeds increased over 7 kts it showed brief flickers of life. Now it is showing 83 hrs 36 mins and 602 miles to go. As speed drops the TTG increases.


Another landmark target is also coming up. I think that by tomorrow I will have reached the crease on the chart and will turn over to continue my daily plotting. I am sure that we will feel the bump as Cerys pass that point on the Atlantic surface.


Our auto pilot and furler repairs seem to be holding up well. We are however finding tiny mysterious bolts from time to time on the deck. To small to be from the standing rigging we think, hope. Possibly coming from inside the spinnaker pole as there is something rattling around in there.


The bananas have fully ripened, many beyond ripeness. Black and soft, they are still tasty if sucked through a small hole in the bottom. The avocados and custard apples finished, we still have plenty of apples, oranges, melons, cucumbers and a few very ripe tomatoes. The only thing we have run out of is cereal, we still have our fresh bread daily and plenty of milk water etc. We are quite happy with our provisioning. Our power management has been successful also up to now. We are careful with plotter screens, lighting and pumps, our LED nav lights and solar powered LED cabin lights have made a huge saving in Amp hour terms and we have managed to keep the batteries above 80% almost all the time. Plenty of diesel left also.


Ran into some email problems yesterday and today but think we have sorted that out now. Received a reply from Mollyhawk Shadow, the only other Irish boat in the fleet. We had started pretty close together, but Mollyhawk being much larger than us charged ahead in the first few days. She is now in 61st position.


Sent to Mollyhawk Shadow:


Mollyhawk sails very fast

It’s hard to stay under her mast

Irish jostle for places

At different paces

We might have a one first and one last


Received from Mollyhawk:


Across the atlantic on a fetch

We thought we saw Jeannott Petch

But too fast did we go we had no time to heave ho And Jeannott where did you go!!


Eddie on Mollyhawk had been unable to reply as his poets were off duty that day. I think they have Seamus Heaney on board.