ARC etiquette!

Dave & Becky Werrett
Mon 24 Nov 2008 22:39
Position 25:22.26N  17:14.601W
Day 2
Well so far so good I guess would be the most appropriate statement 2 days into the trip. Until tonight we have had great winds and we covered 150 miles on day 1. We had the chute up all day and averaged 6/7 knts and the seas were much calmer than last night, we had a short period of no wind first thing and unfortunately the wind has now died down completely and we have once again resorted to the engine  - but I am not sure if we can keep this up. All the weather forecasts at present are suggesting that we should expect 3/4 days of no wind at all mid atlantic - so we need to make sure we have enough fuel reserved for motoring through if necessary. The other factor is that this really is a race and so one is expected to sail wherever possible, this is fine & dandy for the serious sailors - a category I have no desire to belong to, but for people like me (and incidentally most other women on this voyage of discovery) I just want to get from A to B as quickly as possible and get my vodka out to celebrate our arrival.  The problem is you have to report in everyday - stating your position (this is fine it reassures me that they would know where to find me if I got into trouble) at a certain time BUT you also have to report on how many engine hours you used - this information is then relayed over the ARC SSB (single side band - think CB radio) radio net - publicly!!! All boats are split into 3 categories - depending on how fast they think you are going to go - so they try to keep all boats doing roughly the same speed together - we are in band B. Then every day you either email in your positon between 12 and 2 OR there is a roll call at 1pm on the radio where they give you the weather forecast and then run through all boats asking if they want to report their positon via SSB, (useful for those who don't have email on board) so there I was radio mic in hand ready to announce what I felt was a reasonable position in the fleet ranking - but soon realised we were only one of about 3 yachts that had turned their engines on... needless to say I remained silent when my number was called lest my peers realise I am not a proper sailor!  As if that wasn't bad enough, after the formal roll call was completed, boats are given an opportunity to bring issues - like my sail has fell off has anyone got a spare - to the group as the spirit of camarderie within the group is one of the reasons you do the ARC rather than cross alone. I decided to use this opportunity to get a radio check, as no-one had answered any of my calls the night before. This was successful and several other boats, including Sophistikate, joined in for a spot of sporting banter, - until we were told to calm down by the Net controller and get back to the matters in hand, I felt about 12! But we all did as we were told - and 60 seconds later he announced - now there is time for informal chat... The moment had however passed!
The crew are all coping well, no sea sickness (unfortunately - I was desperately hoping this was going to be the trip where I lost the stone!) no poos from Molly yet but I have enema poised and ready if nothing has materialised by day 4. Fab chicken curry for tea and Dave W & I enjoyed grilled prawns and wine at lunch time - my Dave is not well so stayed below on sofa with a lemsip!
Total fish caught = 0  
Anyway - highs & lows of today - highs, a beautiful day with a nearly flat sea, having a pod of small white nosed dolphins swim alongside us and finally being able to make contact with the boats we had left 24hrs before. Lows - Running out of wind tonight and Dave having man flu - need I say more!