A week at sea, a day in our life.

Dave & Becky Werrett
Sun 30 Nov 2008 21:42
Position 16:50.194N 29:00.914W
My how time flys when you're having fun! As we are now hardened sailors with a fairly fixed routine, I thought I'd tell yopu about our 'normal day'. In addition today was special because we celebrated:
  • Doing our first 1000 nautical miles
  • Spending a week out of sight of land
  • Breaking the 150 nautical mile barrier - we did 154 miles in the last 24hrs
  • Being alive, safe & well
  • Having people at home who love us!
It was a good day preceded by a very exciting night! The sun came up at 8ish and we still had plenty of wind so we made really good progress over the last 24hrs (measured by us from 1pm to 1pm), the seas were huge as a consequence - but I don't seem to notice anymore and they definitley don't worry me the way they did.  We clear the cockpuit of the usual overnight debris: pillows, torch, ginger biscuit wrappers, empty cups of tea, sleeping bags, Molly etc. Dave W has a stroll around the estate and checks all is well, removing the flying fish that miraculously appear every morning, checking for chaffe on the ropes etc etc. Breakfast this morning is a casual affair, we are all pretty tired after last night and Dave & I come off watch at 8 and go back to bed until 1030. Up until today we have had 2 watch patterns - 8pm - 2am and 2am to 8am. Dave W washed his smalls in the sink and the usaul washing line appeared on the guard rails ( he thinks his ships knics add to our total sail area!)  I log on and upload and interpret(!) the daily weather file, as well as checking what messages of cheer have arrived from the night before. Then it is time to adjust sails - this is no longer a simple proces:  the full suite of sail options are reviewed (there are 4 sails that can be deployed - Main, Genoa, Cruising chute and Spinnaler) , along with current & anticipated wind conditions and what course needs to be set. If the wind is directly behind us as the trade winds usually are, the sails flap so methods such as poling out, goosewinging, and/or using a preventer to hold the boom out in a particular direction are discussed then employed. The two Daves are in their element and their only cold beer of the day is usually needed to aid thought processes and inspiration.
An hour later we have fiddled with lots of bits of string, adjusted pulleys and shackles and the boys seem proud of their efforts. Lunch is discussed and  the promised roast dinner is unanimously turned down in favour of... curry! So for lunch I warm some part baked bread and pan fry the fresh blue fin tuna and smaller mahi mahi caught and filleted the day before, this is served with an overripe tomato salad and a bottle of cold white wine and a bottle of riocha  - well we are celebrating! The boat is still sailing well - the kids are watching a movie down below - they think it is too hot on deck! We make the toast and allow ourselves to think about the week we have completed and the 2-3 ahead of us, we discuss highs & lows. My Dave's low was the moment I announced that we had to go into cape verdes as I was getting off.
At 1pm we tune into the ssb radio roll call, we report our position, listen to another weather forecast and then join in with the informal chat about tactics, weather, fishing and today - rugby, as Ian, our aussie friend from Mikado was involved. The recent score was repated at least 5 times as many boats claimed to have poor reception!
We run the generator to top up the batteries and run the fridge and freezer - I am worried that my provisions will start defrosting, especially as we are eating so much fish we are not getting through the mountain of food I bought in anticpation! The truth is because we have all had stinking colds combined with the weather now being so hot that appetites have also reduced considerably. We are all desperate for cold water and ice, the latter is not possible but I allow the kids to top up the freezer with water bottles. I run the water maker and top up the tanks, refill the water bottles, and kettles etc. The afternoon disappears with minor chores and as further naps are taken in prepartion for the night ahead ( and because we had all been up for most of the night before playing cruising chutes in 20 knt winds!) I remain awake whilst the boys snore in various parts of the boat, but I am starting to get concerned because the wind has died, after a little nagging (the fact I have to do this is very surprising and probably testament to how much they enjoyed their celebratory lunch!)  but they are finally coaxed into another sail change. Much as I might appear to be enjoying myself I am not keen to be at sea a moment longer than is necessary! First the cruising chute is put up - then 15mins later this is taken down in favour of the spinnaker  - we troll along at about 5knts for the next few hours, as the wind and sea get progressively calmer.  Mid sail change, Sam catches a large Mahi Mahi,once finished trimming sails, Dave W does the business and even cuts me some thin slics for sushi. Shortly after, a second one is reeled in - but we have so much now we take a photo and toss it back out to sea! From now on - we will only keep yellow fin tuna - we can afford to be fussy!
Evening approaches and the sun starts to go down about 5.30. At  6 we tune in to an informal radio net we have set up with the boats we have met and become friends with. Positions are exchanged and progress discused, these chats - albeit often brief and frustrating due to poor radio reception , are essential for morale and got me through the earlier part of the week when I was really struggling to remain calm.  Then the entire crew meet to discuss tactics for the night and watch patterns, a new watch system is proposed (4hrs on 4 hrs off rotating every 2 nights to cover the 12 night hours) and agreed. A final sundowner is prepared (no ice!) and I cook and serve the curry, we all eat together in the cockpit in what has turned out to be a beautiful evening at the end of a beautiful day. We wonder what friends & family are doing at home. The daily kid treat (mini mars etc ) is handed out. The sails are set, dishes cleared and then everyone goes to bed - leaving me to take the first watch and sit in peace to write to you all and reflect on the day.