Keeping cool!

Dave & Becky Werrett
Tue 2 Dec 2008 01:10
Position 16:00.024N 31:46.757W
December 1st 2008
Today the children opened their advent calenders in the middle of the Atlantic - something they will never do again I imagine. It seems very odd to think that christmas is only just around the corner, and to look at pictures of snow men. I wonder if they realise how lucky they are to have had this experience. I would say we have all now settled in to the rhythm, something everybody said we would do - but not something you think is possible in the first few days when you are still getting your sea legs, nights seem to last forever and your mind simply cannot comprehend that you will not see land for another 3 weeks.
We are all really enjoying it now, the bigegst problem is the heat (and current lack of wind). We really have crossed over into the tropical waters, I would say the temperature rarely drops below 27/28 deg and in the sun it must be well over 30 every day, as I type the sea temp on my dial reads  27deg! We expected some rain or squalls but to date have not had anything except a 2 minute drizzle on about the third night. The heat down below is quite stifling during the day even with all the windows open to allow a through draft. Perhaps that is why I currently prefer the nights to the days, the nights are balmy, watches have become more relaxed because we simply haven't seen anything other than one light for about 5 days now so the possibility of a mid sea collision is now significantly reduced! Most of the watch will be spent watching the weather, looking for squalls which can suddenly sweep through and bring gusts of up to 40knt winds and making sure the sails are trimmed to get maximum speed . Tonight we are mmotoring again though so not too much to worry about - except to watch and see when the winds pick up so we can turn the engine off and hoist the canvass. As I said yesterday we have just changed the watch system so now there are 3 watches per night - 8-12, 12-4 and 4-8. I am currently on 12-4 with Dave. We sit in the cockpit with our pillows and talk, drink tea and allow one another 20/30 mins to drift off whilst the other one remains awake. Dave W & Sam did 8-12 and I think Jordan & Dave W are doing 4-8, tomorrow night it will reverse and Dave & I will do 2 watches.
We all fantasize about cold drinks - the water coming out of the water maker is warrm because the sea is so warm and we really have no way of making it cold. Yesterday I allowed the kids to top up the freezer with the water bottles - BIG MISTAKE, this morning my freezer had defrosted. I had frozen it solid in Las Palmas before we left but at sea it will only run on the generator, so I have been keeping it topped up by running the generator for an hour or two a day and this has been fine, But I guess it simply couldn't cope with 10-15 litres of warm water. So this morning I had to take out and cook everything on the top that had deforsted, which made for an interesting tea! Then I sealed the freezer up for a couple of days. But as I ran the generator for several hours this morning to try and refreeze the freezer it suddenly cut out - quite worrying when the generator is also the only way I can get the watermaker running! We lifted the salon floor for a couple of hours while everything cooled down then Dave had a look, we think it simply overheated, abit like the rest of us, because a hour or two later we got it runnng again, so hopefully my leg of lamb and steaks for the midway party will survive for a few more days!
After lunch today, the kids were desperate to go swimming, but even though we didn't have much wind we had the spinnaker up and we were still doing 6 knts and the boat was moving too fast so they had to make do with a bucket dousing; initiated by Dave W, who suddenly got up, removed his shorts, (don't worry he had his ships knics underneath!) dropped the bucket in the sea and tipped it over his head! The kids thought this was great and the washing up was abandoned. Shampoo and shower gel was fetched and everyone had an impromptu shower and cool down, even the dog jumped up and joined in. It was a good opportunity to swill the decks down as well. Afterwards everyone lay out on the foredeck and baked dry! I took some great photo's - I have attached one the rest I will upload when I get to land..! Lots of people have asked for more photo's but using the sat phone it costs about £5 per photo to upload even if I resize them to less than 50kb - so I have just selected a few to make the blog a little more interesting!
So given the poor wind situation we are all now resigned to a 19/20 day crossing - our average speed is 6.1knts and we have ended up doing 2900 miles rather than 2500 because of how far south we have had to go. But the calm weather means gentle sailing so we can't complain really, if we had all the time in the world it would actually be very pleasant, but we have got an eye on the flights we have booked to come home. We fly the spinnaker all day and motor at night - at least we have done for the last few days and we can probably keep this up for at least another 4/5 days with our fuel reserves - by this time we should be the other side of the low where there are some reasonable winds which should blow us into St Lucia - well at least that's the plan. I'd rather have this problem than be worrying about storms - besides the generator, my biggest upset today was my one and only cold vodka and tonic got knocked over! I put one can of tonic in the fridge a day - as I do 2 beers for the boys, and I was so looking forward to it - as I wasn't on first shift I poured it out at drinks oclock (6), had one sip - turned to shut the fridge up and a big wave hit the boat and my glass tipped in the sink...! So if that is as bad as my day gets then we're doing OK!.

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