dandelion's progress

Rick, Helen, Sue, John
Tue 21 Jun 2011 13:19
Hi Karen, can you forward on again please .... also, I’ll be sending an extra couple of names to add to the list later, if you could go back and send to them later it would be great – many thanks Sue ... 
21st June
Hello from 45:22.3N 20:21.4W (about 850 miles west of Bordeaux).
Over the w/e we experienced a bit of a glitch with our comms.  (The Satphone is a pay-as-you-go and as we omitted to, er, well, pay they went and pulled the plug. Bastards, they might have at least sent a text to tell us.   Luckily we could still send texts so were able to summon shore-side assistance from Jean and Dave – thanks guys, we owe you (again).
Since the last update we have been making stout progress towards Blighty eating up the miles more-or-less along the rum line. After we watched the lights of Terceira fading behind us on 17th the Wind Gods have got busy and its been pretty brisk out here.  We’re riding along in the bottom of a low so we’ve got NW’lies F5 which have kicked up an impressive sea, whites horses, biggish swell and all. Its also made it a lot cooler – nights are now fully togged + thermals.  There’s a high building behind us which will put the brakes on a little but to an extent this will be a welcome respite as the boat is in ‘full motion’ as they say. 
On 18th we had a ship encounter.  First we spot this thing over on our port quarter (= to our left and behind us), showing us its port side.  There is potential here for an ‘encounter’ so R took a bearing on the closing ship, ‘285’.  Five minutes later and our ship has now grown into a huge container-carrier showing no sign of having noticed our presence.  R takes another bearing – still 285.  This means that unless someone changes course we’re  going to a) collide or b) get close enough to count their rivets.  I call them up on the VHF.
‘Vessel approaching, vessel approaching, this is British sailing yacht, Dandelion, over’.  Not a thing.  Try again.  Ziltch.  The ship is now very much in our part of the ocean.  Hand over to S.
‘Ship in position’, blah, blah,  ‘this is Dandelion, over’
Instantly they’re back, with, ‘good afternoon mam, are we the ship you talking to?’  And they chat about this and that and scooby-doo, scooby-doo, then he asks,’ do you want to cross my bows?’  We do so want.  So my lovely missus gets this huge bloody ship (by now its a monster), carrying gawd-alone knows how many containers, to apply full starboard rudder and carry out a healing turn round our stern.  Wonderful, that’s what I call it.
Wild life spotters might find it a tad dull up here.  That is unless you’re speciality is stormy petrels.  Like last time we were here in Stromboli, there’s about half-a-dozen of these brown and cream birds zooming about, literally at wave-top level, using us as the only reference point in an ocean seemingly devoid of dolphins, whales even flying fish.  And since our container-carrier day, even ships.
R won the 23 hour run tote today (149 miles) which leaves about 680 to the Lizard. 
More soon,
Love from 2 men and a girl