Distressed that I have just realised that on my last blog entry a week ago, I failed to include the punchline, darn it! The good news is for the last 7 days we have been sailing and have covered a great number of miles. We enjoyed passing the half way mark some time ago, and the next milestone 2 nights ago was 1,000 miles to go. I have just come off watch and we now have 787 miles to go. Although we are making good progress, the swell has been relentless and we have had storms and squalls for the last 2 days, hence why I have not updated you. After my soaking incident, probably coupled with the turbulent sea and relentlessly rolling boat I didn't sleep for 2 nights and had a general feeling of malaise. I have periodically suffered from bouts of insomnia and it's not great for one's state of mind. When I'm not sleeping well it puts my teeth on edge and ushers in the dark clouds - we could do without that out here! However when it happens on a rolly twisty boat, it also affects my physical health and it left me feeling generally unwell for a few days however after washing and drying my damp salty bedding during a dry spell I awoke for my watch on Thursday night feeling refreshed beyond belief. On the upside, I have had no appetite, and having given up my daily chocolate habit I'm a shadow of my former self. We've eaten well on board with everyone taking their turn in the galley. Luckily everyone plays to their strengths and we celebrated the halfway point today with Jeremy's excellent bacon and egg butties (a triumph) and angel delight (I passed - some things are bst left in childhood). I did have to give my rice masterclass this evening when I was told that the rice should be cooked for 18 minutes. There are some that I shall put up with in the name of crew cohesion, badly cooked rice is not one of them. If I am an evangelist about anything, it is perfect rice. There is simply no excuse for it in the modern world. There is a simple fool-proof method to get it right every time - all you have to do is follow 3 simple instructions - If you don't know them - see me! (And don't invite me for dinner until you do). Having experienced human psychology when it comes to the cooking of rice I can tell you that nobody will ask, you'll think "it's OK most of the time"; "it's only rice, what's the big fuss". 3 simple instructions, you'll never look back...Anyway Chris took the masterclass and this evening's Beef curry and Pilau Rice was fabulous (especially the rice!).
So we are over halfway now - 1600 miles logged 1300 to go; Next Step is surfing along, gently rocking from side to side this evening, there is a steady 18-20 knots of wind and we're sailing along at 6-8 knots. We're definitely not going to make it for the early arrivals party on the 11th. If I were a betting man, I'd say late on the 12th or early on the 13th. We haven't seen any other boats now for about 3 days, an occassional blip on the AIS over the horizon, however we have just been overtaken by Challenger 1 - one of the old Volvo 60s - I think they were the old BT round the world boats, were they not big old steel things?? Anyway it is being crewed by a group of kids from Las Palmas and St Lucia and they just shot past us doing 10 and a half knots. As we crossed halfway, thoughts turned to the other side. I have to say that I'm delighted that I have done this and I know it will give me a huge sense of achievement, however I think I share with the rest of the crew that we are now counting down. Maybe not Chris, he seems like he'd be happy to stay out at sea indefinitely, He said goodbye to his wife last month and will not now see her for 13 months until they reach Cape Town on their way back around.