Keoma - 7 December

Wed 7 Dec 2005 15:02
Last night was another disturbed one for us, the third in a row.  Around 2300 hrs we were sailing along under a double-reefed mainsail and small amount of genoa and we experienced a constant 30 knots of wind for 10 minutes.  The waves were confused and difficult to helm, and we were relieved that the autopilot was switched on.  It coped but we had the feeling that it was near the edge of its competence.  It is also noisy down below with the sound of water rushing past the hull and blocks moving on deck, when travelling at such speed.
So we decided to shorten sail by taking down the mainsail.  Even with just a patch of genoa out, we are still making a regular 8 knots (occasionally up to 10 knots) and remain sailing with the same sail configuration, at noon the following day.
The GPS is getting a lot of attention, particularly from the perspective of how many miles to go.   As I write it says 329 miles to go and predicts that this will take us around 40 hours.  This would get us there in the early hours of Friday morning.
It seems crazy that we are sailing along in beautiful sunshine, have a nice constant wind, and are surfing down waves; fantastic conditions, yet the focus on board is our arrival in St Lucia.  We are all quite tired after several tough nights, and it is difficult to find anything interesting to eat.  Fruit, salad and ice cream are high on the wish-list. 
We still have reasonaly big waves.  Apparently the swell is around 6 metres.  Occasionally the boat will be hit by one coming from a different direction and we are then thrown around a bit.  I was sitting at the chart table this morning and ended up on the floor when the boat was hit by one of these waves and went over on its side.  Everything down below tends to end up on the floor; my pet hate is pencils, which then roll around noisily.  Making tea or coffee is a real game; it is hard to get the boiling water in the moving cup, then once it is full it is just waiting to slide down the counter and topple over.  After that it is just a question of getting the cup from the galley, across the saloon and up on deck without spilling it all.
Charlie on deck - note big wave behind
Juliet at top of companionway - more large waves
Amanda on deck