49 09 228N 19 37 682W - 19 July

Wed 19 Jul 2006 16:02
We are having a minor celebration on board, as we have been away for one year today.  We flew to Italy, (with a spinnaker weighing 24 kilos) courtesy of Ryan Air from Stansted Airport, on 19 July 2005. 
Last night was much calmer - the waves subsided and we have a nice 15-20 knot breeze.  We shook out all the reefs at 10.30pm.  When Charlie took over from Mark at 5.00am they put the spinnaker up as the wind had gone aft of the beam.  Juliet was called out of bed at 7.00am to take the spinnaker down - it was so cold that it was a case of grabbing wet weather gear, boots and lifejacket, clicking the autohelm 15 degrees to leeward, letting off the guy so that Charlie on the foredeck could snub the sail, letting off the pole uphaul and downhaul, gradually releasing the spinnaker halyard, returning the autohelm to course and then racing back below to the warmth of her bed.  Fortunately it is a well-practised drill by now.
Strangely enough, after all that wind, we are now motoring through a zone of no wind at all!  This morning we received emailed grib files of weather forecasts, showing that the low that we thought we had seen the back of, is on its way south, back towards us for another go!  Very weird.  Currently we have around 500 miles to go to Bishop Rock.  We covered 171 miles in the 24 hours to 12.00 local time. 
Some stats for Penman, about our year away, as requested:
-currently logged over 11000 miles from Italy
-top speed 16.4 knots, set on the ARC with the spinnaker up
-highest recorded gust whilst sailing 55 knots (however mast was nearly horizontal at the time so anemometer was under-reading)
-longest time at sea - 19 days
-59 chucks from Alice
-12 chucks from Pip
-0 from Juliet and Charlie
-2 from guests, one courteousy of Nick Deacon (who inspected the contents
and was pleased to note that all nutrition had already been taken from that
evening's meal) and one from Victoria Romero (although she was pregnant at the time)
-79 different places stopped at (so far)
-3 baths each
-various items lost overboard, including Charlie's sunglasses, one game-boy, top half of Pip's bikini, half a windsurfer mast, various t-towels and pegs
-new skills - astral navigation for Charlie; bread and sushi making for Juliet; knots, game-boy, beading and surfing talk for Alice; rowing and Connect-4 for Pip
-haircuts - 2 each
-shaves for Charlie - 8 (200 razors brought out by David still in cupboard)
-1 green flash each
-numerous great friends
-253 bottles of wine
-29 bottles of rum
-1000 cans of beer
-2kgs of Marmite
-most listened to CD - "20 Novelty No 1's" (including "Ernie", "Agadoo", "Crazy Frog" and "I'm too Sexy" - thanks to Katharine H-J for that leaving present!!!)
From here it will take us 2-3 days to get to the Scillies, we will have a couple of days there and then go on to Falmouth where we will spend a couple of days, then up to Suffolk. 
We have had dolphins playing at the bow this morning, which was lovely.  A couple of nights ago we had them playing around the boat at night, in the phosphoresence, for around 2 hours.  They always lift the spirits.
Alice and Pip have again coped very well with being stuck on the boat for days on end.  This morning Alice has been playing game-boy and Pip has been playing Frustration.  Unable to find anyone to play it with her, she enlisted some teddies to play. Looks like the dolphins may have the upper hand.
Charlie and Mark have been advising a boat that we met in Horta, via email, on their engine troubles.  They have set sail for Denmark with a new engine, which has proved problematic and there is no engineer on board.