Life aboard up to Fri 30 Nov

Fri 30 Nov 2007 16:20
22:54N 28:59W

Well, as we suspected at the outset we’ve been unable to update the blog on a daily basis. I’d like to blame the technology or the fact that we’ve been too busy, but in truth we’ve been having too much fun, what with rain storms, sea sickness and broken toilets ….


A bit about the boat …


We are sailing Syd’s Hylas 46, named “Gaviota of Cowes” (gaviota is a type of seagull). Basically, she is a fast cruising yacht designed for exactly this type of event. The “46” is a reference to her size – 46 feet long. For more information on the yacht, check out and have a look at the Hylas 46 (the one in the pictures is Gaviota).


A bit about logistics …


Someone needs to be in control of the boat at all times (ie on deck, helming/steering the boat, checking the sails, keeping an eye on the wind/sea weather, keeping an eye out for other boats etc). With a 3 man crew (or to be more accurate, a 2 man and 1 woman crew, but that could get tedious) that means we have employed a shift system as follows:


0000-0200 – Syd

0200-0500 – Nishi

0500-0800 – Annabel

0800-1100 – Syd

1100-1300 – Nishi

1300-1500 – Annabel

1500-1700 – Syd

1700-2000 – Nishi

2000-2300 – Annabel

2300-0000 - Syd


Sunday 25th November 2007 (start of the race)


Annabel has already posted a blog describing the start of the race. Syd is either a tactical genius or a bloody lucky sod, because we managed to avoid most of the pack and sneak into a decent position. We did have a near collision, but escaped by a few feet. We later heard on the radio that a number of other participants were not so lucky – we know of at least one who accidentally gybed (where the boom swings from one side of the boat to the other) and a member of crew was knocked out by the boom. They returned to Las Palmas for medical assistance – hope everything worked out ok for them.


Key facts:


Dinner – Syd’s spag bol

Nishi’s beard growth – 5 o’clock shadow


Monday 26th November 2007


Syd is an old sea dog, and is loving this. He’s especially enjoying seeing Nishi trying to find his sea legs – so far they are missing in action. After rigging up the sails and how we want them and setting a route (can’t share the secrets yet – don’t want the opposition knowing our plans!) and making a few adjustments here and there we have started to settle into the shift pattern. Weather is a bit grotty (think Bolton on a good day – grey, cloudy and wet). The wind died on Monday evening, so we were left bobbing around like apples in a barrel for a while. We resisted the temptation to switch to engines (we get penalised for travelling under power) but some of our competitors got fed up and motored off.  However, the wind picked up again and we were soon powering ahead. Good day’s sailing on Monday. Still seeing quite a few boats on the horizon around us, especially at night when they have their mast lights on. Generally all’s well.


Key facts:


Position (at 1200 GMT/UTC) – 26.27n 17.35w

Distance travelled (in 24 hrs to 1200 GMT/UTC) – 164 nautical miles

Total distance travelled - 164 nautical miles

Dinner – Syd’s Thai chicken curry

Nishi’s beard growth – 6 o’clock shadow


Tuesday 27th November 2007


The shift pattern is taking its toll, and we are all feeling like zombies. Except Syd, of course, who thinks this is hilarious. Nishi’s sea legs still haven’t showed up. We may have to improvise some wooden legs. And maybe a hook. Annabel has got us started on healthy salad lunches with her special home made dressing (she won’t tell us the recipe). Weather has improved, but still wearing raincoats on deck just in case (Nishi got caught in a rainstorm, but at least he got to have a wash). Still a few boats around, but noticeably reducing in number.


Key facts:


Position (at 1200 GMT/UTC) – 25.55n 20.35w

Distance travelled (in 24 hrs to 1200 GMT/UTC) – 172 nautical miles

Total distance travelled – 336 nautical miles

Dinner – Syd’s chicken curry

Nishi’s beard growth – Starting to look like I can’t be bothered


Wednesday 28th November 2007


Nishi’s sea legs have been located! He is now a fully functioning member of crew. Unlike the water maker, which was playing up and left the desalinated water tasting of … err … salt. And unlike one of the toilets, which decided to block itself and then the flush broke so we are back to pumping by hand. Syd and Annabel managed to whip both into shape. Annabel was brave enough to risk having a shower. The shower is in the heads (or bog) in the bow (or front) of the boat. That’s the bit that bounces up and down and rocks from side to side the most. We heard a few screams and bumps, but both Annabel and the shower seem to have come out of it in one piece! The wind has picked up slightly, but keeps changing direction so we need to stay alert to maintain our course and speed.


Key facts:


Position (at 1200 GMT/UTC) – 25.05n 23.24w

Distance travelled (in 24 hrs to 1200 GMT/UTC) – 158 nautical miles

Total distance travelled – 494 nautical miles

Dinner – Annabel’s fish pie

Nishi’s beard growth – 80s designer stubble chic


Thursday 29th November 2007


We’ve been tracking the progress of other boats in the race (particularly the ones in our racing category) and we’re feeling fairly pleased with our progress. Tactics seem to have worked so far, and we have left ourselves options in case the weather changes in the next few days (the weather forecasts suggest that it might). We’ve settled nicely into the shift pattern, although we have put our clocks back an hour now to take account of the time zones and daylight hours). In the meantime, the temperature has gone up, and the shorts and t-shirts have come out (and, before you ask, yes mum I am wearing suncream).  On the down side, we had to give Annabel’s banana and date cake a sea burial after the mould got to it before Syd did (well mostly, he is a Yorkshireman).


Key facts:


Position (at 1200 GMT/UTC) – 23.55n 26.02w

Distance travelled (in 24 hrs to 1200 GMT/UTC) – 161 nautical miles

Total distance travelled - 655 nautical miles

Dinner – Annabel’s fish pie (again!)

Nishi’s beard growth – George Michael designed stubble


Friday 30th November 2007 (mid afternoon)


Please with our progress, we decided to go wild and had beans on toast for breakfast. Annabel (still mourning the demise of her banana and date cake) had a sausage and Syd an egg as well. Had breakfast on deck in the sun and saw some flying fish. Don’t look very appetising, so we’re going to experiment with the fishing gear and see what we can catch. Sun is baking hot, so we’re feeling a bit lazy today.


Key facts:


Position (at 1200 GMT/UTC) – 22.54n 28.59w

Distance travelled (in 24 hrs to 1200 GMT/UTC) – 176 nautical miles

Total distance travelled - 831 nautical miles

Dinner – (planned) Syd’s mystery meat stir fry

Nishi’s beard growth – Not so designer stubble any more