Mon 6 Dec 2010 06:05
14:40n 45:22w

Early this morning, we were seriously struggleing with the PARASAILOR. We had just dodged a huge rain/mini-storm area, and were ready to hoist it, but then E spotted something strange. We have taken it up and down 3 times and inspected everuthing meticulously, but could not find any issue, hence we eventually hoisted it again, and set sail on a downwind course. The PARASAILOR is not alwawys an easy sail. Usually it is though, and it is amazing to see how, when the wind drops f.e, how it recovers itself and does not fold or prop up orget entangled. Today however, as the wind is increasing overall, but changing in direction and speed all the time, in combination with the waves that come in on a small amgle to the boat, there is a lot of shaking and rolling going on, and it looks like we are not mastering the PARASAILOR enough. So if anyone has a hint or knows of a text version instruction, please email to the address in the right top corner.

H burnt his hand today. Just after he woke up, which is not his sharpest moment in the day, he apparently decided to poor the boiling water over his hand, rather that on the grinded coffee. He first shouted and then dropped the coffeeholder, thereby decorating the boat interior. After providing some medical assistance, Hn removed the coffee stains everywhere, and you could see why their friendhip laststs so long.

Hn and my shift start slowly. I was deep asleep and it takes time to adjust to being outside without light, no moon, and we're going fast, about 8 knots, 15 knots of wind. i am trying to take the helm from E, and with some struggling I succeed in getting the boat under control. Sailing at night without visibility makes difficult steering, as you can only look at the compass or the stars. But it is a bit cloudy, and E's advise to aim for Jupiter works for the first hour, but than jupiter is gone... Because the wind is changing all the time in force and direction, the autopilot cannot deal with all the time, and we have had to stop using it today because of that. Now, at 2.30am, the wind is calming down, and while I am typing this, the autopilot is again in command, Hn is standby to take it over in a sec if the boat would broach (uit z'n roer lopen).

Today was Sinterklaas, kind of like Xmas, but than a local dutch version. It means getting presents with a rhym-story, can be quite funny. Presents today on board included chocolat letter, funny pens, lights and other devices on solar power and note blocs. Apparently Sinterklaas believes we all should make more notes :) We were anyway all very amazed he found us here at sea. As a token of appreciation, H and Hn compiled a Sinterklaas song, specifically tailored to the Heeren xvii. It rhyms like this:

Zie ginds komt de Moody uit Holland al aan
Het is de H17, dat zien wij al staan
Hoe huppelt het bootje al op en al neer
Hoe flapperen de zeilen al heen en al weer

De schipper heet A.. en immer alert
Voor ieder geluidje komt hij uit zijn bed
Hij zuipt als een ketter veel sap en veel bier
Al zeker 100 liter passeerde zijn nier

De speel man heet E... en is altijd paraat
op alle problemen weet hij steeds weer raad
Behalve met zijn hengel, dat gaat meestal mis
Na twee duizend mijlen slechs twee keer een vis

De rijkste matroos heet daarom ook D. R..
Met pen en papier brengt hij alles in de praktijk
Hij tekent en rekent de hele dag door
Hij sinust en tangent , ook dat doet hij voor

De oudste van ieder dat is onze H
Staat hij in de keuken dan praat ie in't frans
Hij kookt al het eten dus alle proviand
Is't te weinig hij zal het weten, we maken hem van kant...
And next to Sinterklaas there was another 'party' on board. At exactly 13.31 we were 1000 miles from St Lucia. From here on it is counting down, and the tradewinds that have now started to blow will bring us there faster than what the ARC suggestes we believe. This is because the ARC ETA (Estimaed Time of Arrival) seems to is calculated based on the Average speed, whereas we are more calculating with recent speed, which is higher. But we will see.

Anyways. I just discovered that we were still fishing, and as I was steering, asked Hn to reel in the line, as I heard it slip and rattle a few times. Hn was convinced there was nothing on the hook as he went through this exercise already before. Just when he almost finished reeling it in, the very last 3 meters, something popped out of the water! Still onthe hook, dead by now, we caught another 'geep' or other unknow species looking like a snake/fish. Not very tasty..