24 Nov - Day 8 Position at 16.00 hrs 22:03.5N 024:56.6W

Imagine Of Falmouth Online Log
Jon Constantine
Sat 24 Nov 2007 16:58
Day 8 Distance to Antigua 2103 nm (nautical miles).

I bet your all wondering how we enjoyed the fish? Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you but we didn't get to eat it last night. Yes, I know what your all thinking - "fresh fish staright out of the sea and into the pan". Un fortunately, just as I was finishing off the blog last night, things started to turn nasty. The wind began to get up, the sea joined in and started rushing about and then to top it off,we seemed to be surrounded by menacing looking clouds with rain coming down from them. "Ah" I said, "squalls". Our friends Patrick and Sinead (see their website at www.yachtfoxglove.com) have told me all about those in an email since they did an Atlantic crossing last year. Patrick sent me an email about how to avoid them and what to do if you couldn't. Blow me if I could remember exactly what he had said. I dashed below to have a quick read of his email, only to find he'd sent it to my other email address and when I tried to open it, I got a message from my PC saying "Message not fully downloaded from the server - do you want to download it now?" - typical bloody computers. Just when you need them most, they let you down or play games. If I had tried to download it, it would only have then told me I was not connected to the server. I was going to have to do without Patrick's advice this time. I know your following the blog Patrick so please sent it again to imagine {CHANGE TO AT} mailasail {DOT} com {DOT}
Meanwhile, outside, it was becoming urgent that we reefed the main so I said to Sam "One reef or two?" just like you would sugar in tea. She told me later that she wanted to say two but didn't want to sound wimpish. I wish women would say what they mean. Being a racing man, two reefs seemed like overkill to me so I said"Just one reef will do. We can always put the other one in later if we really need to". So Sam gets her kit on (haha!) and proceeds to the mast position. I stand in the companionway holding 6 differnt bits of string which are all going to have to be pulled and released in exactly the right order to avoid disaster. Actually its more complicated than that as some have to be pulled whilst others are released but some more than others. Sailors amoung you will know what I mean. I then have to wait until Sam shouts "made" and I then have to pull the strings again but in a different order to when I was releasing them. Normally, reefing would be made easier by pointing up into the wind so the sail is easier to pull down. Trouble was, the headsail was still poled out and was already making nasty noises every time a gust nipped behind it causing it to behave like an angry goose. Should have put that one away first I thought as I smiled at Sam, giving her the thumbs up. "ok - let's go". Main off, kicker off, halyard down. Now wait for Sam to pull down the sail down and hook it on the ring. "Bugger", knew I should have furled that headsail first and then headed up. Now she can't get it down 'cos its pressed too hard against the crosstrees. "Try pulling a bit harder" I smiled. Brilliant, she's done it. Now I start pulling string again. Reef line first, then the halyard and finally the mainsheet and kicker. Wonderful. All under control and just before the rain comes in. Let's get the headsail in now and I think were going to need that second reef! Which in fact we did but without the headsail up we could point up and it was much easier the second time round.

So we sailed all night with just a double reefed main and were still doing 6 kts. Better to go for the safe option when you are only 2 handed. Reefing at night in these waves is not to be recommended. Anyway, now you know why we never got to have the fish!

Today, we left the 2 reefs in the main but have pulled out a larger amount of poled out headsail and are running down quite large seas which keep creeping up behind us. We are haring along and beginning to eat up the miles. Nearly 150 miles a day. Hope we can keep it up.

Today, we put our clocks back 2 hours and will do the same again next Saturday so when we arrive in Antigua, we will be on their time and not have to make a four hour adjustment.

For more information on how other boats in the Rally are doing, you can go to the main Blue Water Rally website - www.yachtrallies.co.uk

Sorry, no photo today. I have to go and cook the fish now.