Ship Shape and Bristol Fashion - 22:57.29N 44:58.39W

The Return of Irene III - 2018
Louis Goor
Tue 12 Dec 2017 23:40
Tuesday 12 December 2017 -- Day 10 at Sea

Alone we sail through this wide dark ocean. Bobbing along at the courtesy of
the prevailing winds. Under pristine skies, lit only by a descending moon
and the sparkles of the milky way - we feel very small and inconsequential.

Yesterday's euphoria on passing the half-way mark was followed by a night
with a heavy and unsettled sea state that led to some very choppy sailing.
Winds in the upper 20's that were accompanied by extended periods of 30+
knots, led to a 2am decision to reef the mainsail.

You know the drill by now: head the boat into the wind to relieve pressure
on the main, release the outhaul while in tandem start furling the main. But
Irene III stalled and tacked accidentally - taking her bow through the eye
of the wind.

The boom swung to port, putting massive force on a foredeck block, which
disintegrated, as it's designed to do in such situations. Once the main sail
area was reduced, the boat was brought under control, and a floodlight on
the mast lit up the foredeck allowing Sean and John HH to investigate the
issue. A smashed Harken block was diagnosed and replaced within 15 minutes -
allowing us to continue on our roller-coaster way making around eight knots
an hour for the rest of the night.

At dawn, we were greeted by warm sunshine - a relatively new experience for
the northern route were taking. After 10 days at sea, it was time to make
Irene III ship shape again. Domestic chores were assigned. Sabine scoured
the hob with warm soapy water, until she could see her smiling face
reflecting back. Johnny Frey attacked every crack and crevice in the galley
and restored it to its dockside glory. John E did an audit and
reorganisation of the fridge's contents and confirmed that most of the fresh
fruit and veggies purchased in La Gomera had been consumed. Bunks were
stripped and fresh bed sheets granted. The whining sound of Louis's prized
shipboard vacuum cleaner filled the saloon for much of the afternoon, and
when its work was done, it too was dismantled and cleaned.

As we approached the Tropic of Cancer (23 degrees latitude) the lone seabird
which had accompanied us thus far, decided to head back towards the
Canaries. However squadrons of flying fish took his place - prancing in
formation above the waves to our port and starboard at different points
during the day.

In anticipation of our arrival in Antigua about a week from now, we have
been adjusting our shipboard clock by half an hour every second day. That
explains why these blogs are being posted later each day - Ireland is
currently two hours ahead of our boat time.

As Louis's playlist of Christmas Classics fills the saloon, Bing Crosby says
it's time to wash dinner dishes and bid you good night, because Santa Claus
is coming to town.