1930 13th December - 11:48N:51:41W - just cooling down after supper and before the night watches start in earnest. Ben has just done what we all expect to be his last "mother watch" on this trip and produced some excellent fish cakes with rice under somewhat trying circumstances. His day started badly with a full cup of tea, toast and honey flying off the saloon table onto the leather! This did not make a good start to my day either….we then tried to fix a little problem in the starboard locker. The bilge pumps in there had been running with increasing frequency over the last 24 hours and driving everyone mad with its high pitched alarm. The cause was fairly obvious - the sat phone installation guy had removed the sealant around the original cabling entering the hull in that locker in order to run the new cable - and not sealed it back again. Each time we get hit by a big wave from astern a cup of water finds its way into the locker and the bilge system does its thing as it is supposed to. Having tried unsuccessfully to block it from the outside with a cloth we set about taking everything out of the locker to get at the problem from the inside. Muggins here climbed inside to deal with the fix when, sure enough, we got hit by the one rogue wave of the trip so far that broke right over the boat. The two Alexes were swept off their feet, causing one of them to let go of the locker lid. This then fell on my head but not before I had received an unscheduled (salt water) deluge from top to toe. I found myself sitting up to my waist in water, in the dark, in the locker and could not open the lid because Alex S was lying on top of it. Naturally, I assumed that this was yet another attempted mutiny and that I was to be kept hostage in the locker until arrival at Grenada. Happily this turned out not to be the plan and I was soon released from my dungeon to get the unwelcome news that Ben's tea on my leather saloon seats had been washed away by a large quantity of sea water that had arrived through the open hatch over the saloon table. Ben had been cooking lunch as this was happening and so, of course, the gas ran out at this moment. Alex and I went to change over the bottle and got hit by another wave - this time, I am pleased to say, he got the full force of it and I escaped rather lightly. Divine justice I presume.
After a rather later than planned lunch, I had to go and lie down for a bit! We clocked 13.2 knots on the speedo while I was below - a new trip record. We are at another level now - wind at 25-30 knots - I am going to call it the top gear just to be conservative. I don't think we want too much more than this for the moment. It is an exhilarating ride - all the time! So we are loving it - but it makes doing anything at all (except sitting in the cockpit saying "this is cool" ) quite a challenge. Sleep in the aft cabin last night was in scarce supply. The deck hands in the front of the boat are getting their own back on Ben and me for all of the bouncing around they had to suffer when we had the wind against us. I have contemplated ordering a re-shuffle in the sleeping arrangements but Ben thinks this might be pushing things a little too far. What does he know?
I am just about to get a new weather forecast which will tell us if we are going to have this wind all the way in. Hope so. EvenTash is now claiming that hitting 10 knots is so yesterday's news.