Fw: 25:03.63N 16:51.36W Can you smell something fishy7

Lady Corinne
iain and gaynor macalister
Fri 18 Dec 2009 08:59
----- Original Message -----
From: LadyC
To: LadyC
Sent: Thursday, December 17, 2009 9:43 AM
Subject: 25:03.63N 16:51.36W Can you smell something fishy7

Finally at sea once again and it feels great! Leaving Mogan was seemingly very hard to do and then just as we were all set the weather turned against us and delayed our departure but I'm now sitting solo in the cockpit as we glide steadily towards where the sun has just dipped below the horizon and left a majestic deep orange glow to stir my thoughts.  It has taken a while to settle into the pattern of life at sea and we have been plagued by the winds not really doing what we want them to, but in sailing they very rarely do.  Gaynor cooked a delicious meat stew with Canarian potatoes from the  hesian sack that we brought with us and we all sat down together as the sun was sinking and had a proper meal together,something that's always nice to do at the end of the day as, although we are together on the boat, we don't really get to spend time all together especially at the start of a voyage as we all have lots of our own things to do.  I've just stood up to have a look around and it is now completely black out there with just 4 stars in a clear sky.  We are motoring at the moment as we have spent the last 3 days sailing around in a relatively small area about 150 miles south of the Canaries trying to head south west so we can find the seemingly elusive trade winds that should push us from behind all the way to the Caribbean some 2700 miles away. The wind died this afternoon so I now have the reassuring purr of the Perkins 4.108 diesel engine from under the floor of the cockpit beneath my feet as we march on through the night. Gaynor and Max have both gone off watch so I have just over an hour of solitude before I am released to go below to enjoy 4 hours sleep. We start night watches at 1800 hrs and do 2 hours on then 4 off through the night and 3 on 6 off during the day. This seems to work well and once you are into the routine you don't feel deprived of sleep.   Another look around into the inky darkness and I'm pleased to say that we have this patch of the vast ocean to ourselves,  Last night under sail there were a lot of ships around and it's always a worry trying to work out if they've seen you and if they have taken avoiding action, they often seem to come much, much closer than you'd like them to,  It's great having Max with us on this leg and with his wealth of sailing experience he has a huge input into all aspects of life onboard and in particular sail trimming from his racing background on America's Cup  yachts and other prestigious events.  About the only thing that I'm not too happy about is that he turned up with some provisions that he has a particular liking for and one of them was tollo, a Canarian delicacy made from cured cod, it's a bit like beef jerky but of the fishy variety and to say it stinks to high heaven is a huge understatement.  It's so bad I made him unpack it and it's now banished to the deck locker up by the mast, but I haven't seen any cockroaches I bet they all jumped ship when that came on board,  This is nice I've just plugged my Ipod in and I feel as though I could carry on with this blog all night (just wish I could get past the two fingers stage as my watch is almost ended). Talking of things with unsavory habits I read that you had 10000 star fish die on a beach in Norfolk, not that I have anything against star fish but something that eats by ejecting it's stomach covering it's food in enzymes and then sucking it's intestines back in really needs to learn some proper table manners.  Just before dinner this evening a huge pod of dolphins popped over to cavort around us for about twenty minutes, they were, as they always are spectacular and I honestly don't think I will ever tire of watching their sleek elegance.  Tonight's troupe brought an acrobat with them and it was jumping and spinning 8 - 10 feet clear of the water right beside us, such a privilege and a pleasure to behold.  Time to go and prise Gaynor out of her warm bunk slip on my wee willie winkie sleeping hat and turn in,  I'll add a bit more tomorrow then get this off to you so you can start sending us a few emails please! 
Midnight and I'm back on watch suitably refreshed after what I can only think was a good rest rather than a good sleep as with a 60 horsepower engine thundering away in the corner of your bedroom I don't think sleep is an option but I'm feeling good. In fact the whole ship is good and we're all doing fine.  We have had a few problems with the furling gear on the foresail (that's the one that goes right at the front from the end of the bowsprit to the top of the mast,the furling is a mechanism for rolling it around the wire to reduce it's size or stow it away rolled round and round on itself, we control it with ropes from the cockpit) which has got stuck  a couple of times.
The remedy is to get dressed up in full wet weather gear and lifejacket and harness and go out to the end of the bowsprit and take the rope off the reefing drum turn by turn as the boat pitches and gives me the occasional dunking as we come off a large wave.  Weather permitting tomorrow we will have to try and get it sorted out.  Just after we had worked on it this morning the foresail halyard (rope that pulls a sail up) snapped and the whole twistle sail descended unceremoniously into the sea and foredeck.  We have also taken a lot of the weight out of the forepeak which has considerably lightened the bow and given her a much better feel. Right now the sea is very calm with just the long rolling Atlantic swell and no breaking water other than that caused by our progress through the water. As the frothing water is pushed away from our bow it is softly illuminated by the navigation lights on each side of the mast red to port(lhs) and green to starboard (rhs).  A big storm far away to my right is lighting up the skies in the distance with the occasional flash of lightning. I hope it stays a long way off. To my left in the distance is a very large cruise ship which is probably heading to the same place as us, I imagine they'll be enjoying cocktails  and a range of entertainment in a plush environment but I wouldn't swap places, this is the best seat in the house.  The 4 stars I left earlier have been joined by a few zillion trillion million more and the milky way is a broad brush stroke of luminous wonder that arches overhead from one side to the other.  I only recognise 2 constellations, Orion's belt and the plough, the former is on it's side and the plough is totally upside down!  if only people could just leave the stars where they're meant to be please. I hope you've  enjoyed the best part of two night watches on Lady C it's been great for us,
0720 on my third watch of the night and just thought I'd share a bit of this morning's beautiful scenery with you - what a place to sit and eat breakfast - Buen appetito! ( pics to follow seperatly)
Hasta La Proxima
Lady Corinne, her crew and the very smelly fish