Fw: 23:08.12N 19:20.74W One lump or two?
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, December 19, 2009 8:18 AM
Subject: 23:08.12N 19:20.74W One lump or two?
Good Morning, It's 0100 Hrs in the peaceful and serene cockpit of Lady Corinne on a beautiful evening at the end of what has been a glorious day. Firstly a groveling apology to Max, his racing experience has been mostly in Admiral's cup not as I misquoted America's cup,
Yesterday was a hell of a day and we spent it all battling against the elements. The wind was coming from just the direction we wanted to be traveling in,the sea was very rough and confused and the best option available to us was to put two reefs in the main leave the mizzen up and motorsail straight into a strong steady wind strength of around 27 knots with gusts over 30. From start to finish it was with us for 17 hours and we knew all about it! We have a fair bit of fuel onboard and it suited us to use some up in an attempt to get to what I consider is the start line,where the trade winds start, as losing a little bit of weight out of the stern where it's stored will help to trim the boat and make her better able to cope with poor conditions. At 0100 Hrs this morning Max and I had gone off watch,the wind had veered and was showing signs of easing but the engine was still on. "Max how do you like the idea of tacking (turning through about 100 degrees to go in a different direction) the boat putting the inner foresail out seeing how she feels and if it's good turning off the engine and getting some rest?" Asking someone who had just crawled into bed, after the day we'd had, to go back out into it could have provoked a stream of abuse from some people but Max in his positive way just said "Let's do it" and was up and into his wet weather gear before I was. Turned out to be a good move and half an hour later we were on a completely different boat under quiet sails heading southwest, just the direction we needed to go,and able to get a much better quality of rest. There really is no "I'll do it later" on a boat. This morning saw me on watch as the sun rose behind the clouds that were still thick on the horizon, but as it rose above them into a blue sky, a slight wind shift saw a steady breeze set in and by 0700 we were doing 6 knots in the perfect direction. That set the tone for the day and it just carried on like that in beautiful conditions and bright,strong sunshine, We spent the day licking our wounds, sorting out the boat, eating fried cheese and onion toasties, fresh mango and generally enjoying ourselves oh and I had the first shave for 5 days, always a treat. The Cuban music that was wafting out of the cockpit speakers seemed to suit the bottle nosed dolphins and at one point towards sunset they came to us from every direction leaping into the air,spinning and slapping back into the water with huge exaggerated explosions of spray. It's almost as if they want to make sure we've seen their arrival so as to prepare us for the spectacle. Dexter Delure put in his first real appearance and Max has taken up the mantle (ha-ha!) left by Tristan. I'm trying to get him to put some tollo on the hooks in the hope I can get rid of it sooner as he's not eating it quickly enough for me. My worry is that I think the smell of it is permeating the very timber of our craft and that once every fabric of the boat is saturated in the vile smelling stuff something very,very big is going to happen by and think we're just a tasty morsel. If you think I'm overreacting to Max's nibbles just remember Jonah! Another watch has flown by, I'll be back in four hours to finish off, Do you think Gaynor would like to be woken up with a cup of tea?
0600 and Max made me a delicious cup of real coffee and I'm out on watch with a slice of homemade simnel cake and it looks as though the day has got off to a good start. Although the sun won't appear for some time yet I can already see the faintest hint of the sky lightening, to the East, as she makes her slow but relentless progress, clawing towards the horizon, to greet us anew. I sometimes feel it's a bit like an intrusion as I watch the majestic cloak of black, diamante encrusted velvet, being slowly pushed back across the sky, a clear blue sky is very nice but for dramatic effect night time is the right time. Nights like tonight are very special times and such an important part of this whole experience especially when you start to think about the early explorers who relied on the stars for navigation. Sorry I didn't manage to send the sunrise pic's I mentioned but technology got the better of me.I think I made the mistake of not resizing them small enough and then trying to send them as attachments to the blog. This made the file too big and sending/receiving success depends entirely on the satellite phone maintaining a good 5 bar connection for the duration of the transmission. Remember how frustrating dial-up-modems were? well this is the same but I suppose we are on a very unsteady platform, bobbing up and down on the ocean, trying to send signals to a man made satellite which is whizzing round and round in the sky so I suppose there is room for errors. In future I will send pic's on their own, Please let me know if the quality of the ones which I hope to get off today is OK so I can gauge the ideal file size. Thus sees the dawning of another beautiful day,as you guys start the countdown to Christmas next week with lots of last minute shopping in the cold we will be here doing our bit for Blighty with the Union Jack flying proudly at the top of our mizzen mast against a clear Carolina blue sky, in our shorts slapping on the sun protection, and wondering if we've got enough mince pies. We hope you've enjoyed this nautical stroll along with us and that we'll get to enjoy some Xmas time with you soon.
Hasta La Proxima
Lady C her crew and the getting ever smellier tollo.