Famine or Feast 38:56.22N )12:12.16W
Good morning to you all from a very sun drenched cockpit on a glorious morning as we glide (and roll more than just a little) over the inky blue atlantic swell off the Portuguese coast opposite Lisboa. There are billowing,white cotton wool clouds decorating the horizon and a " Carolina blue" clear canopy overhead which looks as though it's coming with us for the day. We had a fabulous day yesterday in spite of the fact that progress was made under a covering of cloud which never opened to allow the hot Mediterranean sun to peep through. We had the cruising chute up and we were going very very fast (6K). I think we have the Portuguese trade winds with us and hopefully an Azores high to enjoy for a while which would be nice as it would mean that the good weather would be set. I am aware that there are gales further in towards Gibralter and we will be watching our weather updates intently later today to see if and how we might be affected. Just to let you know how all this wonderful tec works - we have a satelite phone on board (Iridium) and we can use it to make or receive calls to or from anywhere (at extortionate rates) but we can also hook our little Asus netbook (This is notebook number 2, I dropped the first one and broke the screen within hours of getting it, Tristan still taunts me with - You Poms are rubbish at catching) up and use the phone like an old style dial up network. We also send requests for weather charts and reports through the same Mailasail site where you go for this. Someone asked if we could put our e-mail address on the blog but I'm afraid I can't because it's open to scammers surfing looking for victims and we don't want spam as it would just block the system up. We would love to get emails from anyone and I'm sure my daughter Zara ( or Sara as I prefer to call her) wouldn't mind texting you the address. I can't work out why it always seems to be me out here in the mornings (it's 10.36) and Gaynor & Tristan are in their bunks,again! Tristan offered to draw up the watch rota and I'm not sure,but I think, they might have one up on me as everytime I enquire innocently when I'm next on watch I think I can see them giggling together. Consider this, after an arduous day's sailing it fell to me to try and come up with a sail plan that would give us a reasonably comfortable night below and forward progress (incidentally I failed miserably on both counts). We have a following sea and at times the roll is extreme, with Lady C doing a double dip, first right over to one side so far that the rail that joins the deck to the hull goes underwater and then, as the wave moves past repeating the process on the other side. After dinner, which was again a gastronomic delight fit for Neptune himself, thank you Gaynor , I Played around with the sails instead of taking a bit of rest before my shift which apparently started at 21.00. The result of this is that at 2100 I find myself standing in the cockpit with a mug of tea on what was not a very nice evening looking down at Gaynor on one side and Tristan on the other, in their jim-jams and little Wee Willie Winkie sleeping hats sitting up in their bunks, propped up with cushions, leaning back against the bulkheads, reading, whilst looking very snug and cosy and bathed in the soft warm glow of the cabin lights. I did one more stint from 0300 to 0500 and now I'm up here again looking down at them in their bunks, still they do look comfortable and I wouldn,t want them to be grumpy through lack of sleep like me! I think it will probably be bath day again today, we did all enjoy ourselves and each others new improved aromas after our ablutions. Gaynor is particularily smelly following an incident during the first storm that she has not recovered from. We were using the engine to head up a little higher to wind and I was worried that we were going to run out of diesel. I knew that if the engine stopped through fuel starvation I would really struggle to re-fuel and bleed the system to restart it. Using military style planning taught to me by Red Adair I briefed everyone as to their roles and we talked through the whole procedure.I was to be in the Lazerette where the spare fuel cans we were using were stored and after removing the filler cap I would insert the 12 volt submersible pump into the tin and pass the delivery pipe out through the porthole that leads into the cockpit to Gaynor. Tristans job was to take the wires that hook up the power to the batteries using crockodile clips and be in control of switching the pump on and off when he received signals from me. Gaynors role was probably the most important as she was to be "The Human Shield !!!!" You see the filler for the tank is outside and is set into the cockpit seat and if any water had entered the fuel system it could have caused a heap of trouble. She was briefed and told that she must sit over the fuel filler and pass the delivery hose down between her legs then make sure that no water could get into the tanks, it was very rough and there was breaking water all around. Don't you just love it when a plan comes together? All went well and we transferred 25 ltrs, we should have stopped there, but flushed with success we attempted a second - which was going well until the briny slopped over the side, Gaynor yelled ,Tristan rushed to the other side to mop it up and at that precise moment the tank decided it was full! I have been telling Gaynor that Diesel is a really cool designer label and that "eau de diesel" may catch on big time. I don't think she is convinced so when you see her - please even if there is a faint aroma remaining (which I'm sure there will be) - Don't mention it. Now on a slightly more serious and worrying note we have a bit of a role reversal that I am a bit concerned about, Gaynor has decided to do the fishing for today as Tristan has really had enough, problem is her line is a bit like both her texts and her blogs and only extends 4 feet off the back of the boat, Tristan however has just dished up a delicious brunch of fried ham,smash and beans which as we are off the coast of Portugal we felt duty bound to cover in Nando's extra hot piri piri sauce and I enjoyed mine with the left over ciabatta roll from last nights feast, Gaynor did cover it in custard but I licked it off and it doesn't seem to have suffered any long term side effects. We have re-set the sails and have a nice bright,white yellow and green cruising chute set at the bow which is flying nicely to port and filling with 10 knots of warm sea breeze, Gaynor is sunbathing on deck Tristan is ploughing on through his book on ancient Egypt and I am just about to start annoying them with my guitar - Day's don't come much better - great to get loads of mail today we're so delighted - thanks for joining us, it's great having you aboard.Hasta Entoncesxx
Duncan & Mel, so good to get your mail, hope the place isn't too small we will be coming to visit you know. And thanks for the crazy mental image I now have of you both sitting in a sofa bed made to look like a bright red and yellow Noddy car. Hope you will both be very very happy there.xx
Zara - glad you're talking to me again, If I were you I'd be very careful about eating 17 fresh figs, maybe have a chat with Si and see why he doesn't - Starting to run out of things to amuse ourselves, how do you think Rapids would be with orange squash in pints and cranberry juice shots? Love to you both xx
Michael and Teresa - So glad you found us and great to hear from you - I can't quite get to grips with the thought of a smelly Vicki and I bet she wouldn't smell anything like as bad as I imagine we do. xx
Pam & Vic - Thanks for coming back again it's so good - sorry we're using all your paper, I'm sure there is a way to just print what you need, the guys @ Mailasail are very helpfull and i'm sure they would be happy to tell you if there is.xx
Alex - You are enjoyably consistant keep it up - and haven't you been warned about Bognor?