14:03.59N 59:30.17W The end is nigh
07.00 Hrs (UTC)
Tuesday 19th January 2010
Good Morning, This is very exciting as it may me our last "On passage" blog for some time. It's actually 03.00 Hrs and we think we've finally caught up to local time onboard LadyC. We don't like it much as it gets dark so early and seems to make the day shorter. It's also exciting as we are only About 80 miles from landfall in St Lucia. I'm standing over the chart table writing this, but if I were out in the cockpit, firstly I would be very wet as the rain is hammering down and secondly, if I were looking South, I would be able to see the reflected glow of the lights from Barbados which is around 60 miles away. We are running under Twistle rig again and the instant improvement in the ship's movement was welcomed by us all. Monday night was full of big chunks of dark wet and windy weather coming up from the East. It came in stages and could be observed on the radar screen as angry blue and yellow blotches marching up behind us. I don't know if it's my imagination but they actually do look menacing on the screen and you feel as if they are creeping up on you trying to take you un-awares. Lots of them missed us and passed either side but of the ones that hit us, they were all on my watch. I had to wring myself out at the end of each one before I could climb into my bunk and it reminded me of a very amusing episode of The Morcambe and Wise Show many years ago. This mornings conversations, over coffee, revealed that nobody else had suffered the same fate, how funny is that? As the night was looking unsettled we had put several turns in the Twistle to reduce the area for the night and it coped very well returning slightly reduced speed but dealing with the associated increase in wind speed as the squalls came through. This morning, when Gaynor handed over to me she told me that she had found a rope, over the top of the safety line, trailing in the water. It wasn't until after she had been gone for a while that I realised that it was the Twistle rig halyard which, like all the others before it, had sheared at the mast head block. Some moments of quiet contemplation followed while I considered the options available to us and put them into order and then, as Max was due to take over from me, I made him a cup of coffee and prepared to brief him on what he was about to inherit. There isn't really any easy way to tell someone that the only sail we have up is no longer attached to the boat at the top of the mast but he took it in his usual calm manner and was immediately prepared to go up the mast and address it. Before we'd left the Verdes we ran a new halyard up to a block on the other side of the mast, in case we wanted to use the cruising chute, and we decided to use this for the Twistle as it would mean that Max could just tie the new one on and wouldn't need to go right to the very top of the mast. At this time we were doing just over 6 knots and there was a fair bit of swell around so the upper end of a 55 foot mast,while underway, was going to be a pretty challenging environment. I'm not suggesting for one minute that it was easy but Max certainly made it look that way and once Gaynor and I had hoisted him up there on the main halyard he completed the task quickly and requested "Ground floor please"
I've just been out to do the 4am log and it's now a little over 70 miles to go and the sky has cleared to a beautiful black velvet cape over which someone has scattered millions of tiny diamonds. Checking the radar I can't see any more rain inside the 24 mile band on the screen so, with luck I'll be out of here before any arrives. When we get to dry land we will have sailed over 5000 miles from England and, whilst there have definitely been some challenging moments, it has been a fantastic voyage in so many ways. I'm off to enjoy my last hour of night watch for a while, as soon as we arrive I will let you know. Depending on the time we will either, anchor off until daylight or, if there is sufficient light for an approach, go into the Marina, Either way the next news will hopefully be from solid land and with a bit of luck it might have stopped raining as well. Thanks for sticking with us and we hope that you've enjoyed our aquatic ramblings.
Hasta St Lucia !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
LadyC and her Caribbean crew