15:46.47N 33:19.83W Wife Beater

Hello all ............ We can't begin to tell you how nice it is to be back.  The last few days have been a bit like I would imagine the movement and moisture levels would be if you accidentally fell into an industrial washing machine and someone closed the door behind you and started a very,very,very long and extremly energetic wash cycle.    We were hoping to leave Mindelo on the 1st Jan but Gaynor had food poisoning from a rice and seafood dish that she and Max ate on New Years Eve.  There was no way that we could set off with a crew member in that state so when she felt better the next morning and said that she was OK to leave things were looking good. That is until we heard the groans coming from Max in the forepeak, who was suffering from a  similar condition and meant that once again we had to delay our start.    We finally left around 1330 on Sunday, a week after our arrival, and nosed out into the 4-5 mile wide channel between the islands.  The wind was fresh NNE and we made good progress through the acceleration zone between them and then out into clear water.  Then we noticed the swell!  Thinking that it was a by-product of all the water having to squeeze through a narrow gap we expected it to reduce as we got further from the land.  There was now nothing between us and the Caribbean and the wind was coming from a favorable direction,slightly stronger than we would have ordered but there was no complaining as for the first time we were actually able to make good progress,under canvas. towards our chosen destination.  But the swell just didn't stop, it got worse and was coming at us from different angles and it made life very tiring.  Unable to sleep due to the violent pitching and tossing of the boat we were reduced to just trying to deal with it the best we could , under mizzen and inner staysail, but it really wasn't very nice. And then I think I broke Gaynor's nose!  We were both out in the cockpit the other morning, while all this bouncy stuff was going on, and I stood up to go below for something when the boat lurched and I lost my grip on the handrail, I covered the short distance to the other side in a manner that would have qualified me for the next Olympics, grabbed the coaming, thought I'd managed to stop myself and then to my horror saw Gaynor's face right in front of me.  It all seemed to happen in slow motion but I head butted her smack on the nose and we both heard a crack!  She's being very good about it and it doesn't look broken, there was no blood and there hasn't been any bruising,  so we're hoping it's not. I've just asked her how it is and she says" Very lop-sided, twice the size it normally is and I can only breathe through one side but it's absolutely fine"  She is (still) really very lovely, and to show there are no hard feelings she's down in the galley masterminding another culinary manifestation of the Beanfeast variety.   Sometimes, in profile, momentarily down below in the soft lights of the cabin I think I can see a vague resemblance to Joe Bugner, but then I check myself and realise it's just the imaginations of my gulty conscience, I do feel really bad about it.  Max caught another Dorado tonight but it got away as he was reeling it in - How rude, didn't it realise it was on the menu?   In fact we're getting lots of takes but we have discovered that the hooks on the lures no longer have barbs so they are escaping before they can be welcomed aboard. We also had 2 flying fish on the decks yesterday morning called Port and Starboard but they were given back to the ocean.  This morning I found another one when I went forward to check the rigging and shake a nocturnal reef out of the main I could see a perfect outline of where he came to rest, splat against the inner foresail, he left a Tom and Jerry style outline which showed him in full flight before landing unceremoniously on something which, I'm sure he felt, had no right to be there. 
We are definitely in the Trade winds now with a steady North Easterly pushing us on.  Over 500 miles covered so far, with the highest recorded speed of 9.4 knots!!!!!!! and we haven't had the benefit of any downwind sails yet as it's too strong for the cruising chute and too bouncy to get the Twistle set up.  The wind has been gusting 30 knots plus and there have been white horses and breaking crests all around us.  Quite alarming at night, especially before the moon comes up as you can't see them until they break and then you wait for them to arrive. There seemed to be a hardcore of smallish, sneaky little waves that wait at the side of the boat and, just when you're occupied with trying to hold on through a large swell , think it's fine to just launch themselves vertically and hop on board.  Gaynor had one drop into the biscuit box just as she was deciding which one to go for and I had one of the slippery little suckers drop about 2 gallons of cold salty water down the back of my neck while I was sitting on watch the other night, in full foul weather gear, I only wish I'd done the collars up.  I hope we've overcome the roller furling problems that we had on the way to the Verdes.  The forestay tension had dropped off and it had quite a sag in it and I think this was playing a major part in the fiasco.  The angle that the halyard arrives at the masthead is critical and sometimes requires a small fairlead called an anti-wrap plate to control it.  When they were fitted it wasn't deemed necessary to fit one to the outer but the inner does have one.  I think the outer was marginally inside the safe zone but once the tension had gone that changed everything.  I started trying to re-tension the forestay by tightening the backstay but once I had it tight enough I walked to the other side of the Marina to see how it looked and the mast was raked so far aft it looked totally wrong. Plan B had me tension both the inner and outer roller furling gears and then re tension the backstay.  I also  re-set the mizzen standing rigging as, when viewed from a distance it was raked Fwd.  Once done it all looked good and provided we keep a bit of tension on the roller control lines as we let the sails out they seem to coil onto the drum correctly.   Other than flying fish we get very few visitors out here and rely on your emails for news and inspiration, we simply aren't getting enough of them and are hoping you'll start sending them soon.
 
Hasta la Proxima
 
LadyC and her twin tubbed crew
 
Victor, Happy New Year to you too, sorry but I have all attachments blocked as the Sat phone modem can't cope with them so I will look forward to reading the poetry you sent when we reach an Internet Cafe or Wi-fi zone and I can download it.
 
Christine, Vesco and Pam, Happy New Year to you too, good to hear your news , when you next meet up with your erstwhile offspring please let him know that we are ALL!  still waiting for his first email.   
 
Zara  - Thanks for your help in sorting the blogs into the correct order, getting us news of Skunk's progress in the Sydney-Hobart, and just being there to talk to, miss having you on Skype - hope you and Si are over your fibre glass loft experience.  Blogs are looking good on Cowesonline any feedback? 
 
Robin - Big thanks to you from all of us - wish you were here