Eagle eyed

Paul Huntley
Fri 12 Dec 2008 10:47


Friday 12th December 2008

Good morning, its 12:30 local ships time and 02:30 UTC. We are still making very good progress to the west at a speed in excess of six knots, yesterday  we recorded our best days run, noon to noon since leaving Gran Canaria of 146 n.m.The weather has been squally with heavy showers and sudden increases in wind, often from a different direction, Those on watch have to try and spot them coming and reef in the twin headsails as quickly as possible, so if I leave you mid sentence you will know why.

We had a very rough ride yesterday with a large swell coming from the north east of 4/5 metres, combined with the squalls that kept appearing .It made life very uncomfortable below. Bob was on cooking watch yesterday managing to get a hot bacon roll to each crew member for breakfast and with great dexterity managed to prepare and serve a roast minted lamb dinner with two vegetables followed by fruit salad, without leaving too much on the deck head or floor, If you can imagine your entire kitchen lurching at an irregular pace with a 30 degree roll each way and add to that the pitching forward and aft, and everything you put on the surfaces goes walkabout. That’s life!

Continuing the theme I started in yesterdays blog (A day in the life of) It is Nicks turn and with his permission I will try to fill in a little of the background to his life that finally lead him to Libertad and a Trans Atlantic passage.

Nick (Pomfret) was born Dar es Salamm  spending his formative years growing up in the wild north west of England before moving south to the Cotswolds and the spa town of Cheltenham. Upon leaving school his career choice was one of service to his country and he joined the Royal Air force, after several postings he eventually ended up in what was then a new airbase at Thorney Island on the Sussex /Hampshire, borders, it was here that he developed interests outside of the RAF and eventually decided to pursue them professionally as a broadcaster and decided to leave the RAF and settle in this beautiful part of the country. At this time he secured a post with the BBC in London and became a presenter/news reader for radio 1 and 2.amongst other broadcasting work. Having discovered his love of the spoken word his career developed by eventually starting his own business as a voice over artist, doing advertising and sound commentaries for technical and other film sources.

In this busy life he also found time to start a family with his wife subsequently his two daughters, now grown up, they are still the apple of his eye and the focal point of his life.

Living so close to the sea, it is hardly surprising that he didn't show an interest in some form of water sport, he has always been keen on fitness and still leads a fitness class as an instructor, but sailing was to become his passion. He bought his own boat, a Westerly, and sails out of Emsworth where he and his parents have also made their home.

Nick has never been one for lone pleasures despite enjoying the freedom of single handed sailing; he shares his boat with groups of blind and partially sighted sailors every year. This summer he sailed his boat from Emsworth to Falmouth single handed to participate in the Blind week, taking sailors to explore the wonders of the Fal river and Helford river and Fowey and the Yealm, for this work he was recognised by his own yacht club (Emsworth Slipper,sailing club) and awarded the prestigious "Fastnet trophy" He has plans to sail his own boat further afield as and when time permits and decided that a taste of ocean sailing would be a good introduction to the blue water life. Nick has to fly out of St Lucia on the 18th of December so we have to make best speed to try and meet that deadline. I must attend to my watch duties.

Why is this blog entitled” Eagle eyed”? you may well ask, there is a link, because Nick has to be the eyes for his blind sailors,  we have an additional crew member, her name is Enid and she is an Egret, we think, She has the slender legs and long yellow bill of a wading bird, with pure white plumage. She circled us several times eyeing up a suitable landing spot before calling  “finals” and eventually alighting on the starboard side deck, after a few minutes she gained her sea legs and strutted off to the mast to claim her roost for the night. She is sleeping with her head tucked under her wing with fluffed up feathers to keep out the rain. She seems quite content to hitch a ride back to land. Why and how she came to be so far from the nearest land we don't know, she is obviously very tired and is taking the opportunity to rest. We have been debating what we could offer her to eat but unless a flying fish lands on deck or Bob gets lucky she will have to wait.

Good night to all you bloggers and good night to the crew of Libertad who are all asleep but Enid  has one eagle eye open.

Yours with love and best wishes as ever Paul.