Romping along

Paul Huntley
Sat 13 Jun 2009 11:27

42:09N 24:16W

Saturday 13th June

Good morning to you all, We are now into our third day at sea, overnight the wind has been fairly constant between 15/25 knots from the north west with very big seas, the largest I have seen since I sailed from Lagos to Madeira, and banged my head, so the crew have strict instructions to have one hand for the boat and on for themselves, Lucien has just staggered from the fore peak with a cup  of hot coffee in one hand and a book in the other with none left to hang on, yes ,you are ahead of me, the coffee went on the sole and not, fortunately, over a sleeping Drew. I will have to improve my French!

We have made fantastic progress since leaving Horta, all be it, at the expense of comfort. For the first two days we have logged 300 nm at an average speed of 6:2 knots. The old girls skirts are flying.

I had the 0400 hrs watch with dawn now arriving at  an hour later and sunrise just before six. Guy called me on his watch to take a look at a continuous white flashing strobe light just forward of our starboard bow; behind this we had sight of four yachts with Tricolour mast lights. Well, we puzzled, was it  per seine fishing vessels? They would show --- (3 letters), flashing lights and there was only ---(three letters), they should also be -----(,6 letters) Was it a cardinal buoy adrift. We are in 4000 meters of water, if it were a cardinal mark adrift it could only be a ----- (5 letters) cardinal, that seems unlikely, was it a strobe light from a life raft, lifejacket, Dan buoy or life ring? We watched it for half an hour; it was moving at about the same speed and track as us. Our deductions were that it was unlikely to be a cardinal buoy adrift because........................ It definitely was not per seine fishing boats because there would be two yellow flashing lights as well a navigational lights. We think it was a yacht under way not showing any other navigational lights because he had low or no power in his batteries .He could not or would not respond to our radio calls( low batteries) and  he had turned on a lifebuoy light or similar device, as the only means of marking his position. Answers on a postcard to Libertad, c/o Marine drive, Sea on Sea, Fitzroy.

It is now 10:40 am and we have just come out of a violent squall with the wind gusting to 30/35 knots, I could hear Guy (the on watch) franticly reefing the Genoa. That has now passed and we are back to full main and Genoa.

We had our regular visitors again today, a large pod of dolphins came to play for the second time that day, and they roll over and squeak with delight as they passed under the bow. This had me thinking, is a pod the correct term for a group of dolphin? When people watching in Horta I mused over the multinational groups of tourist and yachtsman wandering aimlessly in search of who knows what. This leads me to speculate on what nomenclature you could apply to these nomads. The Norwegians with patterned chunky knit sweaters and matching knitted hat could be a Fjord of Norwegians, the Danes would be a "pillage" Americans have to be a "drawl" waa waa waaa, there could be an "Alp" of Swiss, a "Spawn "of French , I will leave you to work that one out! A "clamp" of Swedes, I know what you’re thinking, this guy has too much time on his hands!

The gas stove refused to work this morning and having fitted a new bottle before we sailed, I clawed my way to the foredeck on all fours to investigate, the breather vent on the regulator was blocked with salt, once cleared everything was back to normal, except I left the tools in the chain locker so had to crawl back to collect them. Now soaked to the skin, this appeared to attract little sympathy from the crew, I went below to change. I could hear the fry pan sizzling and I was presented with a hot sausage butties for my efforts, thanks Guy.

We have had a Navetex warning of some heavy weather tomorrow or Monday in the Fitzroy area so we will batten down the hatches for a blow just in case.

That's quite enough from me to be going on with, we are all well although Drew has been feeling off colour for a few days and spends much of the day sleeping. I have recommended the Libertad cure of a sardine milkshake but this has been declined so far, some people you just can't help, you can tell by that last comment the rest of us are fine.

Best wishes and our love to all at home whoever and wherever you are, As Dave Allen used to say," May your God's go with you."

Paul, Drew, Guy and Lucien,