Lilli Mae, On the way home - Leg 4 - The Big One - Update 4th December 19

Lilli Mae
Tue 3 Dec 2019 23:01
Hi Everyone, We are hoping you are seeing the position on our tracker. At this moment we are doing 8.4 knots with wind gusting 28 knots (force 7). We are downwind and at this speed and wind angle we are quite comfortable. Let's hope it stays that way! Actually after all this downwind sailing I don't think I ever want to sail upwind again!
Anyway, we are continuing to head west. Winds are now very strong and the sea is a lot "bigger" than it has been in the first week. The trade winds have been a little disrupted by other weather systems (so our weather router advises) but they are apparently settling down now. The swell is probably about 2 - 3 metres high and sometimes it feels as though the sea is going to fall in on you from behind or Lilli Mae is on the top of a hill sliding down into a big ditch. We have over 1200 miles under our belt and our instruments tell us we have another 1600 to go.
We had a tough couple of hours last night; we were all up trying to get the boat managed as the wind really picked up. We were all up trying to fix issues at 0100 this morning so we were all a little tired today. So we have been lazing around a bit. It has been a lovely sunny day today. Even when the wind is strong the air is warm. The challenge last night was bad enough in these temperatures. I would have been a nightmare in UK cold and wet conditions. 
We crossed the 30 DEG longitude mark today so our "boat clock" went back by 1 hour. This meant instead of the normal 4 hour watch mine (Howard) was 5 hours. It does sometimes get complicated (for me anyway!); we have to manage the "boat time" and GMT for navigation. I will say the 4 hour watch pattern has so far worked well. Mike and Peter are OK with it and we have now got into the routine which means lunch and dinner have to be a certain times to ensure everyone is rested for their watch. Having said that I think I got had the luck with my shift.
Food and meals are going well. We had bacon sandwiches for lunch today and we are having stir fry for dinner tonight. Both are favourites with crew members.
Today and for tonight we are planning on staying on the same heading and sail plan. Tomorrow evening we will probably gybe and try to head a bit more south toward St Lucia. Hopefully you will be able to see when we do this on the tracker.
We now have a ritual that occurs at noon GMT and just before dinner. The daily position results for the rally are received at noon and the daily weather update comes in sometime in the PM. Despite the fact that we are not racing the motivational power of a list with your name on it is huge. Combine this with our weather router information that comes in the PM, the team tactics discussion before dinner would put Sir Ben Ainslie on the back footSmile with tongue out emoticon. After today's conference we had dinner and a celebratory gin and tonic. Not sure what we were celebrating but a couple of days ago we celebrated with port and a few days before that with honey rum we discovered in the Las Palmas.
I was sorting out the sails for this evening and got struck on the arm by a flying fish. Today we saw loads of them flying all over the place. This morning there must have been 3 on the deck of the boat. Despite these fish literally jumping into our lap we still have not caught one!
Anyway hope all is good with everyone where ever you are. Will keep you updated on our adventure.
Crew on Lilli Mae