Speed, Miles and Watches (part 2)

Mon 6 Feb 2012 18:13
18:29.3N 049:33.7W
1200 UT Monday, 6 Feb
We are really cracking on now.  24 hour run to midday today was 160 nm.  That’s an average speed of 6.7 kts.  Today is also good with a nice breeze behind us and the spinnaker flying.  The speed record belongs to the Liz/Lulu watch who touched 12.3 kts down a big wave yesterday.  The average speed record is held by the Liz/Mark watch at 7.0 kts today.  Those records are likely to stay for a day or so as the breeze is forecast to ease up a bit although I’m sure we’ll see it increase again before this is all over.
Fishing?  No way!  We are going too fast.  Besides, how can we stop the boat to land the fish when we’ve got the spinny up?
Waves: so far they have turned out to be just pussycats.  We had some long swell from the north this morning but you could hardly feel it.  More like an elevator that goes gently up, then lets you down again.  Of course we still have our following sea, generated by the wind. But even the two combined didn’t add up to anything to remark upon. Let’s hope it stays that way.
Yesterdays blog about watches was nice, but perhaps you want to know more?  Well, we stand 5 watches a day: three watches of 4 hours each during the day, starting at 6 am, and 2 night watches of 6 hours each starting at 6 pm.  The watches are manned by pairs.  With 5 people on board, that means that one person each day is excused watch keeping.  Instead they become responsible for meals, cleaning up and general housekeeping. That means that they get to choose the menu du jour and they also get to sleep all through the night without having to go on watch. Each day we rotate partners so that we pair up with each other member of the crew every five days.  And because there are 5 watches a day, we also rotate through the timetable and avoid being stuck with the midnight to 6 am watch (the death watch) over and over.  We have a nice spread sheet (naturally, what else?) which sets all this out.  The watch partnership means that everyone gets to mix up a bit.  It also means that the watch duties are shared.  For example, during the long night watches, one person will be “on” while the other is “on standby” (aka “asleep”).  So it’s all quite relaxed, but structured too and everyone seems happy with it.
Bye for now.