Wow....what a Corker!

Magnetic Attraction
Roger and Margaret Pratt
Thu 12 Dec 2013 18:10
Thursday 12 December 2013


Course: 270
Engine Hrs: 3 (all for battery charging purposes)
Day's Run: 163 miles (best yet, average speed 6.8knots!!)
Total: 2,405miles
Temperature 28.0C
Water temperature reading 31.5C
Wind speed: 23knts
Wind direction: 85T

Well what a night it was!! The forecast was deliberated upon and the outcome was an increase in wind to about 25+knots during the early hours. The decision was made to plan ahead and put our third and final reef in whilst it was still light. This was fine but we had moved the clocks back another hour so it meant darkness sprung upon us very quickly meaning we ended up eating in the dark as the reefing delayed Bryan (mother) preparing dinner. We could do a reef with the three of us leaving Bryan to do the dinner but with Roger's rib injury he is limited in the amount he can do due to the pain it causes him!  At Bryan's request, great care was taken that the cook didn't take an unexpected seawater shower, however the other three got it instead!
Roger's watch (1900-2300) went by with no real hitches. Margaret's however (2300-0300) had quite a corker of a watch!! As the wind was slowly building she was furling up more of the genoa. She was also keeping her eye on these two clouds following us when suddenly they merged to become one huge cloud. Margaret was furling in a bit more genoa in anticipation when this big squall / gust came though when she shouted down "Bryan, I think I need some help...I have just seen 35knots!"  Whilst Bryan was now winching in the genoa Margaret saw up to 40 knots of breeze!! I was down in my bunk and I suddenly felt like we were charging forwards parting the seas at the rate of knots!! She was then handing over to Bryan for his watch (0300-0700) which he continued to sail with just the main up for about an hour just to be on the safe side! This morning it is a steady 22-24 knots from the east with the swell now also from the east so we are occasionally surfing down these huge (3m) waves which seem to be quite steep at times!! To save on some battery juice we are all taking turns at helming! Who would have thought we would be taking the helm whilst sailing across the Atlantic!! After about an hour of it you can really feel it on your shoulders and you start to loose a bit of concentration!
Margaret and Roger have some Danish friends who are competing in the Atlantic Odyssey which is an organised crossing of the Atlantic. We have been getting their position sent to us from a few of our dedicated shore support members. They have also sent us the radio frequencies in which they would be using daily at 1200 GMT to share their positions. Today was the first day that we attempted to get a signal and we were closely listening into a number of people telling a coordinator their positions and their current wind conditions! We were unsure as to whether or not  they were from the Odyssey or the ARC, another organised crossing group. Then suddenly we heard Capibara calling asking if he was being heard because his radio fell off his shelf earlier and he was unable to hear, the normally heard, Odyssey boats checking in. This was a huge amount of luck and chance for us. After listening to the ARC talking about their sail plans, all the same as us (three reefs and and small genoa) and the fact that their auto pilot's were only just coping which led them to have to hand steer, shock horror! Roger then managed to interject and managed to get through to Henrik and they arranged to speak on another frequency so as not get in the way of the ARC boats. Then to both peoples delight the signal was good and they had a good old chin wag and a catch up. During this Henrik suddenly said "Hang on it's fallen off the shelf again!" Roger proceeded to tell him he needed to screw it on when Henrik came out with the excuse he didn't have time, actually to admit later on he just couldn't be bothered!! Sounds like a character! Roger has now arranged to have another chat this evening. They are a smaller boat, only 30ft, and left 6 days before us yet we are 150+miles ahead of them! They average around 80 miles a day unlike our current 150!
Half of our talk now is about what we prioritising to do when we get there!! A general one for us all is to jump in for a swim ASAP!! The other thing we would all like is a nice dinner that does no look "slop" like, i.e. curry and rice, casserole and rice, spag bol....etc.!! Oh I guess I should also mention that we all have a specific tipple we are looking forward to having...the boys fancy a chilled beer, Margaret "could kill for a glass of wine" and I fancy a rum and ginger!!
The wind is set to increase slightly to about 25-30 knots until we get there so it should only be 4-5 days now, especially as we "only" have 640 miles to go...yay!!
Until next time...which will be my last one hopefully....Au Revior!!!
Lucy (Mother)