The countdown has commenced!

Magnetic Attraction
Roger and Margaret Pratt
Fri 6 Dec 2013 15:34
Friday 6 December 2013


Course: 272
Engine Hrs: 23
Day's Run: 135 miles
Total: 1,594 miles - Expected total distance 3000 miles
Air Temperature 28.6C
Water temperature reading 31.0C (but Richard has doubts!)
Wind speed: 10.2knts
Wind direction: 86T

Another milestone passed!  At 7pm last night (2100 GMT) we passed the magic figure of 1500 miles run.  Lucy took a screen shot of the GPS reading, to capture the statistic.  So the countdown to arrival in Martinique has commenced.
From dawn yesterday it was clear that Thursday was going to be THE day when we'd achieve the magic number. Roger carved spanish cured ham for lunch, which we've been husbanding in the bilge in its vacuum pack, and we had that with the remains of the tomato and basil soup.  The afternoon was taken up with changing the rig: putting the mainsail away and rigging the twin headsails.  This is not a slight undertaking, and took all of us a couple of hours with Roger directing operations from the bow (and getting doused with salt water at 31C from time to time.)   But once it was all sorted to his satisfaction the boat could be put onto  a dead run and the great circle course for Marin, which has been put into a track onto the computer, and is currently 271 degrees.  The benefit of being on track is that there can be a continuous update of "time to go" to our destination, which we all hope will raise spirits.  The downside of the wind  from astern is that the boat has been rolling horribly in the following sea.  It was particularly nasty at about 2am this morning when we were all awake and commiserating with Lucy on watch.
At about 5.30pm the celebrations commenced with a bottle of champagne, a bit shaken from the swell but not too frothy.  Lucy took a photograph on a delayed timer to capture the moment and just got back to pick up her glass before the shutter clicked!  Roger and I also had an envelope from Becky and Ike "Not to be opened until halfway across the Atlantic" with a balloon and lovely message.  It was lovely.  Then we had some of the little new canary potatoes before eating Roger's fish with salad. 
When Bryan switched off the lantern to start his watch at 7pm there was one final surprise!  Not one, but TWO boats in sight!  One was a cargo ship destined for Vila do Conde (does anyone know where that is, please?) which passed less than 2 miles behind our stern; and the other a smaller boat that disappeared into the mist after about 6 hours.  The new moon is ahead of us at present but disappears by about 9pm, and Venus also lights up the sky for most of the night. 
Natural history has not been a special feature over the past 24 hours, since Roger packed his fishing rod away.  There have been the odd flying fish, and storm petrels: but nothing so exciting as whales, dolphins, or sharks!  Bryan has continued to entertain us with information about The Life of Nelson - although from time to time it does pall, and it has been known for the kindle to slip from his hand......
We moved the ship's clock back one hour to GMT -2.  2 more hours to gain before we arrive in Marin.
Everyone is appreciating the news from UK - it makes a big difference to us to here what's afoot.