All change

Ed Dolman
Thu 3 Dec 2009 12:55
Good day to all our readers.
Well, after yesterday's entry it was almost inevitable. Yesterday afternoon the wind died down to just under 15 knots  and the swell all but disappeared! Not satisfied with a paltry 6 knots of boat speed, Scotty ordered the asymmetric from the engine room and we were soon speeding off downwind again at 8.5 knots.  This lasted until dusk when, despite incredibly skilled helmsmanship from those less experienced in keeping a gigantic kite full of wind whilst under enormous pressure from Dave ("Don't wrap it round the forestay, it's a xxxxx to get it unwrapped again"), it was decided that a more conservative sail plan would be in order for the night. After a bit of technical experimentation (trial and error) we opted for our old favourite and spent the night goosewinging with the genoa poled out, which resulted in comfortable and steady, if unspectacular, progress as well as some much-needed sleep for the crew. WE spotted some more dolphins last night but apart from that the wildlife count is, sadly, low. The weather this morning is beautiful again and already hot (31C), the rod is out to catch our lunch and we are moving ever nearer to St Lucia. How much nearer and at what speed it would now be unfair to disclose, in view of a competition instigated by Dave's cousin, Robbie, ( Professor Sir Robert Boulter, eminent meteorologist and sailor of some repute (veteran of Leg1 from Hamble to Portugal), for those of you who do not know him). The details of this competition are set out in the following extract received recently by us from the Professor:-   
 "Thunderweather [ ie Robbie (Ed)] is inviting entries (in exchange for great prizes of course!) for calculating the day and time that Marinara will cross the finish line - submissions need to be emailed by no later than Friday 2200hrs UTC/GMT to rob {CHANGE TO AT} thundersailing {DOT} com. The calculated finish time should be expressed in UTC/GMT day/time and not rum time! (it's easy really - look at the event websites etc - calculate Marinara's usual daily run - etc etc).

So get your thinking/guessing caps on and email your entry for the finish time soon!
(Sadly 'Virtual' entries cannot be accepted unless accompanied by certified confirmation of a Degree in Games Software.)
Prizes for the nearest calculation to the actual finish time (there will be an Adults prize and an Under Sixteens prize) will be presented on a date in the nearby future - virtual or otherwise!"
Accordingly, all references in the blog to boat speed, daily runs and distance to the finish are embargoed forthwith and you will have to look (if you are not already so doing) at the ARC website, which we're sure you all know by now is at So get those calculators out, don't forget that the entry should be in GMT, and good luck!
More later. 03/12/09