A quiet night

Ed Dolman
Fri 4 Dec 2009 15:32
Hello Everyone,
Only a few hours left for you to get your entries in to the Professor (unless you are under 16 and live in Southampton in a road beginning with O). The light winds continued yesterday afternoon so we had the asymmetric up again and made reasonable progress. It came down rather rapidly about an hour after dusk as we saw lightning flashes and heard distant thunder!  Fortunately this soon disappeared and we continued throughout a calm moonlit night with our favourite rig (main and poled out genoa) and when the wind shifted against us early this morning we gybed again to keep on track to St Lucia. It's not going to be our best 24 hour run and we can only hope that our competitors were in the same light winds. Today it is supposed to get much windier but there's no sign of this so far. We have been asked by one of our readers to let you have details of what we get up to in our "spare" time. Strange though it may seem, we do not actually have very much of this! Each crew member is on watch for 10 hours each day (one 6 hour (day) and one 4 hour (night) watch each). The watches are overlapping so that there are (generally) two of us on watch at any given time but to explain how this works would require a degree in advanced mathematics ( suffice to say that there are several Excel spreadsheets with all the details). This means we have about 5 1/2 hours for one "long" sleep and a "catch up nap" at some point during the day. Then there is the cooking, eating, cleaning, boat maintenance, rig changes, fishing, personal fitness, correspondence with the office (Captain Dorado), blog entries, etc., etc. It is actually a pretty hectic and gruelling schedule, but we think we are bearing up quite well in the circumstances. We all have a book on the go ( reading rather than writing one). Captain Dorado is on page 103 (we think) of Crime and Punishment, Dave is (re -) reading a sailing book (no surprises there, then) " The Last Grain Race", by Eric Newby, Pete is reading "The Wire in the Blood" by Val McDermid and Tony a psychological murder mystery called " A Small Death in Lisbon"by Robert Wilson, described by The Times as "complex and fascinating" which, indeed, he says it is. We have a daily motivational team talk from Captain Dorado and numerous highly intellectual discussions, which continue throughout the night.So don't worry, our mental, as well as our physical, fitness is being maintained at the highest levels throughout the voyage. That's all for now! 04/12/09.