Ed Dolman
Mon 7 Dec 2009 17:56
Dear Readers,
Sorry that there was no entry yesterday; a bit of writer's block combined with the fact that there was really nothing much to report from the previous 24 hours. The night before last passed quite uneventfully; there were a few heavy squalls during the night and early morning but nothing to deter Marinara's fearless crew. After the fun of the previous night, Dave relented and took down the asymmetric, leaving us with our trusty favourites. The wind was steady throughout and the result, as you probably know by now, was that we posted a very good 24hr total, 174 miles by the boat's log.
From noon yesterday to noon today, we have done even better - 176 miles, which is our best of the trip. Let's see what Arc rally control make of it. The forecast was for the wind to build during the night and build it did. We had several hours of winds in excess of 25 knots, with up to 36 knots in the gusts around the squalls. Captain Dorado and Tony had great fun barrelling down the swell at up to 9 knots fighting to keep Marinara in a (more or less) straight line. Pete's fitness regime has certainly helped the crew manage these conditions and Captain Dorado has likened a spell on the helm to "a good workout at the gym" (not sure which gym he goes to (Ed)). At the time of writing, the wind has eased slightly but we are still speeding along at aound 8 knots with 244 miles to go (you will note the precision - not "about 250" - we are getting close!)
One slight dilemma that we have is that we have run out of soft fizzy drinks (or as the Captain calls them, "soda"). We took on board 96 cans of Pepsi, Sprite and orange in Las Palmas, as well as 18 litres of fruit juice and emergency water supplies (in case the water maker broke down). We now have 5 litres of fruit juice and about 20 litres of bottled water left. Fortunately, we are pleased to report that the supplies of "isotonic San Miguel" remain plentiful. Our food supplies should just about last us to St Lucia! For those of our readers who do not know, the amount of food on board became a bit of a standing joke. Dave did most of the victualling for the trip in Southampton and vast quantities of tinned, vacuum packed, dried, etc. food remained untouched under the bunks in the aft cabin throughout the trips down to Las Palmas. Dave and Tony then stocked up with all of the fresh and perishable food in Las Palmas before we left. It is fair to say that we have eaten well on the voyage; most of our menus have been based around staples (rice, pasta, potatoes) with fresh fish (when available-see below) tinned chicken (or something resembling it) or tuna, vegetables and a variety of sauces - curry, oriental, Italian, etc. You will have read in earlier entries about some the culinary creations of the crew. (Indeed, at the moment, another of Pete's loaves is nearing completion, depite the oven having been mysteriously turned off during baking).  As we near the end of our voyage, we have another competition for our readers to enter. Amongst the things ( well, we hesitate to call if foodstuff) purchased by Dave in Southampton before we left was a tin of Smash ( yes, Smash instant mashed potato!) The tin says "new improved recipe" - always a worrying sign. Now, your challenge is to come up with the most creative recipe using our tin of Smash, any other ingredients you think we may still have on the boat and anything else you would like to add, bearing in mind that as well as the usual stove, Marinara is equipped with a microwave oven and a rotisserie grill! Please send your entries as soon as possible to the boat's email address. The prize for the lucky winner is... yes, you've guessed it! 
Now, back to the fish (or lack of them). There is a rumour going around that fish do not like to take a lure on the surface three days either side of full moon (which of course we've had this week). Some people are trying to use this as an excuse for not having landed anything for the last "few days". Dear Readers, is there any truth in this rumour or is it just another one of those old fisherman's lines of the, "it was this big but it got away" variety? More later as we approach St Lucia. 07/12/09.