Since the drama of blowing out our spinnaker, we
have been under a more conservative sail plan, which is just as well in view of
the unpredictable weather. We can still be caught out; running into the night
under genoa and single reefed main, with the forecast 20 knots of breeze, we
found ourselves hanging on as the boat took off like a runaway train, ahead of
sustained 40 knot squalls. DwD's staring eyes and white knuckles were all
that identified the helmsman through the horizontal rain, and his palm prints
are now indelibly pressed into the wheel.
Eventually, as usual, the post squall lull came. In
less than five minutes MR's crew had the boat into wind, an extra reef tied in,
and boat back on course before the next gust came in. Its amazing what adrenilin
can achieve; anyone would think they had been trained.
Chef occassionally disposes of small
quantities of bio degadable food waste overboard, for which purpose he
launches the article from the shelter of the companionway, whence it is seized
by the breeze and swept away down wind. FM, keen to learn, tried this with
bowl of potato peelings, which responded well to the upwind launch, then
circled in formation like Zero fighters and performed perfect kamikazes into the
back of Skipper's head. Skipper quite restrained in the circumstances, once
persuaded by FM that he didn't have a shirt full of wayward flying fish.
FM and DwD, having patched up differences, are now
counting off all the boats ahead of us, and calculating whether or not we
will catch up with any before parking , hopefully on Sunday. Difficult to
reconcile this new found competitive spirit in crew for whom the daily grind of
sunbathing and swopping paper backs generally relegates sail changes to
something done just before bed time! Some heated debate about motoring; one view
is why take on 300 litres of fuel, just to carry it across the Atlantic,
especially when in the calms it seems that everyone else just motors ahead.
Perfectionist view still carries; we may not be in the top group, but at least
we sailed here. Whether or not this steely resolve lasts, as the smell of the
rum punch fills our nostrils, remains to be