Day 18 Alex's Birthday

Wed 10 Dec 2008 20:27
A couple of days ago James our son rang on the satellite phone, why is everyone I speak to so tired he asked. I explained that for the previous three nights we had all been up changing sails in the middle of the night. That's not very good planning he said.
And so it came to pass again last night. Having had so many slow days we are now leaving the big sails up at every opportunity including going into the night and hoping not to have to drop them. But once again just before six gmt, so about the middle of the night local time, I am on watch, helming because the autopilot cannot cope with the wind and wave combination and the boat kept rounding up. We have full spinnaker up, 22 knots of wind, and more than 9 of boat speed, as the next gust hit at 25 knots and the boat touched 10 knots we went into action again for our take down. Once again a smooth operation. As we worked I could not help thinking how far we have come in only two weeks. We started the ARC using just our asymmetric in daylight, then tentatively the big red spinnaker, and now depending on conditions we fly whatever is right day or night.
So another great mileage day (166) as the wind has held just under 20 knots all day and we have continued making good speed on main and poled out genoa.
Anyway back to Alex's birthday, which started with a cup of tea and a quick chorus of Happy Birthday at 6 a.m. A little later gifts and the official photo shoot took place: Alex in ARC regalia for the event.
Also of note today, we saw our first ARC boat for six days Hound Dog an Island Packet 455 which we came up on shortly after dawn and left over the horizon behind us in a very few hours. There is a Lagoon 44 a short distance ahead and we will look for its lights as night falls. Other than these two most other boats are still north of us, but it is somehow reassuring to be back in the fleet.
On the tuna front, I had a brief go again today, not expecting much as we are getting a little close to the full moon. One line out, a Williamson tuna lure on the end, and as typical of this trip within twenty minutes a strike. But this one did not stop, the line just went straight out with just two brief pauses until the whole 500 yards of 80 lb test line was gone. A pity but that's fishing and also much too big a fish for us to land on this boat, and very exciting while it went. So tomorrow respool the reel and have another go.Having a whole reel dumped in one run was a first for us, although it happened to friends on Sea Rover last week, some large shark or tuna is my guess.