Fw: Almost,almost, but not quite! 38:32.86N 31:19.67W

Doug Smith
Mon 4 Jun 2012 17:03
----- Original Message -----
From: Doug Smith
Sent: Monday, June 04, 2012 1:14 PM
Subject: Almost,almost, but not quite! 38:32.86N 31:19.67W

Hi All,
Sorry, missing for a few days, because of the bumps, but we are getting excited with position 38:32.86N 31:19.67W on Sunday 27th May; that gives us just 127 miles to go and we are approaching Horta at 6.2 knots over the ground!
The strong winds we were experiencing in the last update have faded and we are back to sunshine and an almost flat sea.  Two of our number, Rick and Frank, wanted to go for a swim so that they could say they had been swimming mid-Atlantic, but the rest of us were quite happy to just "hold the towels" - after all, the nearest land was only 5,000 metres away, beneath their feet.  Neither stayed in too long, clearly their thoughts were on the Whales, Dolphins and possible other Leviathans of the deep that we had seen earlier and both expressed the change in temperature from that of the Caribbean in language that should have warmed the water immediately around their positions.  We stopped just long enough for them to complete their dip, then motored on in the sunshine toward where we hoped land would eventually appear.
During the day we see "No Ships" which amazes us all as we know that the Arc Europe fleet of about 200 boats are all heading for Horta and we know that in this vast Ocean we must all be focusing toward one point, but at night things change and yachts, like buses, appear in the blackness, with hazy lights that eventually firm into navigation green and reds and we hope that when daylight comes there will at last be somebody new we can talk to.  However, when dawn does break, they all vanish - except for one, who trailed about a mile behind us, until I decided we had to reef again and turned to windward to pull the canvas in.  As we debated, in strong terms, if the boat was actually being held into the wind by the helmsman with the headsail blocks lashed Rick and myself with the force of "the cat", the boat behind, carrying no main, simply rolled another couple of turns into her diminishing foresail and sailed on by with no change of course or loss of speed. Oh, the joys of a modern rig!  As she vanished over the horizon ahead of us, we no longer felt the need to chat.
With the exception of the odd blow, I am prepared to motor more now as I see the end in sight but that too comes with its problems, last night the engine stopped during the middle watch - of course, my off-watch, and a filter change was required with luckily no hitches and after half an hour of rolling silence,we were once again on our way. 
Excitement is building as the miles fall away each watch, everybody is interested in the chart, and I sense we all are craving for dry land, a shower and other people to talk to.  My thoughts are turning to the rest of the trip - have we enough time left to carry on with four of us declaring work committments, and if we do, we need a rest before setting out again or are we strong enough to carry on without that short break - this is the next command decision!

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