ARC 2015 - Day 13 -Dec 3rd - Time and Space

Steve and Lynda Cooke
Sat 5 Dec 2015 09:00

17:47 N 41:32W

Day 14 | Dec 5

Time and space

Early on in this journey we decide to make Nina time the same as Universal Time so its easy to read weather and other files and relate them to our progress. One of the consequences of this is that we are gradually losing our synchronisation with the rising and setting of the sun each day. At first this is imperceptible but after two weeks at sea we are feeling a real hit each day particularly on the watch pattern Mark has christened something unmentionable on a family blog. This is the one where the watch goes 8pm to midnight and 4 am to 8 am. With the time slippage we no longer see dawn on the second watch which seems to make it all the harder. We decide to alter the time continuum but how.

After due consideration we decide to run two three hour dog watches rather than the usual two hours. After one hour of each we set the clocks back by an hour so after both have run through we enter our normal four on four off watch at 4 pm ships time. Sunset then falls earlier and the following sunrise is at 6.30 am giving a morale boost after a long night. The observant amongst you will appreciate that we effectively created a 26 hour day and our own version of jet lag. At dawn the following day the consensus is that it was worth it.

With something like a week to go we will probably do a couple more time shifts of an hour each so we arrive in St Lucia close to local time.

During the course of the long night watch Mark raises an interesting question with fellow watch keepers Steve and Peter. When you are feeling tired which bits of your mind and body start switching off first? All agree that increasing amounts of effort are required just to keep eyes open in the dark. In Marks case the grumpy factor increases hour by hour as sense of humour gradually wanes. For Steve and Peter the overwhelming symptom is a general tiredness which doesn’t go away as quickly as usual when rest comes at the end of the watch. As the first beneficiaries of the time change there is a real morale boost from watch the dawn and then handing over a beautiful new day to the other watch.

About ten in the evening we are contacted by Nomad IV on the VHF. Greeting us first in French then in English we discover that they are on a transatlantic race cruising at 18 knots passing 6 miles to the north of Nina. With a crew of 17 this 98 foot super yacht creates a little boat envy amongst some of the crew. Then we recall their living conditions are likely to be basic and that they seek out and use winds which we reef for. We are grateful for the contact and for the heads up of possible squalls when the moon rises at 3 am.

Frank has become our senior chef serving up a series of delicious meals from the galley. Last nights spag boll was almost balletic as he balanced saucepans, serving dishes and boiling spaghetti against a rolling sea. It's a real trick keeping everything where it should be , not dropping anything on the floor and avoiding utensils making a break for freedom. The rest of the crew are duly grateful. Washing up is also no mean feat as Peter discovers after supper.

Chris decides to do some hand-washing which is pretty straightforward. However he then comes on deck with a bucket of clothes, some clothes pegs and the challenge of hanging them on the line in the rear canopy. Easy you might think but with only two hands not so. First attach safety strap after crawling along the deck from the cockpit. Then attempt to stand up with shorts in one hand, one hand held to steady and a third to place the peg. Half an hour later objective achieved.

We are expecting the sea to calm down during the day so we are left coping with the swell alone rather than this three dimensional up, down ,side to side which catches everyone out fro time to time. Best bet is to find a nice shady seat and watch the world go by in the interim.