Wednesday 30th November

Wed 30 Nov 2005 15:37
Title: Message
In position 21.09N  40.58W
Day 9. We awoke to a beautiful sunshiny morning, the wind had been reasonable steady 15 knots over night and we'd kept up good boat speed. Ian won the "most miles travelled on watch" competition with a total of 15 miles covered, however Ron swore blind he was robbed of victory by the reading on the GPS, which changed gave Ian 1 mile covered after 30 seconds of watch.
Just after light we decided time was well overdue to put our watches back - we'd sailed through 2 time zones without changing and now it wasn't getting light until well past 9am.
We continued with the washing and household chores throughout the morning.
At about 11am the fishing line started to spin out - the speed with at which it was going indicated that we'd got a big'un. After about half an hour of fighting we finally got the fish (another Dorada) to the edge of the deck - this was to be our biggest yet.
Nicko swiped at it with the bail hook but as we hauled it to the deck our prey made one last bid to escape. It leaped from the water like a salmon and the impact was too much for our 50lb line to take - snap it was gone. Our dorada was not going to be today's lunch.
The rest of the day was spent watching the distance to go clock wind it's way down to the magical 1350 mile halfway mark.
A few of us watched Whiskey Galore on the DVD while Ron made beautiful lush green bow ties out of a Johnny Walker Green Label box for Simon, Tom and himself.
During the last couple of hours running up to "H" hour Tom and Dave performed another matinee concert as we all sung along.
Then finally just before 5pm (local) we hit the spot. Everyone rushed below and dressed for the occasion, bow ties, wigs and head garlands. The beers were cracked open and we enjoyed an hour of jokes and storytelling.
Simon nipped below at about 7pm and rustled up what Dave described as his perfect meal: Argentinean beef fillet steak seared on the outside, pink in the middle with roast potatoes, garden peas, fresh baby carrots and a Bails peppercorn sauce.
All washed down with a Gran Reserva Rioja - mmm we were truly in culinary heaven
To cap that we we're travelling at 9.5 knots on a beam reach and still eating in a civilised fashion at the cockpit table.
Dave described it as one on the best meals he'd ever had anywhere even better than Cafe Rouge's steak frites, which we all know is Dave's "meal of choice".
To cap that Andy nipped below and produced a huge bar of Galaxy chocolate that Babs had wrapped up as a present to be opened at the finish line. The chocolate was broken into chunks and seemed to vanish before our eyes. This was the only sweet we'd had all trip - luxury!
As the night closed in we all agreed this trip had been one of the best adventures of our life's and hoped the second half was as enjoyable (but maybe not as eventful) as the first.
As some people checked in we found out that tropical storm Delta had hit the Canary Islands and had caused considerable damage...we were lucky that day.
In the overnight position email from World Cruising we found that we were still 4th in class. 72 miles behind La Royere, 61 miles behind Charliz and 7 miles behind Northwind. We took a decision to head South of the rhumb line to avoid a hole, which seemed to be appearing ahead and hopefully catch the tradewinds earlier than the 3 other contenders and perhaps steal the edge over them. Otherwise we fear it may end up in a procession to the finish.
The positions on the ARC website are probably a little confusing for our readers. There are two factors that may influence our end position
1. Handicap, each boat is given a rating to ensure that everyone has a fair chance and that the race is decided on the crew and boat's performance rather than the length of boat (longer boats are faster than small ones).
2. Engine hours, in the cruising class we are allowed to use our engine if we feel it necessary. We are penalised for doing so however when you're going no where it's worth it. Unfortunately engine hours are not computed until the individual boats hand them in at the finish. Therefore until all the boats in our class have finished we won't no the true results.
We think that the boats up on the more Northerly route will have used a similar amount of hours to us and that boats that chose the Southerly Cape Verde route will have used a lot more. At the moment we've used 36 hours of engine (the average for the trip is 80 hours), however we've just sailed into a hole and have the engine on as we speak.
Nowcrew out.