Thursday 1st December

Thu 1 Dec 2005 13:11
Title: Message
In position 20.08N 43.43W
Always take the weather with you.
Torrential rain was the order of the day. At sunrise it was absolutely tipping down. Everyone was down below except for the two poor soles who were on duty. It seemed like it would never stop.
The smell of steaming men's bodies combined with the heat and the lack of showers was quite potent.
It was like Manchester sur la mer.
The kind of weather we thought we'd left behind.
Suddenly a cabin door opened and out skipped Tom, stark naked carrying nothing but a bottle of shampoo, he was whistling a little tune. Tom skipped his way on to deck and stood underneath the heavens - this was showering al-fresco style.
To all our amusement, he roared, laughed and sang while he washed.
Lunch was conjured up by Nicko, Spag' Solo (spaghetti with pesto, egg and cheese) apparently learnt from his student days (those of you that know Nicko will understand there couldn't possibly have been any student days).
It is the only dish he can cook and fortunately is delicious.
Unfortunately later in the morning the engine had to be fired up as the wind dropped down to zero. We chugged along under motor for about 3 hours then the breeze came back. This time it was aft of the beam - a chance for the spinnaker to go up.
Once the blue beauty was filled we started flying at 9.5 knots towards our destination.
After about 20 minutes Andy spotted that the guy (rope that pulls the pole end of the spinnaker in) was bending a stanchion, we decided on a plan to swap over to an inside guy by using a climbing ascender attached to the old guy, however the grip on the ascender proved too powerful, stripping the guy of it's outer rope skin.
Ouch.... v.expensive.
Charlie, Dave and Nicko dashed to the front to haul in the spinnaker. The wind had gone forward of the beam now so it was Genoa (white sail) time anyway.
We flew along at 9 knots for the rest of the day and into the black of night.
Just before dinner we received our positions  from World Cruising - 4th in class and 11th overall (that's over the water not on handicap). The good news was that we caught up 20 miles on Charliz and La Royere in the 24 hour run. Considering that when we made the decision to go for the North route they we're already 135 miles ahead we were pleased. Both boats neck and neck were just 54 miles ahead and we could feel with at least 6/7 days to go we had a chance!
Simon rustled up  "Chilli con-carnie ala mama"( we had a email a few days ago from Simon's brother ensuring us that there was no way Simon had learnt to cook from his mother and that he had a secret stash of Dolmio sauces under his bunk).
It was all washed washed down by another fantastic bottle of Rioja.
As we settled down to our watches the wind was blowing 20 knots, we were on a broad reach at a speed of 9 knots and we were going for it!
Finally we've had loads of brilliant emails, we love getting them, they're the highlight of our day and distract us from each other. Keep them coming, but please don't be upset if we don't respond, the sat phone costs us a fortune and therefore we try to keep the outgoing mails to a minimum.
Nowcrew out.