Saturday 3rd December

Sat 3 Dec 2005 13:27
Title: Message
In position 18.24N 48.07W
"Like a painted ship upon a painted ocean"
Dawn saw a beautiful sunrise, blue skies with "beaucoup du soleil" and not a cloud in the sky. The trouble was with that came a big hole in the wind - we were going nowhere fast.
So yet again it was on with the engine.
And that was the story for the rest of the day occasionally we'd get a slight breeze, pull out the sails and ghost along at 4 knots. But before too long the wind would drop and we'd have to fire up a gain.
Andy baked bread, Simon rustled up spaghetti ala tomato for lunch and the rest of the team took time to chill out, top up tans and dry more damp clothes.
During the afternoon Dave announced that he'd like to go up the mast while we were at sail. So laden with cameras up Dave went. We hoped he might see land from up there but with 800 miles to go maybe we were being a bit too ambitious.
After 10 minutes of clanging about Dave came down (a little shaky) with some superb photographs and video footage. All the laptops onboard now have beautiful B57 screen savers.
Later on Tom and Dave broke out the guitars while the crew had their usual sundowner - a bottle of Rioja.
Simon cooked up pork roast in marmalade with roast potatoes, sweet corn and peas. Another excellent meal. In fact it was so good Dave cleaned his plate for the first time on trip (possibly for the first time in his life).
We had a video premier of the "rushes" from the first part of the trip and a slide show of the photographs - the start seemed so long ago.
The world cruising club positions came in we'd overhauled La Royere, and lost another 20 miles to Northern winds who is a lot further South than us and therefore must have stronger winds. Unfortunately Charliz hadn't reported a position yesterday so we didn't know where we stood against them.
Anyway it's all looks a bit academic at the moment, with so much motoring going on it's difficult to know where we stand. 
We motored into the night. Maxsea (our forecasting program predicted the trade winds would arrive at 9pm and at precisely 9pm we felt the slightest breeze on our backs. So it was off with the engines and up with the sails.
Over the next 2 hours it was like "Billy Smarts" circus on the foredeck. We tried mainsail and genoa, poled-out genoa alone, genoa and cruising chute twin poled in a twizzle-rig fashion, cruising chute and main (none of which created much more 3 knots of speed). We eventually settled on cruising chute alone, which still gave us only 3 knots but didn't slap and bang around like the white sails.
We sailed exhausted andfrustrated on into the black.
Finally a message for Heather Cheetham (wife of Ron and Mother of Andy), terribly sorry to hear about your broken arm, hope the operation well and fingers-crossed to an early recovery.
Nowcew out for today!