Dearest, Darling readers, what can we say...Shore support has been inundated
I find over the weekend with friends and loved ones wanting the blog site,
apparently word has gotten round about it and we are hot!!
I state on behalf of myself and my gallant crew that we will give you
everything in our hearts, our hopes and fears, all will be yours.
So I need to say, hello! to all at West Mersea who are now counted among,
"The Brethren". Including Mark Dixon and his terrier Digby and the spirit of
a much missed hamster.
So, meanwhile back at the ranch...Last night was steady 13-22 knts, we flew
the Genniker all night. The night passed without incident and at dawn,
veiwing the sky to be benign, we hoisted Maximus. She flies as I write above
the good ship even now.
I am sure that if one is a good racing man then some of the benefits of the
parasailor may be un-needed, but as far as I am concerned buying both was a
big plus to this trip. Our weatherman says that today, tonight and tomorrow
will be like today. His view is that the light winds are a dissapointment
but will pass...we think they are great, we are barrelling along at 8knts
and want them to last as long as poss!.
He says that thereafter we will get proper trade winds again, 20-30knts. In
many ways that is a shame because it will require concentration and smaller
sails and mean much more motion, all of which will be an unwanted item in
the crew and myself.
But he also says that once we reach our next waypoint, (about 400miles away)
our next waypoint should be St Lucia and we may get full on trades all the
That sounds great, but if it is from dead behind, then to use the genniker
or genoa will be hard because we will have to Zig-Zag down the wind. The
Parasailors allow us to run dead before the wind which gives straight line
speed and least motion, and of course least apparent wind. If the seas are
rough then I am not sure about flying even Picasso. But we shall see, I do
have a third spinnaker, a small red 2.2oz stormlite cloth, but it is a
standard spinny although it was made specifically for this boat and crew and
for this trip. It is 50sqm so quite small...we will see.
I have had trouble sleeping since the start of this crossing. The 4 on, 4
off is disruptive enough, but add to that my normal tense and imaginative
personality, add a little, "3 hours office a day", stir it all up and sleep
is hard to find. I sleep in the starb'd aft cabin, not only does this have
an engine under but it has the autohelm drive in it. The engine does not
normally run when I am asleep because we use the other engine to charge and
Visa Versa if the port cabin is occupied, but the autohelm is on most of the
time. I like noise , it helps me sleep. but the autohelm is not rhythmic. it
is on and off every second or so but in sharp whizzy spikes of noise that
are different lengths every time. I just cannot sleep. This has never been
a problem before but has become one lately. Further it has become stuffy as
we sail West and although I have my hatch open it still feels airless. I
haven't actually had a dream since we left. I think that I have just drifted
in and out of sleep uneasily, never feeling refreshed when I need to get up
However....I have taken to sleeping in the cockpit. Initially it was not
overly comfortable, but I have designed a little nest thing on the starb'd
side behind "Skippers seat". I start with a coil of 10mm rope that creates a
base "doughnut" then put a midlayer in the nest and lay my poor tired head
on that. It is warm enough that you don't go slowly numb like you do in UK
waters. I have a Musto Babygrow for want of a better description, (in
graphite, it matches my oilskins and is very much the new black for this
This is enough for legs, but I place my oilskin jacket, ( graphite with
birch side panels, Henri-Lloyd Offshore range ). over my body with one
sleeve over my face, ( a bit like a cuddle from Colette ) I wear a neck tube
as a hat to give that final touch of insulation and shock absorption..and
Bingo!! I can sleep.
I am sure some of the issue is that in the cockpit I can see what s
happening immediately if the gusts come. Because of this I feel more in
control, therefore, more relaxed. I can hear what is going on, so again I
feel more connected with the boat, therefore I feel more relaxed. Lastly, It
is not stuffy and the wind kind of kisses your face, a bit like Colette. And
therefore I relax.
Bizaar I know, it is working for me. It is working to the point where last
night I had a dream for the first time. I take this as meaning that I am at
last getting into normal sleep mode. Either way I have felt better the last
two nights under this system than a more normal arrangement. Rain will stop
play but it rains seldom so far and there is always the saloon.
It may all be a mind game, but isn't everything??
As John Lennon once said to me, " Tim...If it gets you through the night...
It's alright, yeh..it's
"Lembo" I said, ( I always called him Lembo ) "I'll give it a chance"
Great guy, me old mate Lembo, miss him a lot.
The food thing is all in place now, there was an odd apple as I may have
mentioned. Trevor was like a lost puppy about this, so we all decided he
should have it, Sneaky Jeffery captured the moment, it is posted with this
blog, not quite as stunning a moment as Anthony leaping off the boat...but a
moment in time none the less.
Mike fell foul of his two most persistent habits today. Firstly his habit of
making wonderfully strong and aromatic solo cafetierres of piping hot
coffee. The second is his habit of wearing very little.....nothing infact
except Factor 25. Well....on the foredeck this afternoon, both habits
met....in the "Middle". He was sitting on the foredeck, turned a page of his
book, caught the coffee pot un-intentionally and...Yes My Son!! Back of the
Net!! He leapt around a bit, did a little jig for us all and that was that.
"No harm done!" as we say back in Mersea.
So alls well that ends well.
I will go now, I may chat again later this evening, there are some ominous
clouds approaching and I want to be up top for Maximus..you never know.
Maximus is a perfect sail for us, I don't want to damage it.
see you later. Tim xxxx