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Date: 02 Jun 2008 02:44:24
Title: The adventure begins for real

49:23.548N 5:33.928W

Having registered with the Rally Portugal office on Thursday and passed our safety check with only a couple of whistles short we have spent the last couple of days making last minute checks of our own to be ready for the trip to Spain, as well as meeting some of our fellow rally participants.

A very pleasant evening at the Royal Plymouth Corinthians Yacht Club on Friday was followed by another at the Marina barbecue on Saturday, when the rain held off just long enough to enjoy our burgers and sausages al fresco.

James and Tom drove down on Saturday and stayed over to see us off on Sunday morning from the Yacht club balcony. Hopefully they remembered to take some photos!

We slipped our lines at 9.30 and made our way to the rally start line in the Sound. Engines were switched off at the 10-minute signal and a distinct lack of wind meant that the fleet drifted lazily towards each other instead of the start line. Rally Control lifted the no engine rule to avoid any problems and at the 10.30 start signal the fleet was off.

The lack of wind that marked the start has stayed with us, apart from a few hours when it hovered between 5 and 10 knots, making progress slow under sail. When it died away to virtually nothing we gave in and started the engine. We've been donking for the last 12 hours or so (it's 0139 now on Monday 2nd). It's my (Chris) standby watch, Bob's on deck on watch and Steve's asleep in his bunk. Well come on, where else would you expect to find a skipper?!

Going to get my head down now whilst I'm not needed as I'm on the 3-6 watch tonight. More soon, when I hope we'll have been able to get the sails out...

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