Sundowners, a tranquil night sail and showers!

25:31.8N 18:52.9W
 
Monday 13th December 2010
 
Distance run in 24 hours: 102
Total distance run:  231
Distance left: 620
 
As expected the wind has kept us guessing, but we have been able to sail, albeit mostly at a somewhat more leisurely pace than we might choose.  It has mostly been abaft the beam and anything from 4 to 15 knots, with the occasional gusts of 16-17.  We had a few hours of good wind when we maintained speeds of around 5.5 to 6 knots over the ground, but much of the night was spent gently sailing along under the stars at around 3 knots.  This morning we put the engine on at 0830 when the wind died altogether and it's still on now (midday), though there is an occasional promising zephyr.  With at least 620 miles left to go to Mindelo, we can't afford to motor for too long.
 
The last 24 hours have been very pleasant, with the sun shining and the sea fairly calm, with just a gentle swell.  At around 1800 yesterday conditions were calm enough to settle back with sundowners of rum and coke (in preparation for the Caribbean!) and enjoy a beautiful sunset.  Steve was particularly pleased with his newly designed cupholder which holds the glasses perfectly ( so no need for a third person to hold them upright Gavin & Sukey!) and thanks to Pete & Mary for one of our favourite gadgets, the lemon saver, which means we never have to go without the necessary slice of lemon!
 
            
  Rum & cokes safely perched in cup holder...                                                ...and the excellent lemon saver!
 
We are settling into a pattern of night watches and have both slept well (off-watch, not on!)  The port settee makes an excellent sea berth and though we haven't needed it yet, the lee cloth makes it a very cosy and secure place to sleep when conditions are lively.   Thanks Maisie for the nice pictures to look at as we drift off to sleep. 
 
               
A cosy and comfortable sea berth...                                                            ....and Maisie-Jane's pictures.
 
On deck, our new jackstay lifelines impressed us by glowing brightly in the dark so that we'll have no trouble finding them to clip our safety harnesses onto if we need to venture out on deck at night.
 
Visible safety lines on deck
 
This morning dawned sunny and warm, and with calm conditions we decided it was time for showers on deck.  It is very liberating standing starkers on the aft deck taking a shower, not to mention somewhat welcome after a couple of days without!
 
Steve enjoys a scrub down on deck (no photos of the mate - cameras are banned when Chris takes a shower, you'll all be very pleased to hear!!)
 
Time to get back on deck and see about trying some sailing - it's only notching up 6-7 knots but we'll give it a go.