Snow Leopard
Sat 3 Jan 2009 15:24

Miscellaneous mid-Atlantic ramblings


Two ancient mariners

The scene: Crossing the Atlantic Ocean with the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) Nov/Dec 2008


The cast:

‘Papillon’ A 60ft luxury catamaran – A Fontain-Pagot ‘Eleuthera’ class – aka ‘The Plastic Fantastic’


Her crew:

·        Lawrence – skipper of Papillon

·        Lexie – his wife

·        John – friend of Lawrence

·        Jean – John’s wife

·        Chris – Lexie’s son

·        Mary – Chris’s wife


‘Snow Leopard’ A fast (but not so luxurious) 46ft cruising cat – A Freydis 46 class – aka ‘Razor Blades’


Her crew:

  • James – skipper of Snow Leopard
  • Lucy – James’ partner and owner of Snow Leopard
  • Bill – friend of the above; manages a chandlery
  • Martin – another friend; a meteorologist
  • Keith – another friend; car salesman (!)


The following is a daily e-mail conversation between the two boats as they crossed the Atlantic. A small wager and a lot of bragging had taken place prior to departure in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.


The ARC is a race/rally for about 225 boats that departs from Gran Canaria to St. Lucia. With normal weather these two boats would expect to cross in about 14 days.


Shortly after the start Snow Leopard overtook Papillon. The first e-mail below is 4 days into the race (previously we had communicated by radio)



From: "papillon"

To: "Snow Leopard"

Sent: Thursday, November 27, 2008 10:48 AM

Subject: Look over your shoulder

Hey U guys
We see a trail of tea bags so U must be just up ahead.  Decided to plot you last night hmmm change our strategy. Seems like my first route behind the Cape Verde Islands would have been good.  Good news our boat is getting lighter as we toss over the wine bottles and beer cans. Alos we jammed wooden blocks under propds that have been whirring around ata fierce RPM robbing us of about twoknots...yes thats why you got by...
Oh have to go another Dorado on the line..its sushi for lunch.
L and crew



From: Snow Leopard

To: papillon

Sent: Thursday, November 27, 2008 1:08 PM

Subject: Re: Look over your shoulder


Hi Butterflies,

We went south to get warm and glad we did. Now finally heading directly for St Lucia, having covered 240m miles in tthe last 24 hours! Reason for the speed is that Keith is now drinking us out of tea and a marine monster ate our fishing line, so need to get there soonest. Also crew getting carried away with spinnaker trimming. I think we have given them too much red meat (oh, sorry I've just remembered that half of you are veggies - that's why you need electric winches). 


Sorry to see you going so slowly. When fixing your props did you find the ropes on the shafts?


Weather loks pretty messy for all of us so looking forward to lazing in a Caribbean anchorage with a large rum and tonic. 

See you guys there

The Snow Leopard team

From: "papillon"

To: "James & Lucy Stewart"

Sent: Thursday, November 27, 2008 9:07 PM

Subject: Tea Bags


Hello Pussies
Congratsd 240 Nm in 24 hours, so how come you are only 75 Nm ahead of us...good to hear you made up time after drifting the last 24 ...amazing when one gets the wind first. Your last 24 hours was dismal according to ARC stats ...our condolences.  Yes good idea head West ASAP........ thats the track to St Lucia. So how are the tea bags and Ginger snaps holding out??  Did I just see an instant noodle dinner package go drifting by?  OK have to go...selection of cheeses and Ports are being served on the back 40!
Tot tah  for now.


From: Snow Leopard

To: papillon

Sent: Friday, November 28, 2008 11:01 AM

Subject: Re: Tea Bags


Ginger NUTS, not snaps! How many times do we have to explain it to you guys.

What's it like sailing so far north? I guess you miss home in Canada? I see you are now heading for the middle of a depression. Oh, these warm trade winds suck, but at least they blow you in the right direction without any pain.

Lucy has just admitted to eating a pot noodle in the middle of the night a couple of days ago, but it could not have been that you saw, as it would have bio-degraded by the time it got back to you.

Keep trying

Leopard crew ( we've dropped the 'snow' prefix in defference to your current climactic position)

From: "papillon"

To: "James & Lucy Stewart"

Sent: Friday, November 28, 2008 9:22 PM

Subject: Ginger Nuts


I was asked to explain to Fountaine Pajot why were lagging behind the razor blades....all I could admit to was too much wine and beer on board together with racks of lamb and beef. Also stopping Papillon to reel in the fish.
So they have asked us to get moving....I said no worries razor blades will be waiting for us around 43 West.
Talk soon.




From: Snow Leopard

To: papillon

Sent: Saturday, November 29, 2008 9:53 AM

Subject: Re: Ginger Nuts



Tell me when do caterpillars turn into butterflies?

Did Fontaine Pagot suggest removing the conservatory?

Razor Blades have been conserving fuel for moments such as 43W, also engineering genius Keith has rigged up the two ships bikes to the engine alternators so batteries can now be charged by Martin and Bill trying to outdo each other in the testosterone stakes. Have you tried that with Chris and John. They must have some uses whilst sitting in the middle if the ocean. Or are they discussing tactics?  If so I suggest change in afterguard to Mary and Lexie for better results.

We had a flying fish land on top of bimini yesterday. I don't suppose you are far enough south yet to see them.

Are you still with other boats?. It's now a bit lonely out here having seen nothing for the last couple of days.

We look forward every morning to you little notes - keep them coming


The Sea Lions



From: "papillon"

To: "James & Lucy Stewart"

Sent: Saturday, November 29, 2008 9:05 PM

Subject: 145 Nm Day traveled Tsk Tsk


So have you taken to the cruising life??  The boys perhaps are a little undernurished with tea and ginger snaps?? Nuts sorry!

Check out this!!

Papillon Menu de Jour at 1900 UTC

Happy Hour  beer ane wine and nibblies

Special Rums

Mosse Bouche..... Chilled Grapes Stuffed with Tuna Mousse  (caught yesterday!)
Avacoado and Tomatoer Salad with Lemon Herb Dressing
Chicken Casserole OR Fish of the Day (Fresh Caught)  C/W white and red wine)
Chocolate  to finish
Special Coffee

Strong tea was brewed later to remove carbon  build up off Barbe que

Yetti Fraternity


From: Snow Leopard

To: papillon

Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2008 11:09 AM

Subject: Re: 145 Nm Day traveled Tsk Tsk


Hi Big Feet,


Reason for lack of miles was the delay to put down pots for fresh lobster! OK now - restocked.  Had to cook them inside as going too fast for barbeque. Another sea monster ate another of our lures.

Now speeding up again. I did however note that although you did a few more miles than us we actually increased our lead over you. Tactics is everything.

I see you have finally decided to join the migration south. It wouldn't be to do with the low pressure area in your way?

Crew (Lucy excepted) more interested in rum punch served by pretty St. Lucian girls, so your menu is no temptation (anyway I'm not showing it to them). Is the whisky 15 year old Bush Mills?

When you catch up with us at 43W will you require some more fuel, as we have plenty left?

When we get to St. Lucia we'll explain the different meaning of fannies and pussies to you in English as opposed to American! Oh, you're Canadian, so I am now really confused as to which meaning you were implying!.


The Snarks


From: "papillon"

To: "James & Lucy Stewart"

Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2008 8:57 PM

Subject: On Track


Well Razor Blades
Seems we are right on your stern. Just passed over your last reported position. You must be slowing down soon as you will run out of fuel....yes James...the iron sail will only work for so long...so with that in mind we'll just sail along and wait till we see this forlorne group up front praying for the wind Gods.
Tonights Menu

Greek Salad
Catch of the day... Dorado Grilled
Chicken Caserole with Water Chestnuts
Wine selection...Whites or Reds from the Grreek Cellars (Bilge)
Cheese and Chocolatess and Port to Finsh

Photo sessions on foredeck...during sunset.

Yes guys I can just see you...sailing gloves, harneses, HH wet gear, sleep deprived, constipated, sunburned, tea tongue  blisters and gingere Nutted out. Don't forget...Scurvey.

We just put our 6th flat of beer (24 tins)  in the cooler. 18   flats to go so we are concerned.

Oh yes....15 Year Old Bushmills    hmmmm how about 20 year olde GLENMORANGIE...a little more befitting a Fountaine Pajot Eleuthera. Well must to PM shower...been a long time since AM shower...6 hours...mmmm hot water...then a Scotch on foredeck...with ICE...thats that clear cold stuff, recall Las Palmas in a bar???.

Ta Taah for now....is that hows its spelled???

Yetti Fraternity    (figured out that one yet?)



From: "Snow Leopard"

To: "papillon"

Sent: Monday, December 01, 2008 12:02 PM

Subject: Re: On our Track


Ø      Hi Yetis (note spelling) We suspect it's got something to do with the lair
> of the Snow Leopard. Don't you call Yeti " Big Foot" in Canada? How
> appropriate
> Glad to see you are following our route. Imitation is the sincerest form of
> flattery. If you had only told us that you were following we would have left
> one of our lobster pots for you.
> Glad to know that you are showering regularly. Down south the weather is so
> warm we don't need or want hot water.
> Martin has organised a daily exercise routine so we are all getting super
> fit and healthy - just the opposite of the apparently slovenly,
> over-indulgent life-style on Papillon. But I suppose that is also an apt
> comparison between a lithe Freydis and a Fontain -Pagot Elusivwhatever.
> Daily menus sound great - Can't wait to be invited for dinner. If you e-mail
> through the ingredients we will buy them in Castries and have them ready for
> your arrival.
> Keep struggling on
> The Bojums (literary connection)


From: "papillon"

To: "James & Lucy Stewart"

Sent: Monday, December 01, 2008 9:18 PM

Subject: Slow day?


Hey Razor Blades
Hmm slow day...you must be concerned about burning diesel...... a  lousy 159 Nm???  this is where the real sailing is about to take place.  Must admit we finally found the combination...a 12M Dame Pattie reaching spin......7.5 knots in 11knots true wind......carrying all this booze and good food...suggest you re visit criteria of ultimate multi hull design. Limited out on fish today...froze some for your St Lucia experience!!
Good on you to "twig"onto Yetii ...we will debate spelling of Yetis! For the record the Big Foot is called a "Sasquatch"  in British Columbia. Canada ....slang for razor blade crusher!!!
Today was MOB drill so for 2 hours we excercised in the ocean!!...no need for the on board stuff.
Seriously at 21:12, Dec 1st... do you have any wind??? (16 31 N  and 32 27 W)  Nothing here.  Midnite swimming???

The Monarchs



From: "Snow Leopard"

To: "papillon"

Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2008 12:23 PM

Subject: Re: Slow Day


Ø      Hi Monachs (still struggling with that one)
> Our reply delayed by the catching of our first fish (only time we have been
> travelling slow enough to do so!). As sea monsters have already devoured
> three lures and two lines we have reverted to string with a trace on the
> end. I did not think it would work, but my thoughts were PREMATURE as it
> still attracted a nice yahoo. It made haulung in interesting but as long as
> we kept OVER THE LINE things were ok. Much excitement on board as there are
> no fishermen amongst us (we don't have too many backwoodsmen in London).
> Any good recipes?. Lucy would like some advice. She has made an EARLY START
> on preparation
> Have to admit to reverting to one of our little 40hp engines throughout the
> night, but sailing again this morning in very light breezes ( 8.5 in 11
> true). Still at least for the first time this trip we are actually pointing
> the boat in the right direction and ON COURSE SIDE (OCS) for a change!
> Life on board is very relaxed.  Unfortunately no swimming (but suggestion to
> practice waterskiing) as Razor Blades will JUMP THE GUN and slice off at
> speed at the meerest hint of wind. We have been looking at the boats that
> surround you. I'm surpised you want to associate with the likes of Bavarias and Halberg
> Rasseys. Up here we are chatting with the racing boys. We will introduce you
> when you arrive - they might have some tips on ensuring you don't START
> We are looking forward to fresh fish after a week of freeze-dried rations.
> Keep plugging on
> Regards
> Wilkinson and Gillette.


From: "papillon"

To: "James & Lucy Stewart"

Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2008 3:40 PM

Subject: Slower day.


Yes we are amid some tankers, we watch them motor by at night. Can't do much with 2.5 knots of breeze, although we have a 3/4 oz up and making 1 1/2 knots at present. Think we should have been 100Nm further South.
Fish tip...just gut him well and clean, leave head and tail on iff small or cut off to fit in oven. Stuff cavitiy with lemons and oninons and put in oven...back bone will peel out when cooked...keeps flesh moist...but you should know all this James.
Overcast, some rain, no wind. OK back to matinee movie.....Master and Commander, ...tracking the fast French Boat type of viewing....great ending tho.....
Ta ta for now
The Monarchs...still trying to figure Bojums...perhaps Jam Butties...ie. your daily diet???


From: "papillon"

To: "James & Lucy Stewart"

Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2008 8:15 PM

Subject: Fish Recipe #1


Dear Razor Burn,

We are so happy to hear that you have caught your first fish and because you are  special we are going to share our very special royal recipe.

Recipe as follows:

1.   Fiirst remove the eyeballs from sockets and preserve in a mixture of balsamic vinegar with a hint of rosemary. Next, marinate full fish inclusive of head and tail.  When marinating the fish,  make sure to use some twine or fishing lure if you still have any left, and tie the head and tail together so that the flavors will infuse throughout the whole body.  Marinate for 2-4 hours depending on size of fish.  In your case 2, we know it will be small.

2.  Wrap in seaweed to  preserve moistrue but if seaweed is not available a pair of small men's briefs (which we are sure you have aboard) tend to do the job just as well and may even add a bit more flavor.  Hang from any available halyard until ready to cook.

3.  During this time, prepare the eyes by massaging the irises with garlic and butter.  Everything tastes good with garlic and butter!

4.  Remove infused fish from halyard.  Make a small incision in the belly of the fish and using a straw suck out the tripe of the fish.  Reserve tripe in small bowl.

 5.  Roll whole fish in peanut butter and then press into crushed ginger snaps (make that ginger knutts).

 6.  Add the tripe to the marinating eyeballs and simmer over low heat until reduced to a silvery  glaze.

 7.  Bake fish in oven at 350F for 59minutes and 13 seconds (this is critical!).  Remove at once!

 8.  Remove the briefs and keep for stock for tomorrow's soup.

 9.  Place fish on platter and garnish with freeze dried vegetables (in our case it is fresh) and pour glaze over dish.

 10.  Serve with chilled Martiville Rueda Verdejo wine.


The First Ladies of the Monarchs