Day 3 - passed halfway

Digiboat's "Product Testing"
Simon Blundell
Fri 21 Oct 2011 15:12
16°02.693N 110°48.075E
21/10 2200LT
Great sailing all day, fresh breeze 14-18kn from the NNE with some swing to NE at times had us barralling along at 10-12kn, although with a head current our progress over ground was not quite that good. 2 mains, the genny and our favourite sail the "monkey" which is a cross between a mizzen kite, staysail and blooper - always good for an extra 1.5kn, but only a narrow wind band that it works in.
At current speed should finish Sat night, but light winds ahead likely to delay that...
Fingers still somewhat useless (as a left over from my Captain Jack Sparrow up the mast impression yesterday) but started on the repairs to the kite as the forecast ahead looks like the last day could be light winds. Steering's ok using the palms, but no rope handling possible for a few more days I suspect. Typing possible but slow, so Ian will fill in the rest of our day's activities...
0910, just after completing the morning radio duties - we're the fleet's radio control boat, so we're required to run 2 position skeds and 2 weather skeds daily, at 0800 and 1800. I'm the designated radio operator, so I'm trying to emulate the calm, reassuring deep brown voice of the old BBC weather readers ("......Cromarty and Fastnet, wind force 10, visibility nil....." etc, but making it sound non-serious).
Not a lot to complain about with our weather except that we'd like a little more than we've had. Currently  15-20 knots NE, slight seas and 1m swells, carrying jib, main, staysail and mizzen downhill, making 10 knots. Weather cloudy, but tropically warm, so we're all in various stages of resort wear. V. colourful.
We've just passed the halfway mark - 352 miles covered, 314 to run, looking to arrive Nha Trang on Saturday if the weather stays as is. Saw our first gaggle of gannets this morning, playing greedy and elaborate games with the fish that each of them catches, the empty-beaked divebombing those in possession to force a drop which is then neatly stolen in midair. Life on El Oro is now quite regulated by the needs of the ship. Watches are well established, duties assigned. Breakfasts are mostly individual, but we share lunches, cocktails and dinners. Catering standards are high, and portion sizes generous, so nil complaints from the crew so far. The espresso machine is working well and often, and the biscotti are going down a treat. One shudders to think of the tank water and energy bars that are being forced onto the slaves on the flat-out racing boats ahead of us.
We're just about to gybe the rig to take us due south past the westernmost extent of the Paracel Islands. Simon has unpacked the sailmaker's sewing machine to repair yesterday's spinnaker explosion, so life at sea goes ahead.  More later.
Ian R