Fw: Storyteller, Day2, Lawyer nil, Fish 2

Thu 24 Jan 2008 17:13
13.26N  64.08W
The fleet of 34 boats left St Lucia  in 20 knot winds for the leg to Cristobal, Panama at 12.10 local time. Most of the yachts are doing a full circumnavigation, which will take them 15 months--makes our voyage seem tame by comparison. There was a ten minute delay as the marina entrance was blocked by a grounding. Tony and Mike's time in St Lucia, heaps of fun and interesting to see the people -- many so friendly and others more on the sullen side.
The two days before departure were taken up with briefings for the forthcoming passage-- navigation advice and communication information. Tony was busy updating the fish catching equipment making Storyteller probably the best equipped fishing boat in the fleet. All this was interspersed with steel bands,  more than a touch of the local rum and swims in the 29 degree Caribbean waters. Tony and Mike obligingly accompanied the "ladies" from Southern Princess and Ideal on a trip to the big smoke to stock up on fruit and veg and baskets for storage, as well as small items for trading in the remote Pacific islands, where money has no value as there is nothing to buy. We had a great time stocking up on soaps, hair bands, stationery, and even some cute little jewel studded ladies knickers--Mike's still not sure how he was talked into making the selection.
Our friends on the catamaran "Ideal" lost their steering soon after crossing the start line but were fortunately able to make running repairs. We had a much less eventful start than in the Canaries, thank goodness, and have been heading a little south of west with the wind behind us at 18 - 22 knots. The headsail is poled out and we are making 7.5 to 8.5 knots over the ground.
 Within an hour of cossing the start line,the ardent fishers had two lines over the side. Tony soon landed a barracouda, which we threw back in the expectation of better things.Not long after he hooked into something huge which stripped out 3-400 metres in no time. After struggling  manfully for 20 minutes and getting nowhere he was  mightily relieved when the fish got rid of the lure.
We stood night watches  in perfect conditions under a full moon, with everyone getting a few hours sleep, but the saying "and the dawn comes up like thunder" proved to be all too true when, without any warning, the autopilot  flicked onto standby, and we jibed. Fortunately no damage was done and John was most reassuring saying, "we had to jibe anyway".
We have covered about 150 miles in 20 hours since departure.  Everyone is in excellent spirits and having a very good time. All we need to make things absolutely perfect is to pull in a decent tuna or mahimahi. However Sue has taken a meal out of the freezer, just in case!  Our forecaster, Bruce, in Perth tells us that the weather conditions are likely to be much the same for the next 5 days, with good trade winds.  We intend to report each day, sea state permitting.