Hellish excitement, dear reader. We've just heard
an announcement over the radio by the Falmouth Coastguard. This means that we're
finally within a gnat's folicle of Blighty. Though probably not good news for
the yacht Malice, being hailed, it had Alex and I capering about in the cockpit
with big smiles on our faces. We're within 50 miles of Land's End and less than
200 to Poole!
After a spell of donking yesterday, I got fed up of
motoring into a perfectly good breeze and we bore away to about 30 degrees on
the compass to get the sails up and the donk off. We buzzed along quite happily,
plugging into a light chop, until nightfall when the wind began to back and push
us even further off course. The engine went back on until, by 4am and the end of
my watch, we were able to point well into a northerly wind - just as the weather
files had forecast. We've been scudding along at an average of more than five
knots ever since, reeling off 50 miles in nine hours this morning. Progress has
now slowed against the tide but there is a feeling that after what seems like
days of being 'nearly there' somewhere south of Ireland and west of Ushant, we
really are nearly there. Latest estimates suggest we'll arrive in Poole mid
morning on Saturday.
In other news, it's been wall-to-wall dolphins for
the last two days. It feels at times as if we're being carried on their backs
into the Channel. Strange how few of these beasts we saw on the western side of
Due, I suspect, to insufficient kneading and
excessively chill temperatures aboard, yesterday's loaf came out more like a
cake in consistency - thick and flat and strongly flavoured with unexpired
yeast. The cake/bread was fine when piping hot, but holds less allure after a
night of hardening in its tin. All the same, a noble experiment.
And that's really about it! The rain has stopped
and the sun is out but it's oh so cold! We can't really think of anything more
or less than getting home and the event horizon has been shuffling down to match
our ETA. Jobs to do today include checking the signal flags are in the correct
order to dres the boat overall as we come in to Poole. This is important, as an
incorrect alignment could spell out an unintentionally calamatous message:
"Require immediate assistance due to plague onboard, bring supplies of rum and
cheese and notify Lloyds of London immediately..."
We also have to start thinking about things such as
tides and tidal currents, although there's little we can really do about them at
this juncture. Good to know what to expect, though.
So, two more days to go!