Now that we are nearing the end of
our 4 week Atlantic odyssey the skipper has magnanimously invited his crew
to communicate with the outside world and reflect upon the past 24 days.
For my part I will concentrate on crewmates:
The captain - A God-like figure on
board. Prone to empty threats of keel hauling and similar punishment,
but he's done a fine job in commanding us accross this vast body of water.
First Mate - As the only member of
the fairer sex aboard, Alex has put up with three odoursome fellows
magnificently. She has never once complained of the lack of privacy and
has been magnificent gently in maintaining discipline on board, whilst
crucially keeping the captain's evil temper at bay. Her provisioning
skills were quite astounding and I am certain we will have eaten better than any
other ship in the fleet.
Powder Monkey - Graham's good humour
and endless tales of past scrapes and encounters have kept us all smiling,
ensuring any threatening boredom is immediately nipped in the bud. His
spinnaker helming is invigorating in the extreme and his sheer willing to tackle
any task on board make him an excellent companion. His powder monkeying
remains untested though we are still hopeful of a prize between here and
The Barky (Summersong)
- Words could not do justice to how the good lady has looked after us. We
have experienced most of what the Atlantic has to offer, big storms
apart, with Summersong conducting herself with effortless grace.
We love her dearly.
We have had quite a splendid
time of it, a thousand times removed from everyday life. Although the
thought of arrival is hugely exciting, returning to the real world and all
dry land has to offer threatens
to be rather overwhelming.
...and a few words from
It may be a bit early to reflect
upon the trip given that we still have 90
miles to go and, as Will pointed out, you
must never set your mind on fixed plans when sailing (ie we could still be
becalmed and bob about for another week!) Nevertheless, I thought I would sum up
a few surprising facts so far:
little we've eaten. Some may put this down to my draconian galley rules.
It is true that I my have been too strict with the Oreo cookie consumption
(we still have 10 packets left), but the truth is that with this heat no one is
ever hungry! Today we put the fishing line out but it soon became apparent that
no one had any appetite for fish. Even more astounding, I announced a couple of
days ago that it was now ok to have one can of beer per man rather than the
usual half. The crew however got distracted with some spinnaker incident and the
outcome was that we had no beers at all that day – we simply
little fresh water we’ve used. We’ve managed to get by on
litres of water maker water per day,
leaving our tanks untouched. It’s amazing what you can do with just sea water.
The only real problem has been washing clothes (we tried sea water with a fresh
water rinse but the outcome is dubious). I am pleased to let those meeting us in
St Lucia know that we have now started using tank water for this purpose which
should make hugging upon arrival more pleasant!
we’ve been. I used to find 60
mile channel crossings unbearably long
and was expecting to spend hours twiddling my thumbs having read every book on
board. Not so! The days absolutely whiz by as we try to juggle cooking, cleaning
and watches. Some may prefer to assign all domestic chores to just one person
but I believe the routine keeps you sane!
crew’s creativity with the menus. Although we have a detailed menu plan for each
day of the week (which then repeats each week) we have hardly ever eaten the
same thing twice. Even in week 4 - amazing! The only exception is Fray Bentos
pies which we all look forward to on a Sunday.
rested I feel and how little I miss creature comforts. The only tough part has
been being thrown around in the swell as evidenced by innumerable
we care about the racing element of the Arc. I would usually consider myself as
uncompetitive (or avoiding competitive situations) but I have been champing at
the bit since the start line. Very keen to get into racing when we get
Graham (AKA King of the Wogs)
Here we are then on the last day of our adventure - in
fact only 80
miles to go to the finish line. We have travelled together for almost a
month living within 34' x 10' space and have done so with consideration and
order. Sam and Alex did a wonderful job of organizing and thinking
through the trip before leaving and this has paid off time and again. They have
been a pleasure to live and sail with and have made this life all
possible. Thanks so much for including me in this
phase. William is
my nephew it has been a very rare and special opportunity to spend some close up
time and get to know him - a wonderful man. It has been wonderful and a
time I will cherish. Thanks will for putting my name up to Sam and Alex.
Thanks also to my wife for saying yes and have a good
For my own part, I will watch the
approaching finish line with a twinge of regret, as the end of our splendid
isolation. It has been a hugely enjoyable trip with excellent companions. Rarely
a cross word has been spoken (and even then, only by me), paying testament to
the quality of the crew. Entertaining, easygoing characters one and all, and all
bearing an open invitation to join us and Summer Song for future trips. Long may
the adventures continue onboard our splendid vessel.