Transat - Day 9 14.13.40N 43.34.60W

Suzie Too - Western Caribbean
David & Suzanne Chappell
Fri 3 Dec 2010 18:16
From Di
Well we’ve been at sea on this leg of the journey from Cape Verde to Barbados for 9 days (10th night at sea tonight!) and things are all well onboard the good ship Suzie Too.
I’ll start with the wind; we’ve had it all, from behind, on the nose and everything in between.  For a couple of days all we were able to do was to sail up and down across our 280 degree rhumb line to Barbados and so didn’t really get any further west. At the moment we are still up hill sailing against all the rules of a Transat with the wind from the north all 5kts of it, but, we are still able to make 4+ kts.  Looking at the weather forecasts the so called trades may arrive in the next 5 days or so! Jimmy Cornell book in bin!
Next is the sea and waves, mostly we’ve been bobbing up and down on small 1-2 metre swells, only very occasionally loosing the horizon.  We’ve had some chop generated by the wind but when squalls come they get flattened by the rain.  It’s been mostly sunny except when doldrums type weather sat around for a couple of days bringing rain with it, warm rain though as Hollie showered in it! The sea temperature has risen from 25C to a balmy 27.5C and so I’m writing after having our first “Atlantic hanging off the back of the boat” swim! Awesome!
Early on the trip the daily activity was to set the lines out in order to catch fish.  After a few nibbles on the line, or more precisely biting the lure off completely and leaving teeth marks ½ metre up the line, we managed to get THE sign that one was hooked on.  The sign is the blue peg pinging off the guard rail.  It was then all hands on deck, David pulling in Suzanne ready to gaff and the rest of the crew ensuring that we had photographic record, not just our salty dog tale of the big fish we caught.  Well it was a biggy, 130cm and 25kg or more and probably Wahoo according to the pictures in our fish guide book.  Then, as with buses as soon as we had him on the deck the other peg pinged and his friend joined him to make a brace of fish!  WOW! Filleting them took Suzanne an hour or so on the back deck and in a hot and steamy galley!
Other less strenuous activities on the boat have included kindle reading, playing Uno, Cluedo and Scrabble. Suzanne has given Hollie craft activities to do and we’ve watched a couple of episodes of Downton Abbey.  Today’s team activity was a bob the bucket ‘man’ overboard after he got knocked over due to the fact we  had neglected to tie him on.  The whole rescue took 7min 30 seconds which included furling the big blue screecher sail in.
When it comes to sleeping and the watches, my 3 hour watch starts at 2100 UT and so as we get further west it gets progressively earlier.  I’ve not seen the moon rise for a few nights now and am now getting up for the 0900 watch almost in the dark.  At the beginning of the trip we saw a few cargo ships heading to Africa or Europe. Then for a couple of nights some super yachts stormed past using their engines, their AIS detailing Antigua as their destination presumably for race week.   David takes over at midnight followed by Steve at 0300. Suzanne then starts shift at 0600 so I invariably wake up to the smell of fresh bread coming from the galley.
That leads me onto boat cuisine! Well what can I say, 5 star!  Breakfast kicks off at about 1000 when most of the crew surface clothed in swim wear.  Lunch is at 1400 ish and consists of salad (yep still got some even today)! meat, cheese and other wonderful delights such as sushi!!! Afternoon tea for us English types includes cake, freshly made of course and then we dress for dinner (well possibly change our swim wear) at about 1900.  Meals so far have included our wonderfully freshly caught fish, lamb shank, roast chicken and oriental salmon to name but a few.  We have only eaten about ¼ of the Wahoo and so if the wind continues to be light at least we will be able to eat for at least 3 weeks before we need to catch any more fish!
So in summary so far its great being out here, living on Suzie Too is a breeze and the crossing although slower than anticipated is a fantastic experience.
Finally, I’d like to share with you our Suzie Too cinquains (Hollie has had these as boatwork from her teacher).
                         Vast, wilderness
                     Restless, azure, foaming
                    Stretching to the Caribbean
Or alternatively!
                              Slowest ever
                   Frustrating, windless, bobbing
                     Endlessly slopping crossing
Love to all Di X
Mid Atlantic swim
931M to Bridgetown, Barbados
Fri 3 Dec 1800 utc
COG 270
SOG 4,0 kts Full Main & Code Zero
Wind 6 kts 330
Suzie Too and Crew