34 02.423N 014 21.438W
Date: Saturday day 24th October 2015
Position: Somewhere in the Atlantic (34° 07.17 N - 014° 13.38 W)
“It ain’t all beer and skittles son” Barry Davis used to say to me. Barry was a former colleague of mine when I worked at Billingsgate market as a fish inspector. There was him, John Frances, the other Fishmeter as they were called, and Chris Leftwich the Chief Inspector who joined the company about nine months before I did. Two more opposite characters you could not find working together were John and Barry. All his life John had been a fitness fanatic. In his younger days he was a champion power lifter and body builder at world-class level not just local level. I think he used to train with Charles Atlas who in his day was a renowned body builder. Later, when he gave up power lifting he and his wife took up tennis and played to a very high standard and when he eventually took up golf it was not long before his handicap was in single figures. My handicap is owning a set of golf clubs. Barry on the other hand used to say “I’m more of a large scotch, fag and game of snooker man myself” which used to wind John up no end. Even though they worked together for the best part of thirty-four years they never did get along. I had been brought in the replace John who was retiring early on medical grounds. The many years of sports had taken their toll and his knees and hips were shot to pieces. Barry had agreed to stay on for another couple of years whilst I was trained up and then he too retired a healthy man. Who had it right and who had it wrong! Sadly, not long after he retired Barry’s wife, Babs, died and I thought he would go the pieces. But he eventually he met another lady to share his life and they were having a thoroughly good time. Every time I saw him they had just returned from this place or that and were about to go somewhere else. He was really making the most of his retirement when the tragic news came that he had been killed in a car accident. I just goes to emphasize that if you want to do something in life do it now because you just don’t know what is around the corner.
Anyway, it ain’t all beer and skittles as Barry so kindly pointed out. I left Lagos at 10 am and after an unsuccessful attempt to sail for a while I gave up and motored for the next thirty-three hours until a gentle breeze kicked in and I was sailing at between 3 to 4 knots. On my second night at sea it started. Just a little sniff at first and that heavy feeling behind the eyes but I knew what was coming, a cold. I hoped it would just be a head cold but no such luck. By my third night it was the works sweeting, shivering, body and limbs aching, a bit difficult when you are making your longest solo passage to date. I tried to get as much rest as I could last night and that seems to have done the trick as the worst has passed now and I an feeling a little better.
I had a little excitement on my second night. I was under full sail and about a mile or so ahead of me was another yacht obviously bound for Madeira. Someway ahead of him was a bank of mist and occasionally it would light up with flashing colors we were obviously heading into an electrical storm. I set about tidying the cockpit removing some redundant lines I had been using earlier so they weren’t a trip hazard and then did the same in the saloon making sure there was nothing loose that could fly about and cause damage. I left the sails alone for a time to monitor the situation then as I got closer I decided the reduced sail while conditions were in my favor. I dropped the mizzen and put a reef in the main but left the genoa as this could easily be reefed later. As I found out this had all been in vein. When I reached the area concerned what ever had been happening had already passed and the strong winds I was expecting just did not happen. But as a precaution I left it an hour before shaking the reef out in the main and carried on. That’s about the most exciting thing that has happened so far. Sailing can be really boring!
That’s all for now folks catch you later.
Bye for now.