Atlantic crossing 13

Sat 9 Dec 2006 12:02
The Atlantic ocean is a very big place. Approx 250 yachts left Las Palmas
13 days ago and we have not sighted a single one. We overheard a snatch of
conversation on the radio a couple of days ago but apart from that the radio
has been silent. We have tried calling other boats on numerous occasions but
no response. We are alone ! The gale finally subsided but only down to
about 15 to 20 knots. The seasonal expectation I'm told is 10 to 15. We are
getting much more skilled with the Aries windvane, especially Alex who can
now set it up very quickly, we also solved the chafe problem with the half
blood knot I used to connect the line to the leg, that knot can be tied one
handed while hanging on with the other so is ideal. Yesterday (Friday) we
were hammering along above 7 knots for most of the day. The sea was still
very high and literally dancing with chop between the huge waves, and the
most startling blue you could imagine. As far as we could see in any
direction were great breakers smashing into and over one another so the blue
was splashed all over with white foam. We have become very used to the
motion now though cooking is a nightmare. I managed to do a savoury rice
dish in the afternoon but it was a bit of a juggling match. We reefed down
as usual before dark and were glad we did as the wind blew strongly for most
of the night. About 7am it died down so out sails again and settled into
today's morning chores. We are hoping the weather will hold for today so we
can do some fishing as we are reading tales via email of other boats
catching some big ones. I still have to get the sextant out to see if I
learned anything in the celestial nav class, its just been far too rough up
to now. At about noon today we will pass another milestone, the 1000 miles
to go one. If things carry on like this our eta is Sunday 17th if not
sooner, an exciting thought, after planning for over two years the end is in
sight. The twistle rig (twin headsails flown together) is wonderful. we have
hardly needed to touch a thing since we put it up nearly two weeks ago,
apart from winding in a bit in when it blows hard. I must admit that we tend
to get complacent during the hottest part of the day and stay below out of
the sun, the boat just sails on for hour after hour on its own, we jut pop
our heads up every now and again to have a look around but see nothing but
water. The most wonderful sailing you can imagine, surging along at
seemingly breakneck speed without a care in the world. That will have to
change in a few days as all the boats funnel down to St. Lucia, particularly
at night so we are trying to sharpen up. The daft thing is, the most
dangerous part of sailing is when you approach the end. The nights are still
a dream, I look forward to going on deck at midnight to enjoy the moonlight
rendezvous with the elegant Thisbe for another trip down the bottomless
imagination, stimulated by the awesome surroundings. The thoughtful Odette
reminded me of a wonderful poem which I would like to remind you of as well.
Its the one which we all must have come across at one time or another.
John Masefield. 1878- Sea-Fever
I would go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.
I would go down to the sea again, for the call of the running tide,
Is a wild call and a clear call that cannot be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I would down to the sea again to the vagrant gypsy life.
To the gull's way, and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trip's over.