A moving experience this is. 14:35 N 051:22 W

Sue & Alan
Fri 17 Jan 2014 14:38
There seemed plenty to keep us occupied yesterday afternoon. Few little jobs about the yacht. Flying flying fish to get rid - off the deck. Emails to send. Some foods to cook & freeze before we need to bin'em. Washing to get in (most done so far being 2 x washes needing 2 x lines. One round cockpit and t'other over aft deck. If another vessel had been around to observe us our unconventional flag display might have confused or amused them? We only did one sheet leaving "Three sheets to the wind" for another day! Squiddy must have been showing-off because nothing bit since the demon from the deep t'other evening.
No longer burning diesel to drive us because the windies are being kind and appear to give us a good run-in towards Barbados. Just one sail out, genoa (poled-out) stb'd tack. The increasing wind strength is allowing us to make better angle towards destination because we are now making good speed in the relentless topsy-dropsy sea, which appears to 'kick' the most when working in galley!
0430: Shake rattle & rolling along by E'ly F5 is moving us nearer and nearer towards Guyana, sometimes Venezuala, which s about 30º south of our destination. This means we will be needing to gybe from port tack to stbd tack at a convenient time today. In calm seas we would be able to achieve a direct run. In these seas (big seas is the game) we have to keep enough wind on our genoa to prevent backing & flogging it as we twist & shake. Cork-screwing would be too kind a description! Chaotic agitation might be nearer the mark although it's amazing how the body can get used to it, even sleep through all but the most extreme bounces, and then 'fall' back to sleep again. I guess astronauts could spend time training in these waters to get used to the vigours of take-off and re-entry....... which cungers up food for thought? Sometimes our environment must resemble being on one of these test machines in a factory, which tries to shake manufactured products to destruction to prove it's working
life potential?
'Susans' Atlantic Crossing Group, the group set-up by Susan (aided by Ron) on s/y Gemeni, is now Susanless, having completed their passage as well many others. s/y Silver Fern & s/y Half Moon also completed yesterday. There are now but the few warriors with batton in hand in midst of challenge. OUr group may now be small but we cover great swathes in these Atlantic latitudes. Ticketeeboo is furthest West, closely followed (hundreds of miles!)by s/y Halekai, s/y Mithril & s/y Saraoni. Coming up the rear (excusing the expression) is s/y Island Rea II and s/y Quincene (recently left and might have left/lesving Cape Verde Islands soon and heading west). s/y Meredith could also be out there and maybe s/y Temptress of Down. Rhia Malti checked-in yesterday as they move up mainland coast towards Trinidad. So we are not alone, It just seems that there is no-one else sailing anywhere near us. Our SSB long range radio net marches on regardless and will continue whilst yachts cross to the land w
here be beans are carried (Caribbean!).
We're well into and passing through the 'That;s the last of 'em' waters and I notice the tin-opener is beginning to look familiar? To this use we have not yet needed to resort, except maybe Ray has when entering couple of tins of kidney beans whilst earlier passing the Kidneybean Islands?
There's a growing list of jobs needing doing. Some when we arrive, some when convenient. Nothing major, just jobs! There's always 'jobs' needs doing on yachts. I think Ticketeeboo is holding up and looking good - even after our passage thus far. The damage to our sails is minor. It's the stitching on the edges of foot and leech our genoa and gibsl which has UV damage. Can't understand it because Ticketeeboo's only been in the baking hot sun for nearly 5 seasons so new stitching (by a sailmaker) will be preferred to my handy-work. The UV protection strip protects the expensive sail fabric when the sail is furled but there is no way to protect the stitching, which fastens the UV to the sail fabric so the stitching gets goosed and it takes a voyage like this to see the resulting effect. Just a little inconvenient at this time so hoping to get this job done whilst visiting say Antigua, when its convenient for us. We've also discovered the 'limit of gimble' of our gas cooker/oven. We don'
t have enough freedom of gimble for the gimble to work properly. So, on the gible scale we're off it and have to resort to fastening the gimble to prevent the cooker jamming! This is not an expected feature so will need my beady eye on it to figure-out the best permanent fix. With the prospect of our E'ly F5 becoming F6 soon we're gonna need to rid the upper-limits and off our gimble scale a while longer me thinks! Maybe for another three or four days?
Big wash this morning = clean sheets and pillow cases on my bed tonight. That'll do until Sue comes out!
Good 24 hours sailing, despite the mess of a sea-state. Also, since breakfast we've had gibsl out on lee-side (facing the wind) and poled-out genoa to windward. This has increased our speed and seeing 8kn regularly since. Yab-a-dab-a- doooh! Just have to be careful because when a nasty wave screws us up the rear, if autopilot can't reach quick enough we slew and on or bothhe sails can back & flog..... not nice!! Just now windies has dropped to F4 & backed from E to ENE, which means we may have to put in a gybe fairly soon if it don't change back again.

In last 24 hours we have closed our distance to Barbados by 140 NM so we are now 491 NM to go and have logged 143 NM through the water (sailing too, which is very nice, very very nice!) Looking like we may complete our ocean passage maybe Monday 20th, and if we slow down possibly next day. We might slow down to avoid a night arrival if we want to. Meteorological forecasts indicate we should have E F5-6 trade-winds for our run-in towards Barbados. Seasonal winds - unlike the un-seasonal collapse of winds or having to tack into wind like we needed to few days ago. All good stuff and very enjoyable. ONly one change could make things better and it will be so very soon - just 9 more sleeps!

Hope Thomas is clear of Chicken Pox very soon. Congratulations to Andrea Hassett and Warren (Rachel's sister) who recently gave birth to new baby boy 'Harrison'. Mike & Kay are ecstatic and are hoping for more soon (as Grandparents do!). I guess Sophie is enthusiastic to help feed, bath & change the new baby?
Ticketeeboo MMSI 235071989 Callsign 2CED3, Ham = m0hng
At 17/01/2014 14:30 (utc) our position was 14°35.84'N 051°25.94'W