Hello from beyond the middle of the
The great news is that yesterday we passed the half
The last 24 hours has been a great change from our
downwind sleigh ride that we have had since we started. It started with a rude
awakening at around 5 in the morning yesterday, when, with full main up and
running dead down wind, the wind shifted suddenly by 30 degrees and we had an
accidental gybe. In a normal boat, this would not be too much of a problem,
however on Trippwire we have running backstays. These in effect support the mast
and get wound up on the opposite side of the boat to the boom. The problem with
them is that you have to detach them when you tack or gybe, and if not, you run
a high chance of losing your mast. In our case, we were lucky, and as I shot on
deck to meet a rather shocked Caroline who was on watch, we had to clamber
across the boat that was heeling at around 45 degrees, with the main pinned
against the runner.
Now, to digress a little, this was officially a '4
boxer short event'. Ever since I have started sailing with Charlie, if there was
ever a problem that needed sorting, you could guarantee that it is always in the
middle of the night and usually in Charlie's offwatch. Even if no help was asked for, you could be assured that
the first person up will be Charlie and that he will be on the foredeck in
his boxer shorts helping out, whether in the middle of the Atlantic or off the
Fastnet rock in the Irish sea! This trip is no different, and always just
as you are struggling away, you will find Charlie on the foredeck
with you. So, with all that in mind, events have now been classified into a
number of boxer short seriousness. Taking a reef would usually require one
pair of boxer shorts - i.e. one person out of bed, usually in their boxer shorts
(unless it is Jen and Caroline, when they will come on deck rather better
dressed!) in addition to the on watch person. In this case, it was a 4 boxer
short event, well, technically, 3 boxer shorts and Jen - i.e. we all got a bit
of a shock! The great thing about this trip is that there are no bunk loiterers,
and everyone is amazingly proactive about helping out, which makes life on board
really easy, but I suspect that we now have a rather tired crew who have pulled
reefs out and in several times in the last 24 hours, and I for one am a
Once sorted, it became clear that this was the rude
announcement of the infamous tropical squalls. Since then, we have had anything
from calm, through to 30 knots of wind, from the SE, and in particular, since
around 6pm last night we have had it up at 23 knots and above most of the time,
with some large tropical showers and frequent gusts to 30 knots. We are now
beam reaching fast in a direction to the south of St Lucia (we are expecting
North Easterlies in 24 hours or so time and so are trying to get as much
southing in as possible).
Depending on your tastes, our gourmet extravaganza
has continued. You may remember from the Madeira trip, that Charlies one term of
coming was that we stocked the boat with Fraybentos, his favourite 'night in'
entertainment. Given that it was half way, and we had yet to have a fraybentos,
last night was the night to put that right! Other gourmet news is that we have
started on Pedro. Pedro is a very tasty leg of Spanish Jamon, which is hanging
on the mast in the heads (the loo). Not perhaps the most edifying of places to
live, but space is short!
Nearly very exciting news on the fishing front!
Just as we were sitting down to our delicious fraybentos, the reel went singing
out for the first time. Technically it was the second time - just as
we started to gybe 3 days ago, Dom claimed to have seen a tuna jumping out of
the water and grabbing the lure. Sadly though, it did not take, and
perhaps for the best because we were in the middle of our spinnaker gybe.
However, this time it did take, and as I grabbed the rod, there was a definite
great weight. Our issue though was that at the time we were surfing down waves
at 10 knots....disaster, before we had managed to furl away the Genoa, the line
loaded up and then went ping....all very disappointing; interestingly though,
despite all that I have said above and for the first time ever we did not
see Charlie on deck and when I came back down, he was busily guarding the
Fraybentos!The positive news though is that I have five more 'pink octopus'
in reserve...so those tuna had better watch out!
Anyway, all else is well on board. The watermaker
repair has taken a back seat given that we have 3-4 metre seas and are on a 25
degree angle of heel, but we certainly have enough water to get us there. Jen
and I are still undergoing 'house training' by Dom and Caroline, who I think are
determined to put right our untidy ways. We are still on 'basic
training', and suspect that we are very slow pupils, but the great thing is
that whenever you go to bed, you wake up and the boat has been tidied! We are
doing our best not to look ahead and predict arrival times, but suffice to say
that the weather is looking at the moment really rather good for the second half
of the trip, and that, with luck, the last few days our 21 day provisioning will
not be required!