Arc Day 10 - Also a Squadron

Dick and Irene Craig
Tue 1 Dec 2009 20:52
At 19.50 last evening, we reached our halfway point. This was calculated on
the nautical miles we have already covered and those still planned to be
done, according to charted course. The middle of the Atlantic was crossed a
few hours later.

We celebrated reaching the half way point by cracking open a bottle of
champagne, not forgetting to pour an extra glass for Neptune as an offering.
The champagne was given to us by Pantaenius, in Plymouth, at the start of
rally Portugal, 2007.

We also raised our glasses to Michael, the guy who was to have been the
fourth member of our crew but he succumbed to the surgeon's knife, just
prior to our departure from Las Palmas. He was still in hospital 18 days
later and not expecting to be discharged for a minimum of several more days.
Michael, all of us on board Tucanon wish you a speedy recovery.

A start has been made getting the parasailor seaworthy. Yesterday, the sail
was spread out from the aft cockpit, through the salon and galley to the
master cabin, to check for any possible damage. The problem was with the
snuffer bag which looks as if it had been attacked by giant sized moths.

We have now been sailing for over 42 hours using the genoa but we are unable
to achieve anywhere near the speed that we can attain, when flying the
parasailor. Depending on the wind and the sea conditions, it is still
possible for us to arrive in Rodney bay on the 8th December. However, not
daunted, about 10am, we did notice that the boat was sailing at 13knots.

At 9am, we were in VHF contact with S/Y Raylah and S/Y Knightime but there
were no visible signs of another boat out here, not even on the radar. Nor
were there any lights in evidence during the night.

Congratulations to the parents and three year old brother of our new
grandson, born 24 November, one week earlier than expected. He weighed in at
6lbs 15ounces. Mother and baby, dad and brother are all doing well.

Breakfast today was pancakes, just to ring the changes. Lunch was to be
salad but cook wouldn't tell us whether it would contain ham, or salami with
feta cheese. Obviously enjoying the power of keeping us all in suspense, we
had to wait until lunch was served before we knew that it was ham today.

After lunch, with our freshly made filter coffee, we ate half of the bar of
Lindt chilli chocolate. I had been saving this until we had reached the half
way point, it being a gift from Austin prior to us leaving Las Palmas.

Tonight the planned menu is mixed fish risotto. We don't expect to do any
fishing today, the sea state is not conducive.

I had volunteered to be a net-controller but am relieved that Chris is such
an enthusiast because other than when I am on watch, I hardly have a spare
moment and a chance to put my feet up.

Today the flapjacks and rock cakes need replenishing so cook got that task
sorted during the morning. We also have an assortment of sponge and fruit
cakes, for afternoon tea.

It is not very viable to check the fruit and vegetables at present as the
inflated Jonbuoy and the parasailor, both currently in the aft cockpit, make
it difficult to gain access to the lockers storing the fruit and vegetables.
Their presence also makes it more awkward to access the gas locker, not to
mention hanging out the washing to dry.

Thank you to the gentleman who sent in on an e-postcard, an alternative
collective name for flying fish. Apparently, one can also have a squadron of
flying fish, a name which he preferred, as it conjured up all sorts of ideas
such as fish with handlebar moustaches and with names like Taffy, Ginger and
Biggles. See photo below for one of the flying fish that committed suicide
by flying onto the deck during the night.

As I sat writing this blog, the glass from a ceiling light fell to the floor
and smashed, without even moving the stainless steel bezel which holds it in

The pieces were swept up using a brush and dustpan and then the vacuum
cleaner, which has not been out since the rock cakes fell to the floor,
dealt with the rest. Hopefully all the splinters have been removed or those
lads aboard, who don't wear shoes on the boat, might just wish that they
had. They have been advised of the peril, the rest is up to them.

A typical day for our onboard medic consists of a thorough rig check on his
first watch of the day, throwing overboard any flying fish which have
commited suicide.

Monday is the day that he shaves, changes his sheets and cleans his heads
and wet room.

He is responsible for setting up the fishing gear and catching any fish,
though is always available to help any other crew member if they wish to get

A dab hand with a needle, he gets heavily involved in all physical aspects
of maintenance, sail repairs, engines etc. Anything that isn't electrical.

Top marks for vigilance, checking that we all consume the adequate, minimum
quantity of water each day as well as keeping a weather eye on our general

Physical exercise is very important to him, he takes part in triathlons when
on terra firma, making sure that being at sea is no excuse not to maintain
an exercise routine which he completes prior to taking a shower.

He is currently reading "In Siberia", keeps a daily diary, takes lots of
photographs, drinks masses of black coffee and when on watch, has the
opportunity to contemplate life and the future.

One day in 3 he is on washing up duty though this might be done by another
crew member if he is on watch or busy doing another important task.

There are two watches of 1.5 hours per day and three, every 3 days. He also
does a night watch, the hours of which rotate, i.e 0900-1200, 1200-1500,
1500-1800, 1800-2400.


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