Midnight to 4am Watch.. The other side of sailing.

Steve Powell
Tue 25 Nov 2008 05:30

Well I guess your all tucked up warm a cosy in bed about now, or I know one or two of you that are probably still out clubbing. Well there is another side to sailing, that is the joys of doing a midnight to 4am watch without wind.  We are under engine power searching for wind. Engine is legal in the Invitational Cruising Class, because at the end of the day although the ‘racing’ is a bit of a lark, our primary goal is to get there before Beans and Jackie bankrupt us in the fancy 5 star St Lucian Spa hotel that they are moving into any day now. Why they “needed” to be there a minimum of a full week before we are scheduled to arrive is anyone’s guess.  Personally I blame Peter, he’s far too generous.

Back to the subject matter, the deadly dark watch, it’s dark when you go on and it’s dark when you go off. And if, like tonight there's a lot of cloud cover, you really don’t see much. The only company is the radar blips of the occasional nearby boat.  Buzz is keeping watch while I sit on deck penning this little piece. We have another Oyster a few miles behind us, both of us ‘racing’ under power.  Chatting on the radio but trying to be friendly and helpful, but not giving anything away. It’s a funny old game.  

We are still heading south towards Cape Verdes, all our weather routing says that we should find the trade winds further south. Current estimates are ANOTHER two days before we can turn west towards the Caribbean. Thank God the kids aren’t on board. It brings a whole new meaning to “ Are we there yet?”

Meanwhile we fill those days with mundane domestic stuff! Lots of sleep when off watch. We are doing a 4 hours on watch followed by 8 hours off system with two on at any given time. Which means we get plenty of time to sleep and relax, watch a movie. We all meet every evening for dinner. We gather at gather at 5:30pm for the ‘dropping Big Red for the night’ ceremony. Then have our Virgin Gin and Tonics at 6pm, which gives us an opportunity to discuss our route, the weather and any other issues that come up, followed by dinner at 6:30. It’s dark by seven so we go straight into night watch mode.

Domestic chores... The M&S undies flying with the ‘Bluey’ and Charlie goes up the mast to check for any chaffing, a daily task.

It’s still dark, there’s still no wind, and I am still on watch. Not a lot changes really!!

Good night


25th November 2008

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