Less than 500 to go

Phil Pascoe
Thu 11 Dec 2008 14:36
14:21.18N 51:06.43W
11 Dec 08.00h (UT -2),  Less than 500 NM to go.
We're all a bit blogged out at the moment - the equivalent of the 'Wall' in the marathon.
We have just had two days of good NE to E winds, 12 to 20+ kn, which is more typical of the Trade Wind sailing we were expecting.  Our best 24h run to date ended this morning, 153 miles.  A very strange sensation for those of us used to bashing around in the Channel, is to be cruising along at 7 knots with only about 12 knots of wind.  This is partly due to the current which is generally in our favour, the swell, which gives us a surf occasionally and the constant wind in our twin headsails and reefed main - it's like sailing downhill!  The only downside is the heavy rolling when a wave hits us the wrong way, but this nowhere near as bad as some boats experience, and at speeds over 8 knots the rudder vibrates a little which may disturb the slumbers of those in the aft cabins.  The moonlight is almost bright enough to read by and we can do our watches all night in shorts and t-shirt - and this is mid December.
Yesterday we were escorted by some Yellowfin Tuna (about 0.5 m long) which stayed alongside the boat for a few miles.  I tried getting them to grab my fishing line, but I guess they're not that stupid.  Also seen some different birds in the last couple of days - a long-tailed jobby which Tony thinks might be a tropic bird, and a couple of black-headed gannets.  This might mean we're getting near land, me thinks.
We reached another milestone today, 500 miles to go.  Two beers and a bottle of wine tonight.  Other celebrations that we've come up with are:  Whitemeadow's 10,000 miles (should be tomorrow), 250 miles to Barbados (the day after), 125 miles to go (the next day) then we should be there - and we can celebrate.  It's all part of morale boosting, we're all suffering from TMS and NEB syndrome.  Too much Sun and Not enough Booze. 
Christmas in Devon might sort those out, I think.
Another highlight of the last day or so was that I (Phil) won a game of Crib against the Grand Master, Pete (Maverick) Sizer.  The next day I lost to Tony, which I think still puts me bottom of the League.  It's all 60% luck and 40% cunning - and I haven't had the advantage of a mispent youth.
Hey Ho, another day at sea.  I think I'll take up water-colours, the landscapes are great.
Enthusiasm for photography is also waning - another exciting al fresco meal, Tony's home-made courtesy flag for Barbados, and just confirming that we are on the correct side of the Atlantic.