Still Heading West

Phil Pascoe
Wed 3 Dec 2008 13:53

17:20.73N 32:56.33W

Heading West (08.00 GMT -1, 3 Dec 2008)

Pete's Private thoughts... Funny old game (sorry Des), this sailing malarky. You 'steel' yourself for this great adventure, some for months, years, even lifetimes. Then what happens, no damn wind. You sit on this vast ocean - admittedly, in shorts and T shirts - in awe of the scale of it all, thinking "is it the Rioja, or the Claret for dinner?", when you should be asking yourself "have we got enough reefs in" or "are all of the hatches battened down?". All is so unnervingly tranquil. For those of us, who trained so hard beforehand, up at 7 a.m., a 10 mile drive to Plympton, and 20 lengths in the toddlers pool, you almost feel cheated.

Each day brings something new, whether it's the ever changing seascape or the glimpses of our fellow travellers, above and below the surface of the ocean. All pose soul searching questions. From the flying fish, who crashes into the crest of each wave and out the other side, before flying on to the next, repeating ad nauseam. Why do they do this (Des)? Is it their split personality, I hear you ask? And why are there so many birds out here, more than a 1000 miles from the coast? Is it possible, that they have never seen land before? If it wasn't for the lack of nesting opportunities out here... It also surprises us, that we have been in sight of at least one other yacht, for almost all of the 10 days, we have been at sea. Should an ocean, be this busy? Does it dilute the worth of the formidable challenge we are undertaking? We don't think so; the hardship is more than real to us, even without the wind. One shower a week on Sunday's, fresh meat long since gone, last of the fruit and veg 'turning', eating boiled eggs from their egg cartons, need I say more? In any event, we think that the rest of the fleet (the ARC, that is) will soon start to shade a little to the north of us, enroute to their destination in St. Lucia. We will be alone for the rest of the voyage?

It is a race of 2 halves (sorry again Des), and our second half is just about to begin. As we near the mid ocean point, our thoughts begin to focus on the swim, that we intend to take from the boat, sharks and killer whales permitting. >From 3 feet, in the toddlers pool, to 5 miles deep here; how do you begin to comprehend that?

Despite the lack of wind, we are amazed that we continue to average 120 miles a day. At this rate, we should make land fall in Barbados, on or around the 14th / 15th December. The trade winds have been here for ever, where would Columbus, sugar and Gunta Kinte have been without them? One things for sure, they will be with us, before the end of this trip. Bring on this epic voyage.

(Ed. (Phil):  If he carries on like this I'll have to up his wine ration - here are some pics from along the way.) 
Pete's just showing off his new jacket, it was 25 degrees and flat calm, Tony and I were in T-shirts.
Me doing something useful for a change, note twin headsails and reefed main.
Tony saving fresh water by washing up with the Atlantic Ocean.