400 miles into the Atlantic - and we haven't started yet!

Sun 17 Sep 2006 17:52
Another glorious sunset at sea - 2nd night out of Lagos
We have been motor sailing roughly half the time and motoring the rest.  Having a tight deadline to get to Madeira is causing us to use the "donkey" more than we would ideally like but we are just over 400 nm into our triangular course to get to the Canaries.  Everyone has now settled well into the routine on board and we are getting into some useful habits for the real thing in November.  There is going to be a lot of work getting everyone up to speed with their roles for the big trip and a huge amount still to do in Las Palmas when we get back before the start. However, we have had a really good shake down and everything is working well. The water maker is a joy; two buttons pressed and we have full tanks despite all of us having hot showers today. Let's hope it works all the way across....The sail plan works really well now we have sorted out what works under various conditions.  We have not had enough spinnaker practice yet but what we did was enough to show that we can easily handle her with 3 people who know (roughly) what they are doing.  The watch system is working well now that we have instilled a bit of discipline into the watch tasks, meal times and changeovers and as things stand right now I think we are going to go with 2 watches of 3 people on the ARC.  All in all, the trip has been fantastic preparation and Free Spirit has performed brilliantly in all departments. 
The excitement of the day was to catch a bonito on the hand line mid-afternoon today.  Not huge, but it proves that we can at least catch something at 7.5 knots. We are going to have fun tonight eating our first catch and are all desperately hoping to catch another before supper time!
One happy skipper....
...and a not so happy Freddie the Fish.