Tue 25 Nov 2008 22:38
A couple of days log to catch up on since leaving La Palmas on Sunday at 13:00.

Since our last entry, we have finished provisioning, stowing, tidying up the boat and set off on our epic voyage .We spent our last evening relaxing at the Yacht Club where we hve felt very much at home frequenting the roof-top pool and sauna and drinking ice cold beers [ activities which we found crucially important for our team building strategies]. We shared our final shorebased meal with the crew of Falbala. Three of us ordered the waiters recommendation, entrecote steak; if a fourth had joined us we would have beeen served the whole cow. - Ed methodically despatched the largest steak we had ever seen! Happy hour and fireworks at the ARC bar completed the evening. All around we could hear groups of sailors discussing the weather and there was an air of quiet anticipation.

Next morning as we left the pontoon at 11.30a.m. heading for the start line the captain put in a request for refreshments.In true British style we steamed out of harbour consuming delicious lemon drizzle cake and coffee. The harbour walls were lined with well-wishers and a brass band played us out.

Our start was slick and without mishap. Lis a little disappointed that we didn't have the spinnaker up for the start [she is 3 days wiser now]. We all feel we have found our feet and some of us even have sea legs. Andrew proudly claims the prize as the first 'Mal de Mere' casualty only 1h 30 min into the race and Lis continues to feel that even a simple task like boiling a kettle feels like an attempt on Everest

Activities have included wild life spotting [ a pod of Dolphins, 2 Sharks{yes really.... we ALL saw them}, an Albatross{or possibly not}, Ed has eaten at least his own body weight in food, and Miss Spillage (Zoe) now just spills wind out of the sails! We lost sight of land during our first night at sea and catch occasional glimpss of one or two fellow rtravellers on the horizon.

Gulliver would like to claim to be the first ARC competitor to do wave slalom across the Atlantic thanks to Lis's sailing technique. Steering lessons have improved our range from our intended course from 40 degrees to 20'. Ed tells us that the 'Whitbread Boys' can sail within 5' so some of us have a way to go.

Below decks we are all becoming increasingly adept at the the extreme sport of 'Cooking in the Danger Zone' . Menus so far have included - Basque chicken and rice, home made leek and potato soup and the 'Piece de Resistance' - Chicken breasts stuffed with cheese and pesto with real mashed potatoes. We have been assured that presentation of these meals has been of the highest standard but this cannot be verified as we are eating in the wheel-house with only the GPS for illumination.

The only culinary disaster hs been tonights corn on the cob which was presumably intended as animal feed..Resouceful as ever the cobs have been added to the supply of emegency bungs.

The to-do list conitinues to grow on a 'tick one off, add two more' basis. One of todays challanges was to prevent the mainsail chaffing by cladding two stays from top to tail . Being resourceful is the name of the game, so -15m of thick garden hose, 1 role of leki-tape and a sharp knife were employed. Getting the pipe stuck 3m. from the top wasn't part of the plan! 'Monkey boy' to the rescue! Ed reverted to his natural habitat, and was hoisted up the mast to pull the hose up the last bit. All this happening as we buzzd along at 6 knots with Zoe capably at the helm and Anna peeling spuds.

All is well onboard and we have yet to tackle our 40 fresh mangoes (yes 40) - Gulliver is going well although we are being careful with water electricity and fuel due to predicted light winds.

We are currently cruising down towards the Cape Verde Islands at 6.5kys with our big spinnaker up - watch this space for the next instalment...

All the best Mark Ed Lis Anna Zoe and Andy