Day 15 Lazy Dawn's Ocean Passage 5/12

Mon 5 Dec 2005 19:16
The finish line gets closer by the day. Yesterday we recorded our highest daily run. A day is the 24 hours from 1200 UTC and we posted 187 nm, the same as the distance from London to Paris! During which we almost hit some buoys! Yes, really. We were just having lunch and I noticed two buoys of the starboard rear quarter, the nearest only 300 yards away. Not sure what they were, possibly ODAS (Ocean Data Acquisition System) or perhaps fishing buoys. Very disconcerting to nearly hit a buoy over 600 miles from the nearest land, French Guiana.
The first ARC boat, Leopard, has reached St.Lucia in 13d 5h 17m 37s, though she is 93' long (over twice our length) so we might still beat her on handicap!
Jo lives another day on the fish gutting and filleting as we've just been going far too fast to fish. Any fish would either have it's mouth ripped out or our hook would just bend. So, instead, Jo baked some fresh bread! Quite an art in a rolling sea at 30 degrees, but as a physio she is used to kneading things. Freshly baked rolls with Philadelphia cream cheese and Parma ham were an absolute delight and continue to represent the high standard of food we've been eating since leaving Las Palmas. Hope the waistline doesn't suffer too much! I think chocolate crepes are on the menu later in the week!
The sea temperature is an amazing 28C and we would love to go for a swim, but as I said above, we're just going to damn fast. We did hear from another boat, Mystic Breeze who we'd befriended earlier, that one of their crew Abbi was swimming faster than they were moving. Unfortunately for them it appears they are just north of the trades and travelling slowly. We will welcome them and help them moor when they do arrive in St. Lucia.
With the sea temperature as it is and the constant hum from the hull as the whole boat cavitates along through the water above it's theoretical maximum hull speed (about 7.5kts), we're wondering if there is a new concern of chafing to worry about - the hull melting! Please let us know if you can send some ice to help. Perhaps you can RJ, since you're probably nearing the Penguins now on your Clipper adventure!
The nights are still quite amazing with so many stars out. Last night we could see a double shimmering reflection from the Moon and Venus as they both rose quite close to each other. Absolutely awesome, but alas no camera on board capable of capturing it. It really is so strange to see so much light from the nearby planets of Mars and Venus. And yes, they are at opposite ends of the night sky!
At last we're getting used to sailing at night with the parasailor and trust it to recover now when the leading edge collapses as the boat attempts to head up into wind. We also had an event free night for once, though sleep was difficult at times as Lazy yawed and rolled around tossing those off watch around in their cabins. Still, the hum of the hull inches from my head in my berth was a comforting noise and much like a lullaby, would help you drift of to sleep with a smile on your face.
Other than by email, we haven't heard from another ARC boat for four days, so it was a surprise to spot another boat on the horizon earlier today. We had a quick chat with them on the VHF and while they are going to St. Lucia they are not part of the ARC. Still, it was good to talk with another sailor and know someone else was nearby should the unthinkable happen and we needed outside assistance.
As we've mentioned before, we trail a DuoGen generator in the water to charge the batteries. This is a propeller on a long drive shaft with a plate at the end digging into the water. We take it out when the batteries are fully charged as it does get rather hot, so we don't want it to burn out. Recovering it though is an art. Sometimes it's like trying to land a 50lb fish, other times it pops out as sweet as anything. Today I raised it and it popped out of the water sweetly, then the boat heeled over abruptly and I found I could almost kiss the water as I leaned over pushpit fighting with the 10' prop shaft trying to keep it out of the water. Fortunately I had my safety line clipped on and stayed on board.
We also moved the clocks back another hour today as we're flying along westwards and we found the morning had gone before we'd realised and breakfast at 1000 (1100UTC) is too decadent even for us. The mornings are the hottest part of the day, with the sun beating into the cockpit. You can see Chris and Peter relaxing here with the big surf behind while Antony the autohelm steers us on to St. Lucia. Just after this picture was taken, skipper retired for 3 hours kip in his cabin! then tried to tell us what a winch looked like when he surfaced as he thought we'd done nothing all day too!
No talking book today, we're still in shock from the ending of 24. We'd also like to nominate some annoying characters in the story we wish they would just kill. 1. Kim Bauer, Jack's annoying daughter who almost prevented Jack from stopping WW3. 2. Kate, we bet she's about to get together with Jack, as she always looks like the whole world is about to go wrong and it's her fault. 3. Sherri Palmer, for just being so evil. 4 Ryan Chappell as he reminds Chris so much of so many corporate public school educated nobodies who only do what's right for there career and not what's right for the business. Anyway, back to tonight. We've still got the bonus DVD to watch, but then what? We're 5 days from St. Lucia and series 3 is there not here! Suggestions appreciated by email or txt.
Other than that, we've finally got the Caribbean pilot books out and our planning our time there, so do let us know if you want to join us and when you can make it.
Anyway, must go, it's time for tea and ginger cake...