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Michael & Amanda Dyer
Wed 5 Dec 2007 13:22
"17:48.97 N, 45:47.81 W"

We've finally got some more wind. Yesterday was another day of zephyrs, so we tried to creep southwards in the hope of finding more breeze. We spent the day averaging very little over 2 knots, because although we have plenty of fuel left over, running the engine all day in this heat and humidity produces an atmosphere akin to a sauna below decks. Instead we steered south-west, with the wind on the beam. We sailed under genoa and main all day and some time in the afternoon Dad went out to discover the source of an unusually prominent creaking noise. Very shortly afterwards, all hands were called to deck. The bolt, which holds the boom to the goose-neck, was without it's nut and washer, and was proceeding to dislodge itself entirely. Cue an improvised hammer in the shape of a broom, much heaving and banging and sweating, and finally a fixed boom. Somehow the nut hadn't gone overboard, so it's back to normal. Nevertheless, we decided to drop the main, and turn North-West and pole out the twin headsails instead, hoping for the wind to back sufficiently as it filled in during the night.

For most of the night there was precious little wind. The only excitement came in the form of another yacht, 'Anxa', which came up behind us and passed us very close on our starboard side. I called him up on the VHF, and it turns out he was a big fast yacht, taking part in the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers). He was a pleasant fellow, from Australia or New Zealand I think, judging from his accent. Although he had left from the Canaries a week after us he had made up the lost ground (hardly surprising given the speed at which he passed us – although he was motoring and we were sailing).

Fortunately, later in the night the wind picked up, and we're now making about 6 knots. Seeing as the extra wind allowed the self-steering to work, I had to occupy myself with something else. So I decided to show mother dearest how to make bread properly. I spent three hours kneading, waiting, re-kneading, waiting and finally cooking. The extra time spent in the preparation resulted in bread that actually rose, and by cooking it in the oven (rather than the pressure cooker), it attained an earthy brown crust. Most importantly, it tastes superb (though I say it myself), so I have been landed the job of baker.