Day 8- Finally a change

Mon 2 Dec 2013 18:38
21:21.78N 033:46.02W

We have entered a new phase of sailing and about half way there.  Phillip had us put out the Genaker and Suzy has the oldtime classics playing on the radio.  But this has not come without some rough events over the last few days.  

After passing our first low on day 3, we were confronted with another Low that lasted a good 4 days, stronger and larger than the first.  It kept us further North than we had anticipated in our plan yet still moving us forward towards our target... but not without extra work and a few restless nights.  Day 4 we were faced with rain and strong winds.  Day 5 healing over quite a bit... the kind that makes our wives worry.  We sailed well but quite a bit of beating with counter running waves that made anyone trying to sleep give up and lay there waiting for the war bombs to be over.   A few things broke. 

Day 5 another group of playful dolphins.  Michael catching a fish which we all enjoyed and a lovely starry night.  The constellations are so clear, you only wish you could see them all the time.

Day 6 the seas were rough again but thanks to Phillip, he kept us busy with lots of practice changing sails with explanations of why we have to do what he says.  The family table dislodged which affected our flux compass and thus disabled our autopilot.  We lost some glasses.  Everything else had to be tied down.

Day 7 we saw the winds change towards the N which meant we were getting through the Low and a High was on its way.  Most of us got a good nights sleep last night.

Day 8 Today we finally have smoother seas and a calm wind.  This has allowed us to do some necessary repairs.  Tage has been a good fixer.  He has been working on recovering the generator.  Jan and Tage restored a flux compass-  Not having the autopilot meant we have had to helm by hand on shifts of 2 hours each for the last 3 days.  Today with the flux compass fixed, John was able to recalibrate the autopilot and we are once again hands free.  Tage and Phillip fixed the furlor which prevented us from taking in the Jib which had to stay out, meaning we were quite selective with how we sailed.  

Suzy and Marie continue to keep us fed. But they have not been the only cooks.  For Suzy's birthday, Jan cooked Coque au Vin.  She turned 59.  The second time experiencing a birthday in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  Suzy, the only crew member who has already done the ARC in 2006 in an all female Catamaran crew.  

Tage cooked up a storm for us as well.  Having practiced 4 times under the strict direction of his wife Dorthe, he shone quite well as he served us an African stew.  Both Phillip and Michael, our strong stomachs pitched in cooking while both Marie and John were out of order with stomach butterflies taking flight.  Well that was John, Marie managed to hold everything inside.  And finally Michael fought for half and hour to bring in that prize fish to find that it got away with half of our lure.  

Overall we are in good spirits.  Jan quite proud of his crew and happy to have each of us here to make the journey more safe.  

Best wishes to all our friends and family.

A big thanks to Birger who has been sending us daily weather reports and instruction about which way to steer.