Log Day 18

David Edwards
Thu 9 Dec 2010 19:14
Well another fast and furious trade wind ride in the final stage of the 25th ARC. We have been pushing hard for the last few days since we have had consistently strong trades and have managed to gain lost ground on the leader board after our earlier stint of headwinds. Our best speed so far has been 11.1 kts and we regularly break the 10kt barrier which is quite something on a 27 tonne boat. If we keep this up we should finish in the next 2-3 days. We have been flying a combination of ¾ oz symmetrical spinnakers, the new parasailor which is very well behaved, but we have only tried it twice as it seems quite slow unless it blowing hard. As the wind increases we revert to the trusty old poled out No.1 Genoa. Our aim is still to sail the best angles for highest boat speed/best compromise of VMG. The Atlantic swell is up around 4-5m and although most of these are relatively well spaced, it allows short surf rides and the high speeds. As a result our daily averages are higher now and we hope it stay that way. Winds are now generally between 22 & 30kts and occasionally drop back to 17-20 which means more sail on or off, night or day. It's extremely hot with now with the sea temperature up at 27.6 degrees and inside the boat it's well over 35 and very hot and clammy making it hard to sleep, unless we have some of the side ports and deck windows open when sea state and water over the deck allow. This was the case last night and after a few calls on deck I finally managed to get into a needed deep sleep, only to be rudely woken up by yet another flying fish. This one managed to hit the deck, come in through the forward facing cabin window and hit me right in the head and then flap around my face between the pillow and hull, until half dazed I managed to work out what the hell was going on. That's twice I have been violated by flying fish in the night and this one was even more of a surprise than the one that came in and landed on my laptop keyboard. As the end is in sight now, David has decided to lift water restrictions from tomorrow, which means showers are again high on the agenda. Our fresh food has held up well and we still have very ripe but fresh mangoes, melons, oranges, potatoes, cabbages and about 100 eggs, so we are still eating very well, when we can keep it on plates. As the ride is now quite animated, we have stashed the plates and are down to small cereal bowls and whatever plastic trays we can find and I am eying off the empty biscuit tin as a high sided bowl to keep my food off my lap. We have had our share of broken glass and crockery, so were now mindful of keeping our food on our plates and off the furniture and cockpit floor. Sailing too fast to fish now, so hope of a Dorado meal is dwindling.
This morning we crossed paths with anther ARC boat "Moving" and had a quick chat on the VHF and then an hour later crossed paths with a small freighter. Amazing that in under an hour we make our first two contacts in over 10 days.
That's about all for now, hoping for another fast night and a few off watches with some unbroken sleep if we are lucky. Best wishes to all !!

Regards from Nick (the one with the fish fetish) and the naughty lads in the middle of the Atlantic (well way past the middle now.)