Day 9 | Shooting the sun

Tue 4 Dec 2018 19:59
17 44.6N  041 46.5W @ 1300hr 4/12/2018
Daily Run: 206nm 
Tune of the day: "Here comes the Sun" by The Beatles
Day 9.  Last night was a 'game of two halves'.  As we finished dinner and settled into night watch routine, the wind decided to withdraw its co-operation.  It started veering around to the east more than we would have liked, interfering with our sailing angle.  Then, it started working in harmony with a new cloud system that further distorted the wind patterns.  There followed several frustrating hours of continuously adjusting our course trying to keep the boat moving at pace.  Then, in the early hours, it all changed and the wind settled into a more North Easterly angle and gave us steady breeze.  Hooray!!!  We have now had several hours of these conditions which has restored our spirits.  Theia once again is surfing towards St. Lucia. 
Wind frustrations aside last night, we were treated to a spectacular display of stars, probably our best night at sea so far.  The planet Venus (one of the brightest objects in the night sky) came out early and a waning crescent moon rose up behind us, looking like a grinning cheshire cat.  Both stayed with us for several hours until the sun came up and forced them to retire as sunlight spread across the early morning sky and, once again, brought its warmth.  No photograph or description can properly do justice to a sunrise sea - it has to be experienced....
Theia's crew are all in very good spirits, helped by the improved wind conditions.  As a large yacht, with ample power-generation and water-making facilities, she offers considerable comforts compared to her predecessor, Little Pea.  Readers who know him will be delighted to learn that Mike is now coming around to the idea of washing onboard, a departure from what he is used to - a condition brought on by many years of sailing on smaller race boats with limited (or sometimes no) sanitation facilities on board.  This said, it is hard to change the habit of a lifetime so progress has been slow.  We also continue to remain hopeful for the change of boxers as well.  Iain, in the meantime, has also now thoroughly adjusted to life aboard and even helmed for a while today.  He has completely mastered the art of using a toilet a sea and appears committed to putting this newfound skill to use with great enthusiasm.  Unfortunately, his daily ablutions do have a tendency to render below decks uninhabitable for about an hour each day, but we've managed to incorporate this into the boat's daily routine and plan around it.  There is now a sweepstake running as to whether Iain has brought some of Arlo's dog food with him and is secretly eating it at night.
As for the rest of Theia's crew, Minkey continues to provide endless high quality ingredients from the ships' larder and we have continued to eat like kings since we slipped our lines in Las Palmas.  Last night consisted of green curry chicken followed by apple crumble - not half bad!  His other attributes include, hating Christmas music as much as Ben, tutting at people who eat Haribo, before then consuming his body weight in the sweets himself and coaching Iain through day-to-day life on board.
Ben and Mark have finally got around to using the sextant and so we are now, in theory, using old-style navigation techniques to help us get across the watery desert.  After several hours of mathematical calculations this morning, they were delighted to confirm that (a) we are somewhere in the North Atlantic and (b) are generally heading in a westerly direction.  All aboard were very relieved to receive this confirmation.  Stay tuned for more on their navigational exploits.... 
Theia Crew
Today's "firsts" for Iain
Cooking a Thai red Curry
- Drinking a glass of wine at sea
- Taking the helm
Daily Stats
Max boat speed: 13.4kts
Dolphins spotted: 0
Whales Spotted: 0
Gybes: 0
Flying Fish on deck: 0 - animal bingo is lacking somewhat at the moment
Buckets of vomit: Het