Atlantic crossing 18

Sat 16 Dec 2006 12:59
Cant believe I wrote that snivelling weak kneed drivel yesterday, I was just
feeling a bit tired. I woke up with me dander up, mad as a junkyard dog.
I'll show this pair of smelly would-be pirates who's captain of this ship.
Irrefutable signs of mutiny are starting to appear, Alex left a rotten
banana in my boot, sure evidence that he is losing respect for me. They
laugh openly now because I cant catch a fish, me, the man who caught the
Black King in the millpool in Truro when he was only eleven. I think Victor
is sore because I said that, far from looking like Burt Lancaster in
'Buccaneer' as he thought, with his three week old beard, he looks more like
Gabby Hayes in 'Up yer Ponderosa' The nut and bolts of pecking order and
respect are slowly coming loose.
Friday.......started off well, brisk breeze until lunchtime, excitement that
the miles were disappearing quickly under the keel, optimism boiling merrily
in the galley. Helped Alex to do a Pasta and Ham surprise, except that we
all had a hand in it so not much of the latter. Laying replete after wolfing
it down, sweating quietly in our bunks listening to Alex practising
pentatonic scales on the guitar, they don't exactly light you up but are a
distraction from the pots and pan cacophony, we were aware of a change in
the movement of the ship. Don't move is the rule, perhaps Alex will think
I'm asleep and go up on deck. No such luck so up I went. The wind had
changed direction totally, old James the windvane flapping about wondering
what was going on. We were in the centre of a 'mushroom stem' as I
described it earlier, a mile wide column of whirling air and moisture,
extending down from a huge towering cloud. The wind gained strength and
heeled Thisbe right over, the twistle rig is only designed to sail almost
directly downwind so I quickly disconnected the steering gear and let her
run before it. Our original course was 287 degrees which hadn't altered in
days, now we were tearing along at 7kn on a bearing of 340. The crew started

bawling for the washboard as the rain was pattering down through the hatch
getting the poor dears wet. They slammed it in and closed the hatch, leaving
me shivering outside. Alex looked me in the eye as the gap slammed shut and
I knew I had him. I know that look, sure enough, just as the rain was about
to take my breath away he opened it a crack and asked me what I reckoned. I
wyngeingly said I only had one pair of hands and couldn't reef the sails on
my own, he replied, 'wouldn't it be easier to dry yourself off than my coat'
which I was trying to hold around my shoulders against the sting of the
pounding rain. The unwashed dishes were in a bowl sliding all over the
cockpit sole, the boat was pounding into the waves coming from the
unaccustomed wrong direction, the rain so heavy you couldn't see your hand,
blinded by water and self pity I clung on to the tiller, the wind making a
funny roaring sound and changing direction every two minutes. Alex came up
on deck and shouted down the hatch for a piece of soap, he then proceeded to
have a strip shower. We eventually wound in the sails, started the engine
and forced the boat back onto her original course. It sure aint over till
the fat lady. Everything back in some kind of order, we settled old Thisers
down for the rapidly approaching darkness. The squall hung around for
another hour, the wind slowly returned to normal, but very lacklustre, we
have been running ahead of a 3 to 5 knot breeze, with the engine running,
all night. As I write, Saturday am. mileage is down to 160 miles, the
fambles are still in Gatwick with a 24 hour delay and praying we don't
arrive before them. The little canal leading into Rodney Bay marina has to
pass close to the 2 for 1 bar, they have been dreaming of standing there to
welcome us for so long that anything less will not do. Looks like the dream
will come true, timings are working out for a Grand Passage past the two for
one Sunday afternoon, Perfect.