Southern Child – Daily Blog 6

Caribbean Christmas Rally Day 8
Posn: 22:02.018n034:05.300w   
Daily Run: 192NM
Wind: ENE 18 – 22knts
Sea: E1.5m
Top Speed 13.9knts, Mark
Ahoy!
So, despite a delayed start and a couple of slow days, we are now back on track, with the wind at around 20 knots (give or take 5 knots either way) and our progress making fine time.  We are increasing our lead on the ones behind (I think we are third at present) and closing the gap between us and a larger, fancier boat which is currently about 150 miles ahead.  We remain optimistic that this lead will decrease significantly over the next few days, not least because the fishing line which has now lost a third lure, is no longer streamed behind, giving us an increased speed of some 0.01 knots (thanks for that calculation Debs) which, over 1000 miles is 10 miles and that is not to be sniffed at – it could be the difference between winning and not!  Which is, of course, why we (well the Southern Children at least) are here.
The sun has finally arrived as well.  The ‘shortest shorts’ competition has been won in style by Marina although Marta runs a very close second, the ‘dodgiest tan line gained in a single watch’ has been won by Charlie (we really didn’t think that teenagers wore wifebeater vests these days but he’s proved us wrong!) and ‘the most impressive bruise gained by shiproll ‘award goes to Annette – that one looks like it smarts a bit.  Truly, the sunshine is a welcome addition to our voyage.   I don’t know what the temperature is at present, but I’m 99% certain it is warmer than the UK – sorry chaps. The sun appears to be bringing a small increase in visible marine life; Marina’s surprise visit by a flying fish (his radar must have been turned off and he smacked her firmly on the arm as he flew overhead) is about all the wildlife we’ve seen to date which is disappointing, but we are sure that better things are to come – apparently, the closer we get to our destination, the more likely we are to see interesting things. At least, I hope so. 
Food – apparently this is what keeps blogs going as well as us.  Last night, M&M cooked up a stormin’ Thai curry and today’s lunchtime wraps were pretty darn hot too, despite some of us moaning about blue cheese.  However, considering that I requested a moritorium on mushrooms from the Sunday Brunch fry up, I guess I can’t talk.  We’re at the point where fresh food is beginning to run low – lettuce only lasts so long – so some imaginative cooking will be needed I expect.  That said, I sincerely doubt we’ll get through the vast fresh ginger supplies that are on board so the next set of people will have plenty of ginger tea to keep them from being seasick!
The skipper went up the main yesterday.  After conducting a mid-trip rigging check, his attempts to patch the sail in the middle (no easy thing) did result in his rather excitingly swinging monkey style out by the shrouds.  Although the majority of us on deck had our hearts in our mouths somewhat (mast climbing being relatively new for most of us), the Cheshire Cat Grin on his face as he descended some 5 minutes later was proof that he’d in fact had a whale of a time even if he didn’t get the patch on.  To repair the sail, we ended up lowering the main, slapping the patch on and re-hoisting.  This was less onerous than it sounds though – we took a reef out at the same time so it was little additional effort.
Morale remains high helped by the sunshine, our increased speed and the good news about our position in the race.  Charades on Debs’ watch continue and are assuming a distinctly Christmassy theme.  A rendition of the 12 days of Christmas today (complete with actions, I thank you <takes a bow>) had both Debs and I in fits of giggles and the remainder of the crew completely astonished at our childishness.  If you can imagine me trying to be a ‘lord a-leaping’ on a rather bouncy yacht you will start to get the picture.   Charlie on the helm was distinctly unimpressed and hand one had stretched towards the life buoy in case of a ‘man overboard’.  Fortunately it wasn’t needed.
I hope you all have had a super end of working whatever; you’ll continue to hear from us daily of course, but we hope that the festive season is now upon you and that you are all merry and bright.
With love and best wishes
Mark, Debs, Charlie, Heike, Helen, Annette, Marta & Marina