Southern Child – Daily Blog 10 – Under 1000nm to go

Christmas Caribbean Rally
Midday Posn: 17:41.020n046:16.209w
Wind: E 18 – 25knts
Sea: E 1 – 2m
Sails: Main, 1st reef, Poled out Genoa.
Top Speed: 14.1 knts, Mark.
Good Afternoon folks,
Today we have two quotes for your delectation: firstly, said of the skipper trying to unwrap a ‘celebration’ chocolate – “its like watching a monkey with tools…” (Charlie) and second, when the skipper proudly announced his top speed of the watch as 13.1 knots (Genoa and single reefed main), Debbi responded “I can get that with the storm jib”.  We hope you enjoy those as much as we did and don’t think that we don’t have the utmost respect for our skipper.  Clearly we do, it’s just that he leaves himself open to these things so often.  And so to business…
Charlie and I have undertaken to write this blog together, so as to provide a combined watch analysis of the trip so far.  As bunkmates in the forepeak we are a united team, sticking up for one another during the inevitable inter-watch rivalry (well, I stick up for Charlie at least) and not being jealous when the other watch gets all the good stuff going on.  Last night it was Charlie’s watch’s turn to have some fun; coming on at 2100, Debbi (Sailing-Master-in-Chief) decided that the Storm Jib was no longer required and so with little ado, D&C headed forward to remove it.  We are getting pretty slick at this: with Annette and Marta in the cockpit and the skipper on the wheel (not doing 13.1 knots), a sail change (well, a small sail admittedly) is now proving well within our single watch nighttime capabilities – something which simply wouldn’t have been considered a week ago.  We must be making progress.
We are firmly past the 1000NM mark – it’s more like 800 and something to run now – and although the wind isn’t quite doing what we’d want just yet, it is due to veer to a more easterly direction meaning we can head straight for Antigua, hopefully getting in for New Year (although that is an ambitous target).  The achievement of the 1000 miles to run, meaning that we’ve completed over 1500 miles, has hit home and we feel we are getting within shouting distance of our destination although we do also recognise that 800 odd miles is still a very long way to go and most of us couldn’t swim it.  We are keeping an open mind regarding our final approaches, and are remaining positive that we are still in this race, particularly if we can claw back a few hours on our two leaders over the next few days.  They shouldn’t rest on their laurels!

 

The wind has maintained a good 18 – 25 knots over the last few days, gusting sometimes to 30 – 40, which has proved challenging, even for experienced helmsmen like Heike, and Charlie has finally broken his no wind jinx and helmed in 30+ knots, which he enjoyed immensely.  There have been a couple of pretty wet moments with squalls coming over in strange cloud formations – last night’s was a kind of undulating cloud which was low on the water at either end, elevated in the middle, with the rain in the middle and towards the leading low end.  It was a strange sight and I rather wish I’d taken a photo.
Debbi’s watch is progressing the night-time charades.  Apparently Annette’s improvised “Ace Ventura Pet Detective” was quite something and I’m afraid I have failed to see how on earth you would act that out in the cockpit of a relatively small yacht.  Or a relatively large one for that matter.  She did though – impressive, if you ask me.  Less so was Debbi’s attempt; seriously – pointing at the sea and pointing at Charlie hardly counts as acting out the film ”WaterBoy” but as she rightly points out, at least everyone got it.  I wonder what tonight has in store for them.  No doubt Charlie will act something out which has comic teeth…
Nearly forgot to tell you all about supper; Thank you Lucy for a lovely bolognaise which Debbi reconstituted with pasta and cheese.  She didn’t even take the credit you’ll be pleased to hear.
We hope you are all enjoying turkey curry and the Christmas Sails (see what I did there…?!). 
With love and best wishes from us all,
Mark, Debbi, Charlie, Helen, Annette, Marta, Marina & Heike.