Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Slow Day

We're bobbing around 150Nm short of St Lucia. The wind is about 10kn
-just enough to keep us moving albeit not very fast. Air temperature
32.5 deg C; Water 25 deg C. We're all feeling hot! I can feel your
sympathy from here.

We're all looking forward to dry land tomorrow; although it will be
slightly odd moving out of our own little world into life with more
than 4 others around!

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Things we are looking forward to on arrival

Apart from the famed rum punch of St Lucia hospitality

Rob: an unbroken night's sleep

Jimmy: meeting Mr Sparkle (who does laundry at Rodney Bay Marina, our
destination in St Lucia). Not wetting his bed. Error, I mean not having
a wet bed (James sleeps right next to the watermaker which apparently
sometimes leaks a little when the end product is being tested)

Ben: A bed without a food locker under it, so your bed doesn't need to
be dismantled when foraging for supplies. Rum Mojitos. A cricket match,
and a hair cut

Fred: sleeping in a bed that doesn't try to roll you out of it at
random intervals. A kitchen that doesn't move, with cupboards you can
open and find exactly what you are looking for right at the front. Rum
Mojitos, and a hair cut too , apparently

Jo: A big green salad. A flushing loo. A long and still sleep.
Things staying exactly where you out them, just for a bit. The
colour green to look at (the seascape is very blue and grey, beautiful,
but a change would be pleasant!). Seeing the family when they arrive.

Injury to Wendy

You might think that we are a crew of 5, but actually we are 6. The
hardest-working member of the crew is Wendy, our Windpilot
self-steering mechanism. She needed a bit of training to start with,
but from about day 2 onwards she steered the boat for at least 80% of
the time, coping with big seas and strong winds with barely a
complaint in 2500Nm. Yesterday, however, she suffered an injury that
has put her off-duty until St Lucia.

For a few days nows, we've been passing lumps of seaweed. Yesterday,
the lumps became more and more common until we were regularly
ploughing through fields of the stuff. Poor Wendy, innocently waving
her rudder around at anything upto 10-11 knots must have hit one (or
more) of these clumps. A sacrificial shear pin broke as designed
saving major damage, but a push-rod has become bent requiring some
minor land-based surgery. So, it's hand-steering and autopilot for
the last couple of days of the trip.

An apology

While we are at sea we can post blog entries by email via our sat
phone, but we are unable to view the blog and see any comments or
questions that have been posted. So if you do post a comment, could
you also email it to

This has just been brought to our attention, thanks Alice.

The answer to the porridge club question is 1:3 (2 of water and one of
milk) and a 5 minute simmer for the best ever result.

When we arrive in St Lucia we hope we will get connected and will
be able to respond to any questions.

302 miles to go...

Monday, 10 December 2018

Our luxury items

We were thinking about life on Tintin, and discussing the luxuries that
we have that we really appreciate. We're more easy-going that 'Desert
Islands Discs, so allowed ourselves 3 each

Jimmy (travelling light - so only one item):
I couldn't survive without my spiky ball. The rest of the crew don't
really know what its for, but the relief it gives me as I roll it
around my bottom is immense. Like all good things on the boat it
serves multiple uses and I enjoy cuddling up with it at night and using
it as a stress ball after those rigging changes which didn't go quite
as smoothly as they might.

Rob: My 3 luxury items are:
Jo's noise-canceling headphones. Lying in my bunk I constantly hear
the noises of the boat; the creak of the halyard, the whine of the
water pump, the low hum of the fridge -all above the whoosh of the
waves. Occasionally it's really nice to turn all that noise off.

Chocolate - some people may know I like chocolate.

Enough fresh water to shower every day. It's good that when your wife
tells you that you smell, you can do something about it.

My noise cancelling headphones, when Rob isn't using them. I can be
transported to a serene and peaceful place by Clair de Lune, welcome
respite at times when it is all getting a bit noisy.

Lizzie's guitar. Even though I haven't managed to practice every day, I
enjoy the romantic notion that I might, and I could, and I can...

Ferry Hill Marmalade. Thank you Mum.

Ben:Soreen Sticky bread
Shantaram (a really good book)

Fred: Coffee
The hook for catching big fish (known as the 'granny-snatcher' in
homage to my mother)

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Sunday - 2nd Sunday of Advent

we've been at sea 2 weeks now, December is well underway. We've a
little set of Christmas lights and a tiny Christmas tree, but otherwise
it feels most un-Christmasy here. Clear blue skies, 30deg C, gentle
easterly - no drizzle, brexit votes or Christmas shopping.

With 1000Nm to go, the crew started to think that we were almost across
and thoughts moved to Rum Punches and watching West indies play
cricket. Now with 600Nm to go, the reality has dawned on us that it's
still a long way to go - albeit much less than before. However, we're
making serene progress and morale remains very high.

We're flying the double code-0 sail - now dubbed the stingray because
of its shape. We've found that by only using 1 pole, it sets much
better and provides better boat speed in moderate winds. Overnight
some boats reported frustrating progress in light winds, but the big
area of the stingray kept us moving nicely.

The Angling Society reconvened this morning after hiatus of 3 main
meals and 2 starters from the Wahoo. So far, no luck today. To be
honest that's fine with me (Rob) as too many consecutive meals of fish
would tax my diplomacy.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

700 to go

It is beginning to feel a bit more tropical as we continue west towards
St Lucia. The last few days have brought squally clouds with drenching
rain in the darkness of the night, and today we have less wind and
temperatures in the low 30s. As tempting as the cobalt blue waters are
that surround us, a swim right now wouldn't be clever: it would be very
difficult to stop the boat and the ocean swell would make climbing on
board a tricky challenge (and I will admit that in my head there is
always the thought of what might be lurking in the thousands of metres
below us...)

We have been visited by a group of 3 white longtailed tropic birds.
Imagine a dove with a sleeker shape and one long feather in the
middle of the fan of tailfeathers and you will get the picture. They circled us a few times, giving the impression they might land on
the top of the mast but then thought the better of it. After some very
elegant coordinated flying they squawked and continued on their way,
wherever that might be.

We have not had any whale sightings yet, but on the radio net
today from another yacht reported that they were followed by a whale
15 m from their boat for over one hour yesterday.

Our "new normal" is to be out on the ocean with no land or boats in
sight, our days paced by the rhythm of daylight and darkness, watch
patterns, meals and looking after the boat and each other. All will
change again when we reach land sometime in the next several days, wind
permitting. We are eager to arrive but equally not wishing this
incredible time away.

All is well.