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Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Day in the Life - Part 4

17:30UTC 25/11/07 16'21N 038'29W Wind NE3/4

Well, that's another 130 miles down and now we are over halfway in terms of miles and, since the first bit was slow, hopefully we're way more than halfway in terms of time. If we keep 130 a day, we're there on Dec 4th.

Last night the wind shifted to directly behind us and we rolled so much that no-one slept well at all. Today has seen it shift back, the boat steady out and we're resting and recovering. Being Sunday, we're taking it especially easy and have just finished coffee (expresso + hot milk) and cake (the last of a particularly good one from La Gomera) saturated with evaporated milk.

We even saw dolphins briefly yesterday evening, the first for a few days so it's nice to know they are still around.

Ian had a report from home but he's not going to gloat about the fact that it's -27'C and snow flurries in Edmonton right now.

So here's the final part of 'Day in the Life', as I try to remember it....


'A day in the life of Ty Dewi - Wed 21 Nov 2007 - Part 4'

I wake from my snooze at about half past four and realise that it's time to send the blog entry, position report and an email home. I sit and write the messages at the chart table, which gently rocking back and forth but still a comfortable place to work. The position report is automatic, I click a button in the email software and it reads from the boat instruments to get time, position, speed and heading, then formats that and puts it in my outbox ready to go.

It's now time to send email. The procedure is the same as the morning, although I have a little more trouble finding a frequency - it seems that this is a busier time and radio conditions aren't great around now, they get much better after dark but I've promised to send updates before six each day so off we go.

As I finish, Dad's completing his cocktail creation. There seems to be a bit of a generation gap where cocktails are concened, us younger ones having a bit more experience of mixing odd combinations of ingredients to form bizare drinks, but Dave and Ed are catching up quick and getting more inventive with each turn. We gather in the cockpit to toast the day and chat whilst we sip - gin and orange today.

It's my turn for dinner, so I disappear pretty quickly to start preparation. This one is a greek salad omlette, according to the recipe. I chop red onion finely, making sure to time the slicing of the knife with the roll of the boat and avoid adding and fingers to the mix. Once the onion is sizzling in the olive oil, I break open ten eggs into a bowl which I've placed in the sink to be low down and immune form the rolling. Or so I think. As I open a tin of tomatoes and chop up some cheese, the boat puts in an extra big roll that doesn't tip the bowl, but causes the eggs to slosh and two yolks make a bid for freedom. I'm too quick for them; swearing heavily to slow them in their tracks, I sweep them up with a large spoon that I'd already placed nearby. Bak into the bowl and the whole lot goes into the big pan with the onions, tomatoes, cheese and some dried parsley. It sets nicely into a thick eggy cake, and I amaze the team by successfully placing a large plate over the pan and flipping it upside down, depositing a perfect circular cake onto the plat. It is cut into quarters and handed around. We open a bottle or red wine to accompany it and it's another good meal. Thanks Gesa, recipe goddess.

After dinner, Ed clears up and washes whilst Dad reads below. Ian and I sit in the cockpit and chat about a wide range of stuff, covering a lot of ground as usual and watching the waves roll by in their endless variety. We comment on how the waves are so mesmerising, we can watch for ages as the shapes morph and change yet stay essentially the same.

By 8pm it's almost dark and time for my watch. I get my lifejacket, it's still too warm for a sweater or long trousers, and stand on deck looking around. The sails are set well, the boats going as fast as she will in this breeze, and the horizon is clear of lights or dark shapes. I go below and flick the switch to turn on our navigation light at the top of the mast so that other boats can, hopefully see us and know which way we are heading. The light is in three sections - seen from behind it's white, from the left, or port side it is red, and the right, or starboard side is green.

Whilst I am at the switch panel, I put on the compass lights and make sure all our other lights are out, apart from anyone staying up to read. At night, we use red lights inside the boat for writing the log or looking at the chart, the red colour preserves our night vision for once we go back on deck.

I check the radar, and see that we have nothing within its twenty four mile range. That's good, I can relax a bit and sit at the chart table and write on the computer.

After half an hour writing, I take a break to go up on deck. Before going, I check the radar. No contacts. Up on deck, I stand and watch the waves, enjoying the power as the boat surges forward. It's not quite right though, a little slow perhaps, so I reach for the furling winch, carefully unwind a loop of the line and ease it out, allowing the sails to unroll a little more. Securing the line again, I watch the instruments as the boat speed leaps up from 5.5 to 6.1 knots. I do the usual mathematical games in my head - half a knot more is 12 miles a day, is 2 hours of sailing, is a day earlier at Antigua. Satisfied, I stand and watch again and even in the dark I can see the flying fish leap from the waves and escape this bizarre predator. Five minutes later I return to the computer and write this.

By 9pm I am decidedly sleepy. As Ian noted, you get to that point where if you were driving, you'd have to pull over and nap. I check the radar, go back to the cockpit and lie back, watching the stars roll above us. I doze lightly, standing to check the horizon every five or ten minutes until 10pm comes round, not a moment too soon. I go below, write up the log and nudge Ed. 'Your watch'.

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