After the exhilarating speeds in the big winds we are back to reality with the wind down to single figures and our speed, overnight at least, down below 4 knots at times. We had a good day under the Parasailor yesterday but our policy is not to fly it at night so we have reverted to the twin poled out Yankees which is less powerful but much more manageable.
As the crew becomes more familiar with the process the time taken to make the sail change has improved but at a best time of half an hour so far (better than the original hour) there is some way to go. We imagine that some yachts will be resorting to engine power which is allowed but penalised in the standings. We are determined to finish under sail but if our lack of progress threatens to take our time outside of the 5pm Sunday deadline, we will have to review our policy.
Changing sails on the foredeck I was annoyed to find black footmarks all over it and initially accused the crew. We have been contending with the yacht being smothered in red/brown Saharan dust but the only explanation for the black marks is that we took a squid on board in the big seas (this is not fanciful as I have found squid on deck in the past) and the black is from ink secretions. So it’s out with the brushes and deck wash pump today.
Yesterday`s light winds and quiet seas were disappointing after our previous day`s progress (now there is a sentence I never thought I would write ) but the Parasailor was making the best of the wind and looked very smart, unfortunately there were no other boats to marvel at our beauty .We only cast our lines on a few occasions as Barry had promised us a spaghetti bolognaise (which was delicious I would add ) and I did not want to steal his thunder (well that`s my excuse). I will update you dear reader with a report on the wildlife we encountered (not including the Skipper) There were squadrons of flying fish, a brace of Bridled Terns (sterna anaethetus ) and Barry swears he saw a Magnificent Frigatebird (fregata magnificens). To my surprise I spotted a moth flapping about the mast and I am sure I was not hallucinating (Barry said it probably escaped from Bob`s wallet, which was rather harsh). The night watch passed uneventfully with sea mist and cloud obscuring our vision. I turned in only to be roused seconds later (or so it seemed) by the Skipper beating to quarters for the launching of the prasailor, deep joy.
All crew remain in the peak of condition. Sick parade once more deserted.
Last night’s middle watch was another rather boring affair with low wind speeds and smooth seas. We saw no other boats at all and with only one small cargo ship registering on the AIS we were left to marvel at exactly how extensive the sea is. I am not sure what the middle watch is doing to our sleeping patterns, but it seems that I sleep exceedingly well between going off watch at 04:00 and being rousted out by the skipper compared to the period between supper and being rousted out by Barry at midnight! The early morning activity of dropping the twin Yankees and deploying the Parasailor certainly clears any cobwebs from the crews’ sleep deprived brains, but, conversely, does little for the skipper’s demeanour as we stumble around the deck. Ho hum!
Barry is exhausted after cooking an excellent ‘spag bol’ last night.