Skyelark of London - 6. A surreal world
6.A surreal worldIt is ridiculous to jump happily into the deep end of a swimming pool but feel apprehensive about diving into the ocean when the bottom is around three and a half miles below - but you do. There is no real increased risk but the mind plays tricks. Diving off Skyelark into a calm peerless ocean caught one's breath. The water was a perfect temperature, there were no nasties around - sharks or Portuguese men of war - and it was a bit saltier than expected. But the blue was not just on the surface but if you opened your eyes under water, the brilliant all encompassing colour stretched down to the infinities below. The apprehension was justified; we were intruders into a new and magical world.That day the grey over cast and squally weather had gone and been replaced by. read more...
Skyelark of London - 6. A day in the life of an ancient mariner
2.50 am. alarm goes off.Who in their right minds would choose a month's holiday where every morning the alarm goes off for amidnight, 3am or 6am watch (depending on which watch you are on) to ensure you get out of bed, climb into probably yesterday's clothes and then spend three hours in the cold and dark with someone you have just met?And the word bed is a bit of an over statement - mine is a shelf in the saloon above the seating area. It is six feet long, two feet wide and only two feet high. To get in, as there is a metal pillar in the way, I have to hunch up my legs and roll. Once in, apart from being in very public view, it is so narrowif I want to turn over I have to wake up and adjust my position. Hermann, my current watch dancing partner, is well over six feet tall and broad with. read more...
Skyelark of London - 5. The Enchanted Isle
5. The Enchanted Isleby our resident Blogger -TimAt 9am on the 17th St Helena appeared in grey outline on the horizon. Good progress had been made overnight with Sjaak at the helm.Arabela were just getting in and advised of strong gusty winds of up to 40 knots as the trade winds scythed around the island.Dan cooked pancakes to get us set up for our arrival. Options were to reef down or down the main and go in on the foresail. Choosing the latter we had a good run in and moored on buoy 16 in the harbour at around 3pm. Owl and Tulla Mhor came in later that evening. But if it had been a race - and allowing for handicap and engine time - we are confident we knew who had won. Beers all round.St Helena is one the remotest islands on earth - 1,200 miles from African Angola and 2,000 from. read more...
Skyelark of London - 4. St Helena Ahoy
4. St Helena ahoyBefore Skyelark left Cape Town there was a get together for those in the ARC 'fleet'. The party continued in the bar of the Cape Grace Hotel afterwards. The evening strangely is a blur, meeting interesting people -mainly 'more mature', from everywhere, and great conversations. So it is hard for me to put names of people to boats. Although not a race as all the boats are different lengths, shapes and sizes, there is a bit of a handicap system so we all know roughly where we should come. On paper Skyelark should come about 7th of the 11 - but Dan likes to punch above his weight. Speedy Russian Arabela,30 miles ahead, is the fastest - having to get to St Helena 15 hours before Skyelark to truly win! On Owl, 'Bill, from my home patch of the UK north east, is 20 miles behind. read more...
Skyelark of London - 3. Birthday Kite
3. The Birthday Kite'Fish'.'Fish' Went the excited cries. Having not got off watch until 6am,I jerk awake and quickly bend double to get out of my bunk, no mean feat,and rush on deck to see Dan reeling in another tuna!Dan is 36 today (12thJanuary). Dan is a mature, quiet, safety conscious man but there are timeswhen the little boy within is apparent - this is one of them;he must havebeen a very engaging, possibly quite demanding,toddler! He was literallybouncing with joy. It promised to be a memorable day.The fish was duly gutted and cleaned and with our breakfast bacon and eggsandwiches in hand, we sit down to discuss the day. The wind is behind us at12 to 16 knots, the sea is relatively steady, the sky is over cast and thetemperature a perfect 28 degrees. A good days sailing beckons.It. read more...