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EH01 - Day 11

Day 11 already – we continue to make good progress with about 700 miles to go and hope of arriving in St Lucia on Monday next (Day 15). We have been lucky to have had fair winds and the prospect of a fast passage. So what has been the ARC experience for us so far? A peaceful sail downwind or something more challenging? Discussion on this during the quiet hours of the night watches produced a fair consensus – living the watch system over an extended period of time is a challenge. There is an ordered rhythm to life but sleep in three hour intervals leaves you short on nights where you have stood two watches or been called up on deck to help with a sail change. Sailing in these latitudes brings mild conditions but also twelve hours of darkness. And somehow, more things seem to happen at night – 01.30 today brought us our first squall (and rain!) with all the attending organised chaos of spinnaker down, jib up and an opportunistic gybe. Much of the day seems somehow taken up with preparing for the next night – crew fed, kit sorted to places where it can be found in the dark, ready bags of clean clothes repacked. So the ARC challenge seems to be one of stamina, of keeping the rhythm going, the log turning and gradually becoming more professional as a crew as we learn to sail through the night with the spinnaker up and stars to help us if we are lucky or our (lagging) instruments if we are not.
But then the trade-off: the beautiful evenings when the sun shines but is not hot, the waves seem somehow calmer and kinder with the boat surfing away under us. And a beautiful dawn, the stars fading, Venus shining bright and the prospect of bed after another night mastered.
And thoughts of home – Happy Birthday, Carol! v

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