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Emily Morgan - Day 15 - Flexi time

Sunday 5th December Noon position (Ship's Clock) 16 degrees 08 minutes North; 50 degrees 46 minutes West. Day's run 185.4 nm

As we had now travelled 35 degrees westwards it was time for our third 25 hour day. These extra hours are needed to adjust our body clocks and to align the Ship's Clock more closely with the time of the local sunrise, noon and sunset. Without these regular adjustments we would be 4 hours out of synch by the time we arrived at our destination.

The morning began with a clouded sunrise and a series of squalls visible on the radar. Using the radar as a weather forecast tool was novel to most of the crew and it had proved very useful. Squalls appeared as green patches with yellow and red centres on the dark radar screen and sometimes it was possible to plot a course to avoid them. We successfully altered course to avoid the worst of these ones. The wind rose rapidly from a force 3 to a force 7 and the wind shifts associated with the squalls were contrary to our planned course. Was another gybe necessary? We sat back with Anna's delicious banana bread and a cup of tea to consider the issue and decided against it.

The wind settled into a steady Easterly Force 4 to 5 for the rest of the day. It was another lovely day for sailing with sun, warm winds and moderate seas. At noon we used the sextant to take a sighting and began the calculations for a sun-run-sun. This is a traditional method mariners have used for centuries to determine their latitude position. Try balancing a sextant in one hand and adjusting the readings with the other while simultaneously lining up both the sun and the horizon on a continuously rocking deck. Anna and Bones are proficient doing it at sea but for the rest of us, it was a far different proposition to doing it on land. When you've finally got your sunsight, doing the calculations using the altitude tables in the Nautical Almanac is head wrecking, but we'll persevere. Only a few days left to get a grasp on astro navigation.

Before our Sunday dinner, roast pork followed by lemon granita (thanks Todd and Anna), we put in a gybe. With Brody's steady hand on the helm and Alex and Elizabeth on the foredeck it was a relatively speedy manoeuvre. With our current progress it seems we'll be in St Lucia on Thursday!



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