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Freedom - Blog 20 Friday 8th December 2023

Editor: Stu the Glue.

Hello to you all from Freedom, approximately 90nm from the finish line in St Lucia.
So that the skipper can do the “Final” Epiblog, I have been asked to put down some thoughts for you.
I will start yesterday evening, it was a beautiful sunny evening, the 5 of us were sat in the cockpit just before dinner, spinnaker flying, 16knts of wind with Chris reading the daily blog reply’s and messages to us from his pull pit. I must say at this point, a huge thank you to all of you who have taken the time to send a message or reply to our daily blogs, it really has lifted our spirits and has become part of our daily routine listening to them being read out. Another superb evening meal was presented from the galley by Ian and we settled in for what we thought would be a nice sail overnight.
How wrong we were, another very difficult night, frequent rain clouds and resulting wind squalls, the wind range was anything from 8 - 30knts and from pretty much every point of the compass. Difficult to keep Freedom moving at times and unfortunately we had to put the engine on for a couple of hours as we were only sailing at 1.5knts. At the time of writing, the wind has returned to the forecast direction but only at about 10knts.
Other things to report; there was an incident yesterday at lunch time between Simon and a rotten pepper, but I cannot ‘grass up’ a fellow shipmate and he did very generously let me have his chocolate biscuit after I lost at spoof almost two weeks ago, I will let the skipper make an editorial comment if he thinks it appropriate.
So we are almost at the end of this epic voyage, nearly 3000nm sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, I am sure that I will feel elated and a huge sense of pride once we all cross the finish line, but as was the case when we had completed our passage from Plymouth to Bayona, it took me a couple of days for what had just been achieved to fully sink in, I’m sure it will take me a couple of days for this all to sink in properly.
I have done a lot of Dinghy sailing, and almost 36 years sailing dinghies on and off with Chris but before Chris and Ian bought Freedom I had done very little “big boats sailing”…..just need to stop here as I am being shouted at to help put the spinnaker up….
I can report the Spinnaker is up and flying without incident…. I had not done any passage sailing, hadn’t even been offshore so, to hopefully be able to say I have sailed the Atlantic will be an incredible achievement for myself, Ian, Simon and Nigel. Chris sailed the Atlantic back in 2013, how fitting that this is his 10 years anniversary and he will have completed it as skipper.

There is a sense of anticipation and excitement amongst the crew, maybe it’s because we can all sense how close we are to the finish, I however think it’s because the now legendary Ian Whittaker spaghetti carbonara Is on tonight’s menu, of all the meals Ian and Simon manage to produce this is my favourite, hopefully we can enjoy it in relative peace and quiet and not during a spinnaker drop!

The guys said that I didn’t have to follow the format of the last couple of blogs but it doesn’t seem right not to.

Simon, I am not sure when or if our paths will cross again after this trip, but I have really enjoyed meeting you , getting to know you and sailing with you, firstly across the bay of Biscay and secondly now. You are great company, I love your laid back Aussie attitude, thank you for all your lunches, cups of tea, and meals that you have produced.
Nigel, as you mentioned in your blog we have holidayed together in the past, mainly skiing, but as I have been replacing you on watch we have been able to spend some time together during our cup of tea and snack handovers, you are a top bloke, always available to help, always positive and definitely someone you want around on a yacht, the energy that is Nigel is very powerful!
Chris and Ian, firstly thank you both for taking the plunge and buying Freedom together, I know it has not been without its challenges, but I have had some amazing experiences both on and off the water, and that would not have happened without your partnership. Thank you for allowing me to be part of project Freedom, allowing me to be part of almost all the decisions, including me in your thought process, life for me without my late wife Hayley remains difficult, but your inclusion in project Freedom has helped and for that I will be eternally grateful to you both.
And finally to Freedom, a 42 foot sailing yacht that has got us all the way from Plymouth, down through Spain, Portugal, Madeira, Gran Canaria and now 78nm from St Lucia, thank you for looking after us all.
So that’s it from me, sat here writing this blog at the chart table in 28 degrees of heat, it seems strange that Christmas is just over two weeks away, so I wish all of you reading this a Happy Christmas and New Year, hopefully you will hear from the skipper tomorrow to confirm that we have competed our passage.
And remember “not all treasure is silver and gold”

Best wishes to you all, take care.

Dependable Stu.

PS. Ed CJ: We have received a marvellous offering from Mr Tim Worboys (college friend of Ian) which we have greatly enjoyed, so good we thought we should include it in the blog see below ..He was a poet and he didn’t know it!
(Tim we were impressed you knew about the nakedness and Whits farting…have you got a secret web cam on board? However, your arithmetic left a bit to be desired so there has been a small edit….there are 5 of us on board!):

In the vast expanse of the Atlantic's embrace,
A boat named Freedom sails to a faraway place.
With five brave souls on an adventure so surreal
Their tales to their love ones simply adds to its appeal.

Co-captains CJ and Whit lead the way,
Guiding Freedom through long nights and day.
With General Nige always laughing at his foredeck's post,
Working so tirelessly, and fully engrossed.

Aussie Simon guards his Granola amongst much protest,
and fishes the Oceans with little success
And finally there is Stu, the glue to this seasoned crew,
A font of wisdom with knowledge so true.

Oh, Freedom's voyage, a daring quest,
From Grand Canaria to St. Lucia with a crew undressed .
Living their dream with the odd cheeky fart,
They sail as one, never to depart.

CJ's recycling system, a marvel to behold,
Capturing man’s waste in bottles so old,
While Ian, the master chef of the seas,
Crafts delicacies amidst an aromatic salty breeze.

Through tempests and stars, they dream and endure,
Their spirits unwavering, steady and sure.
Each one a pillar, in Freedom's epic tale,
Their unity, a strength that will never pale.

Oh, Freedom's journey, a testament so grand,
Through trials and triumphs, hand in hand.
Their recycled dreams and savoury cuisine,
Means they sail ahead a resolute team.

Days turn to nights, nights blend to days,
As Freedom sails through endless ocean haze.
Their camaraderie is something to truly behold
With stories and memories that should never remain untold.

With every sunrise, a promise anew,
For these five souls, are the ARC’s no 1. crew.
Their banter and songs drift on the salty air,
Such bravery, freedom, and friendships so rare.

Chapeau to Freedom, the brave boat's name,
A symbol of courage, amidst the ocean's claim.
With CJ, Whit, Nige, Simon, and Stu,
A legacy sails on, forever true.

Oh, Freedom's odyssey, a tale so grand,
From Grand Canaria to St. Lucia's far away land.
With recycled dreams and culinary art,
They sail united with a bond that will never depart.

Sent from my iPad

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