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Northern Child - Daily log #11 - 1st December

Daily Run towards St Lucia - 202nm
Daily Logged Miles - 217nm
Distance to Go - 863nm

Lunch - Spanish Omelette with Waldorf Salad
Happy Hour - An Assortment of Cold Meats; Palma Ham, Chorizo and Salami
Dinner - Jerk Chicken with Pea Rice and Homemade Pineapple Chutney

Wind - 20 knots from the ENE

A Pinch and a Punch for the first of the month. (No returns)

St Lucia is now on a bearing of 265 degrees true this is the course you read off the charts and corresponds to a course of 282 degrees magnetic. The Magnetic Variation right now is 17 degrees. Charts show North as True or Geographic North. A compass can only point to Magnetic North,
so the difference between the two is called Variation. In the English Channel from East to West the Variation is only 1 to 3 degrees so most sailors can almost ignore this when passage planning. If we ignored the variation and set a course of 265 we would end up in Venezuela not St
Lucia, 300nm out.

For any non nautical folk; a nautical mile is 1.15 of a statute mile. To be precise, a statute (or land) mile is 1609m whereas a nautical mile is 1853m. This is because the length of a nautical mile is derived from the average circumference of the Earth. This is divided by 360 degrees and the then each degree is subdivided into 60 minutes and a nautical mile is the distance of one minute.

Back to the sailing. The exciting sailing conditions over the past 24hours has seen a number of records being broken. Rolf in a gusts of 25knots managed to surf a wave at 15.5knots. Not once but twice. James followed suit surfing down a wave at 14.8knots. Saba dropped to third place at 14.4knots. Currently the top 3 surfing records are all held by Richards watch so they are leading the surfing competition overall.

First thing in the Morning, Lucy secured in a bosuns chair was hoisted to the top of the 70foot swaying mast by Chris and James with winds gusting 24knots to retrieve the spinnaker halyard left up there when the head of the spinnaker exploded yesterday. You could see her swaying to and fro as the boat rocked from side to side with the waves. We all looked on in complete admiration as she retrieved the halyard and was lowered down again.

After all of this we haven't used a spinnaker at all today as we have been averaging 9 knots all day which is at the top end for Northern Child. The spinnaker would not add any more speed just complication and hassle for the helm when a gust comes through or a wave catches you on the quarter. It is safer to sail with poled out headsail as we can furl it away quickly if the wind builds.

Last night saw another pivotal moment where we now have less than a thousand miles to go to St. Lucia! We have not seen any yachts or shipping for the past four days. Finally last night we spotted a
commercial vessel which thankfully was heading east and in the opposite direction to us.

With heavy gusts last night and excessive power in the main sail, it was becoming a challenge to helm with people being thrown around in their bunks and periodic juddering of the rigging which is not conducive to a restful nights sleep. So we decided to put in a reef, once again in the dark. Richard was at the helm, with his watch scurrying around the deck; releasing the halyard, pulling on the reef line and securing sail ties. Just like an well oiled machine it all went to plan. After that we were all given a helming coaching session by Lucy. Northern Child is a thoroughbred and needs to be treated as such with the lightest touch on the helm. It worked! She sailed beautifully throughout the night,
gliding gracefully through the water.

Wildlife Watch: Even more flying fish and lots of yellow seaweed

CREW PROFILE - James Murray, Senior VP for Sales EMEA at Autonomy James decided to do the ARC because he had a life time ambition to sail the Atlantic. He wanted to use the time away to reflect on life, plan for the future and develop his next ambition to sail around the world. Within the next year James is planning to complete his Yachtmaster, charter boats in Croatia, do Cowes week and possibly sail in the BVI's this winter with his sons. Within the next 5 to 10 years he hopes to
purchase his own sailing boat. I've also noticed that he's been getting into celestial navigation on the night watches. James is hoping that David will catch a tuna so that he can make some sashimi to complement happy hour.

Lucy & NC crew

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