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Spirit - Day 5 Close Encounters!

Recovering from an evening of excitement and tension when the spinnaker pole broke at 19.30. All hands on deck as the jib flapped in high winds. Crew brought everything under control. Just as we thought all was OK the instruments failed with no readings for wind or speed. Skipper Alan was fast on his feet removing the instrument panel ably assisted by David. Between them the problem was solved so Ian could regain control at the helm. When order was restored, crew tucked into Mike's delicious meal of rib eye steak with thyme infused saute potatoes.

In the calm of the early hours, new crew member Stewart {fishing ROD} came to life. Something VERY big was on the end of the line. Much discussion about how to bring in this big fish resulting in a sophisticated system of lines around strategic points of the boat culminating in Mick, Mike and David heaving for all their worth. As if this wasn't enough excitement a 3,000 ton Chinese cargo ship was heading toward us on collision course. Comms man David made several calls on the ship's radio and finally got a response in broken English. They agreed to turn to port, collision was avoided and we were able to return to the important task of fishing. Jenny thanked the Chinese crew for complying with our request and received acknowledgment. Much to her surprise, the Captain switched channel and asked questions about our boat and its crew - particularly any female members! Jenny responded politely using correct radio etiquette but after a while she thought the Chinese accent sounded vaguely familiar. She looked on deck to see James with the hand held VHF and everyone else in fits of laughter. Jenny was caught hook line and sinker. Which was more than we could say for the big fish which sadly got away having chomped away at the lure. Consolation prize was a flying fish which landed on the foredeck. We didn't realise James had Harry Potter powers as an owl swooped alongside us - yes an owl in the middle of the Atlantic!

The sun shone in a cloudless blue sky and we all relaxed for a while soaking in the warmth and letting George {autopilot} steer Spirit through the following sea. Our first contact at sea with another ARC yacht - Spirit of Phantom. After a brief chat they headed south of us. Their fishing experience was similar to ours. But we have faith in Stewart who will no doubt prove his worth. The lemons are waiting....

Back to work repairing damage from the previous evening. Ian came into his own mending chaffing on the main sail. Alan wanted to go up the mast to resolve a problem. But with dusk fast approaching he met with mutiny from the crew who said it was too dangerous. Frustrated Alan standing on the bow suddenly got drenched by a wave. Neptune's way of calming him down? After a change of clothes, Alan concurred with the crew and main sail was taken down. Still flying along at 10 plus knots with only the jib. Just another day at sea......

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