Thankfully next watch for Colin & Callum was more consistent winds; more conducive to a better sleep. The waves were still rolling in, but by now ‘Antoine’ the AI Autopilot had full competence to smooth out the big boys, with a delicate power drift off the top and anti-cork-screw manoeuvre. This hasn’t always been successful, however, with everyone picking up a few injuries here and there. Damage report includes me slamming my back into a door handle (at the exact point of previous back pain), Callum headbutting the fridge door and Alan throwing hot tea all down his belly. Still, we are all surviving, getting used to the conditions and staying relatively sane and not too grumpy (apart from me of course – on both fronts).
At least we managed to catch our first fish; or probably more accurately, it managed to catch us. A kamikaze flying fish decided to commit hari-kari by headbutting our boat at full speed. Unfortunately, not quite the size we were hoping for fish steaks or even a bit of sushi. Callum is planning to get the rod out towards the end of the week when, hopefully, the weather calms down and the sailfish are hungry.
Today’s gybe was conducted to bring us back in line with Saint Lucia. Steady and systematic was the approach – roll away the jib, reposition the spinnaker pole, release the JAGS, controlled gybe on the mainsail, reconnect the JAGS, unfurl and set the jib, adjust sails for optimum performance – 20 minutes for total operation in lumpy conditions. We marked ourselves 6/10, but don’t want to peak too early!
24 hour progress – 174 nm – cumulative 1520 nm
With sails and course set, it was a leisurely afternoon activity-wise as it remained a bit bumpy. We were flying along though at over 11 knots at times. Alan’s plan to cook an exotic chicken sate with a subtle blend of herbs and spices was soon downgraded to a motion friendly vegetable risotto. It was still accompanied by the odd philharmonic crash and some choice nautical phrases as he slid from one side of the galley to the other. Jamie, meantime, joined the damage list with a full headbutt of the privy door – please to report that the door was ok. Supper was taken early and we enjoyed the view of rolling waves and white horses breaking into full gallop all around. No sign yet of the wind and waves dissipating.
It was a very clear night. Steady wind around 20-25 knots and no squalls for Jamie & my first watch. We had readjusted our watches to local time as we were heading west. Callum had joined us for some social intercourse and to take in the magnificent view of the stars. We spotted a very impressive shooting star; it may even have been a meteor burning up in the atmosphere it was that good! Make a wish – how about a bigger, more stable vessel, with a lovely jacuzzi on the deck to observe the stars in luxury?!? Our shift passed without event. There was even time for Jamie to give me a chess lesson. It wasn’t meant to be a lesson, but it was such a whooping that I learnt not to play him again!
Clive the cabin boy standing by…