The story of ARC Europe so far could not be more different to the outward journey in Nov with ARC 2011. The 900 mile first leg from Tortola to Bermuda took six days on a course almost due north, a leg necessary to escape the northeast going tradewinds of the Caribbean for the more favourable southwesterlies that are generated around 35N. Hanami II is currently about midway through leg two - Bermuda to Azores - with about 1000 miles more to run. As we're currently heading east, this feels most like the return crossing of the Atlantic before the boats split up in the Azores - one group heading on to Portugal, the rest heading north towards France and the UK.
This leg has been a constant challenge from day 1. The ever present beam sea has made the usual onboard tasks somewhat more interesting with the need to constantly hang on or risk diving headlong across the cabin; the wind has frustratingly shifted through all points of the compass and is currently blowing at a steady force 4 and contrary to all our satellite produced weather forecasts - directly from the east - but do we care, not really. The only real set back so far is our lack of fish.
On the journey out we on average caught a decent sized Mahi Mahi every three or four days - more than enough to supply the crew with a supply of sushi, fired fish, fish curry and all the other variations on a fish theme - but not this time. For the loss of a small fortune in tackle we have caught exactly one barracuda for about four weeks of effort - and that was released back from whence it came due to some unpronouncable fishbourne desease that apparently makes your teeth dance around in their gums and then your knee caps fall off! So dinner tonight is likely to be an experimental mix of pasta and something from our seemingly bottomless supply of canned food - chiili and artichokes for example, or maybe chicken curry with baked beans! Or, just hang on a minute - how about something tuna based - maybe we'll get the last laugh after all - happy days!