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Mischief - Log Day 13: First day of the month, Wash day and under wear etiquette plus reasons for choice of wine

1 December 2017 0925 position 15 deg 33.4'N 036 deg 40.1'W

A really good night last night boat speed-wise but sleep-wise not so good; we are rolling a lot as is quite usual in these parts but it has been hot and humid below decks which has not been too pleasant. We have realised that dropping the sprayhood prevents the wind scoop effect which drives cooler air into the boat so we have learned that particular lesson and now keep the hood up - much better.

We have been cracking along at around 270 degs (due West) with East to North East 10-15 knot winds sailing at night in shorts and T shirts plus the compulsory life vests during night watches. The moon leaves us around 0400 and has been almost light enough to read by. It also highlights squall clouds which can easily be seen but once it goes down beyond the horizon it becomes completely black and those squall clouds become ominous and difficult to pick out, so we need to be cautious. Our present rig of boomed out Code 0, full main and genoa can quickly be reefed and gives us effectively the same speed as the spinnaker which needs all of us to handle if we need to get it down. For this reason, and past experience, Neal is allergic to spinnakers and mutters no end should we ask for it to be set.

I awoke in the saloon this morning to Neal baking the part-baked baguettes and cooking bacon for breakfast. Not a bad start to the day. I gave Alf a 'pinch, punch, first day of the month' and he wondered what on earth was going on - more radicalisation of our Finnish friend. Wendy had her bacon roll and washed a few of our T shirts for us but politely draws the line at our drawers. Oh well, I have two clean pairs left and about eight days to go which works out perfectly - first day wear as normal; second, back to front; third, inside out; and fourth day, inside out and back to front. Two pairs, eight days. Done.

Looking at the weather grib files we have stronger winds filling from the South and weakening to the North of our position. Our best compromise is to soak down to about the 15th parallel (presently at 15 deg 34') We could do with a bit more North in the East North East wind we have which would help but the boat is going nicely and we have averaged about 7.5 knots over the past 24 hours. We have really been rocking and rolling this afternoon as we generate a bit of surfing on the larger waves and continue along at between 6-9 knots. The boat is effectively sailing itself at the moment on self steering although the main sail occasionally de-powers over a wave and slaps forward against the mast spreaders with some force which makes you wince but can't really be completely avoided without pointing up over our course.

Everyone has been sitting reading or in Neal's case rolling cigarettes this afternoon under the sun canopy as it's been a bit hot in the sun. I gather its freezing in the UK at the moment, shame. Neal manages to make about 20 cigarettes in a go but tends to lose a few en route to the smoking area - the back extremity of the boat and I reckon he manages to smoke about 17 of the 20 losing the others over the side. It's one way of cutting down I suppose. His lighters are also prone to unauthorised swimming and he is running low on them now. His lighters tell a story in themselves as to which bars or clubs he has been in so maybe it is really him getting rid of the evidence!

I went to get some onions this afternoon from the aft locker and there lay another dead flying fish in the cockpit drain - they leap on deck and find their way into any old nook and cranny where they proceed to rot in the sun and in no time at all absolutely stink. It's at least the third one we've found hitching a lift.

Tuna Spaghetti for tea tonight with capers, sun dried tomatoes, olives etc plus half a litre of white wine. Now, whilst doing the provisioning Dave bought the cheapest and nastiest cartons of white wine you can possibly imagine, not because they were cheap and the purpose was to cook with it, it was clearly a ploy to stop me sampling it as chef's privilege. Really is horrid stuff. At least I assume that this was his motivation and not that he personally quite liked it, if so please let someone else chose the wine when we are next out to dinner.

Well that's it again for now - lets hope the wind stays up tonight and we continue to make this speed and more.

Hi Ho!


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