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Mary Doll - Day 7 - Tick Tock

We’re doing 3 hour ‘watches’. For me that means being on duty - up top in the cockpit looking after sails,wind, etc - from midnight to 3am and 6am to 9am. So, generally get off to bed early evening, get up just before midnight, do the watch, back to bed for a few hours then up in the dark just before 6.

Benefit is that I get to see the dawn each day which, as we go West, gets later and later, today it was around 0800. In next few days its likely to be nearer 0900. We haven’t decided yet whether or not to change ‘boat time’ to make a more normal day, e.g. dawn at 0730 and sunset around 1900. Think it might get way too confusing for everyone if we start messing about with times … we’re a simple lot!

Broken sleep not too difficult to deal with - we take naps during the day. But Ive been press ganged by my very considerate crew to get a full 6 hours sleep for a couple of nights. Apparently Ive been looking a bit tired. That’s what they say, but maybe they’re just bored with what I see as my interesting and entertaining chat?

It’s very good of the others to send me off to bed, I do feel the benefit of it next day.

There is always something to do onboard, the days fly by and before you know it we’re preparing for the night watches.

We’ve been keeping in touch with other boats around us via VHF radio. Fewer and fewer of those as we all spread out over the Atlantic. But we’ve made some new friends including crews aboard Misty Mhor and Maaru IV. Always good to hear that others are relatively close by and doing similar things to us. Then we drift apart .. almost sad to separate. We’ll no doubt share a few drinks and a few stories when we get to St Lucia.

There’s also a daily long range radio session which keeps us in contact with boats that are further away. Good to keep tabs on where everyone is and what weather etc they have. We appear to be broadly in the middle of the pack of boats going across … not that we’re being competitive or anything!

Hoping to rise up the pack as we get more wind behind us. We switched off engine last night and have been sailing ever since … a good 125 mile run downwind at good speeds. Great to give our trusty engine a good rest, not to mention burning less of the 1 200 litres of diesel we had in our tanks when we left Las Palmas.

We’ve gone from very little wind to quite a lot - cannot complain. But, just as she did en route from UK to Spain, Mary Doll has taken everything totally in her stride. We feel very secure in her care.

I missed the opportunity of taking a shower whilst the weather was benign. It’s tricky trying to keep balance whilst showering, avoiding ending up in a soapy heap on the shower compartment floor. Sorry for that mental picture. All other crew managed to shower. They’re staying up wind of me.

We were entertained by a large school of dolphins this morning, 30 or 40 of them putting on a show. Almost as though they were showing off, leaping out of the water, twisting and doing somersaults … synchronised no less!!

Other fishy friends have also visited, often a few flying fish on deck in the morning. I guess they were flying along minding their own business when they landed on our deck, then couldn’t get back into the water. They must get a hell of a fright when they hit the deck, similar to the fright we get when they land in the cockpit, frantically flapping and wriggling for dear life.

I wonder how the famous Heart of Midlothian got on today. Hopefully avoiding recent decline in performances and results. Is that guy Neilson still in the manager’s job?!

Looks like my watch coming up, best go get the matchsticks ready, but they don't half ache the eyes after an hour or two.


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