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Skyelark of London - Day 15, Tuesday

We learn about 30 boats have finished and another 30 or so, us amongst them, are within 200 miles. With 2700nm behind us, we have just 180 or so to run. Our thoughts of spinnakers were dashed by continuing strong winds, 20-28 knots (F6) but the compensation has been some wonderfully fast sailing. Averaging 8kts, we have several times made the 200nm per day run. The night time squalls to 35kts+ bring torrential rain, but at other times we have had stunningly clear skies - although the moon has now left us.

Those behind us, even just 40 miles away, have had heavy daytime rain, but we have generally missed that weather, although 12 hours beating to windward into driving rain was an unexpected "pleasure". Overall, however, all credit to skipper Dan for his skilled reading of the GRIB files and subsequent weather routing.

Standfast the skipper, we have all load tested the main preventer (accidental gybes) but so well is the boat behaved that it has been only a really very infrequent event. Having said that, the ship lets us know who
is really in charge by arranging not infrequent cockpits full of water from breaking seas on the quarter, or even abeam. Getting wet is gradually ceasing to amuse, certainly at 03:00 in the morning. We remain mainly
under 2 reefs in the main, 3 at night, and part furled no2 jib, although this morning finally got down to just a single reef in the main.

Some may recall pi x radius squared as the area of a circle. Based on a visual horizon of say 6nm, our own little world has been about 100 square miles. How rude of another vessel to intrude! - the first sail we have seen
for several days. We start taking bearings, are they constant or clearing? Soon we will have to thinking again of close proximity coastal sailing.

There is a queue at the charging bay to charge mobile phones - who will be first to get a signal? Maybe the new definition of coastal sailing should be "within mobile phone range". Should we start to prepare fenders and
warps, maybe at 50nm or should we risk leaving it to 25!

Quote of the day concerns Phil's hand made on board oven hot fresh rolls.Q: will this bread keep until tomorrow. A: Stupid boy. (As if anyone would leave it to see.) Fresh food is dwindling, but we have enough, and plenty of oranges - not least because the large number of huge yellow grapefruits hand picked by your correspondent have embarrassingly changed colour and proved to be yet more oranges. After a whole week without bananas
withdrawal symptoms are setting in, and somehow even oranges have their limit of appeal but it is amongst your duty on the helm to eat yet another!

We should arrive tomorrow, Wednesday, forenoon or thereabouts, with land being sighted during the morning watch, DV (Deo Volente, God willing). This will have been a fast passage at just over 15 noon to noon runs. Start
pouring those rum punches.

Gerard and all aboard Skyelark in position 15 14N 57 56W.

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