Today went by really quickly. I’ve been going through some of the old Vietnam movie classics that I’ve never seen over the last few days. I’ve now watched Platoon, Apocalypse Now and Good Morning Vietnam whilst Trina’s been asleep. In the afternoon we sat in the cockpit listening to BBC World Service podcasts I downloaded before we left. A boat called Axiom appeared on our chartplotter and radioed us up for a chat. They sounded like they were having a great time, 20m boat, 9 people on board. They were very amused to hear we were sat in the cockpit in penguin and dinosaur onesies. We’d previously had some fun with Aquila setting each other riddles and jokes, so we rehashed them with Axiom. It went down a treat. They gave us a run down of what they were having for dinner, steak. So we told them we’d be dining on beef supernoodles that evening. Great guys, great banter!
One of the riddles took them some time:
You’re a detective and you’ve been called to examine a dead body. There’s a dead man in a telephone box. The telephone receiver’s dangling off the hook. There’s a dead fish beside him on the floor, and his wrists are slit. What happened?
Another was from Ollie:
How does Moses make his tea?
(Remember this Eliza? 😀 )
Today we beat our 120 mile target by 6 miles. We’ve been speeding along watching the chartplotter record a top speed of 9 knots (SOG!) as we’ve surfed down waves (just for a millisecond). We reefed before it got dark as the wind was set to increase overnight. After our bowl of supernoodles and half way through a Mickey Flannigan show we had to reef again. Life down below has become intolerable once again. With wind and waves on the beam, you can literally lie flat on the settee, place your feet on the floor and let the heeling motion of the boat lift you up to a standing position with hardly any effort. There’s an occasional thud on the side of the boat followed by what sounds like 4 buckets of water being thrown over the cabin roof. With all this going on there’s not much you can do but read, sleep or watch a film down below. Excalibur’s long keel, and the Hydrovane take care of everything. All we need to do is move as little as possible. I did the washing up earlier, and it was literally a ball ache. Needing two hands to wash up, I had to use my pelvis to steady myself, occasionally trapping me Jules against the cooker. Agh!
I had a mini heart attack earlier when I woke up at 3am to come on shift. No Trina down below, no Trina in the cockpit. My heart skipped a beat and then saw her napping under a blanket in the saloon with one arm hanging out. The same has happened to her the other day, in the dark she pushed past me whilst I was grabbing a snack calling out my name, then called out to me in the cockpit. She got a fright when I replied from behind her!
Time to hunker back down and take a nap, we’re 1387nm from St Lucia, 11.5 days to go:)
We’ve become hermits for the day. It’s been pretty lively outside today. We spent the entire day watching films and doing as little as possible. We heard another ARC boat has lost their mast. LOST THEIR FUCKING MAST! and are asking if anyone can spare some diesel as they’re 500 miles from St Lucia and need to motor the rest of the way. We’ve got 48 hours of motoring fuel left and 1250 miles to go…
It’s 4am now. Trina said we’ve been doing a consistent 8 knots in 22kts of wind. We’ve got 2 reefs in the main still, and a scrap of genoa. Tomorrow night the wind is set to increase to a sustained 25kts, so we can expect gusts of 30kts.
Looks like a good time to try out that 3rd reef or the storm jib. I would have thought 7-8kts would be too much for Excalibur, but she doesn’t feel over pressed.
At night especially, you feel every movement and instinctively wake up if something doesn’t feel right, even if it’s not your turn to be on watch. Right now there’s nothing you can do but sit down below and hide away. The sky is black, the waves are loud, and the drone of the wind keeps you guessing whether the pitch will increase or die away. I don’t think we’ll get a respite from this wind until tomorrow. Could be another hermit day.
We’re still riding the Excalibur rollercoaster. There’s not much else to do but hold on tight. Our shift pattern has at least been working out OK. Around 11pm I get my head down for 4 hours. 3am we swap, 7am I go back to bed and wake up around 10-11am, and Trina then has her sleep until 2pm. Then we’re awake, sharing the suffering of a roly-poly boat.
I had a surprise today to find one of my shoes in the pots and pans cupboard, and my jumper stuffed into the utensil drawer with one arm hanging out and stuffed into the cutlery drawer in an attempt to lessen the clattering and banging as we roll from side to side
In the evening we set up twin headsails and got out the storm jib ready for these 25-30kts winds. One perhaps downside of there being just two of us is that we’re much slower at changing our sail plan. We’re more likely to set up a conservative sail plan for the night to avoid having to disturb one another. The downside to this is that we’re a bit slower to respond if the weather improves, as we generally don’t do anything until 2pm. Right now we don’t have enough sail up, and the storm jib is overkill but we’re still doing 5kts+ which is good enough.
Today’s been a busy day. Trina made Spanish tortilla, which given how hard it is to even stand up was a test of endurance, strength and patience. We’ve been regularly thrown around the boat all day long. I’ve nearly broken my wrist 3 times today when putting my hands out to soften a fall. They now ache.
I had my first shit in 4 days since this rolling began. Seems my body had gone into shutdown. I had the same thing happen on the trip from Lagos to the Canaries. It was like passing a long brown ferret today when normal services finally resumed.
On a more pleasant note, we reached the half way mark at 10pm between Cape Verde and St Lucia. We’d surpassed the half way point from the Canaries to St Lucia already, but as we had to stop off in Cape Verde this to me is psychologically more meaningful. By morning we’ll have under 1000nm to go.