Asolare sets her own personal best assisted by the fairly constant 19-22 knot winds

220nm covered in 24hours. Average speed 9.17 Knots
Position at 12:00 UTC 01 December 2009: 17.49N 41.03W

220 Nautical Miles! Asolare is rocketing along and has set her own ‘personal best’ assisted by fairly constant 19 – 22 Kt winds giving us speeds in excess of 9 Kts for extended periods. The highest wind speed recorded in the period has been 26.9 Kts and the fastest speed which was set on Mark and Sallyanne’s watch at about 0315 was a killer 11.7 Kts!  

Lighter airs made for a slower start but then the wind picked up and Asolare took off! Our mad dash was interrupted at 0845 this morning (1 December) when we lost one of the sheets on the Port Clew of the Parasailor.  The sail was now hanging on by the secondary sheet and we had to do running repairs. All hands on deck and the sail was down, rectified and back up in about an hour. While this sounds simple the wind was strong enough at the time that it required all our strength and gave our forearms a real workout to haul down and then re-hoist all 180m2 of sail. At the same time we took our Spinnaker Pole in from the Starboard side as the wind had changed direction and that had meant a night sailing as close to the wind as we dared.  Having to change the sheets gave us the opportunity to release us from the wind’s grip and we are now bouncing along at similar speeds as before.  We will put out the pole on the Port side later in the afternoon.

We also picked up a passenger today.  Sallyanne had had to go forward during the night and noticed what appeared to be an owl sitting between the anchor winches. Daylight revealed it to be an Egret – good spot by our ornithologist Clare – who clearly was lost being 1300 miles from the closest land. Once it had woken up it was surprisingly tame, strutting along the whole deck surveying its new home. Our Dorado was not good enough for it, nor was water and eventually it flew up to the solar panels at the stern, avoided the wind turbines and launched itself in the direction of the Americas.

We are halfway across the Atlantic now, the position on the chart looks far more promising now that there is clear water between us and Africa and the Skipper, who is well chuffed at breaking 200 nm for the first time today, has a bottle of fizz in the fridge.