As the crew heads west, daylight GMT hours get later and later

180nm covered in 24hours. Average speed 7.5 Knots
Position at 12:00 UTC 5 December 2009: 15.02N 55.55W

The photo was taken this morning at early-o’clock – sunrise! Only the watch keeper was awake – the rest of the crew were asleep in their bunks. 05:30 or 06:00 you may well think – but no – it was 10:04am. ASOLARE is running on UTC (GMT) and as we head west our daylight hours get later and later – thus daylight is now about 3h30m behind boat time. For those not on watch – early breakfast comes at about 11:00am and the evening meal about 9pm with the setting sun. This combined with our rotating watch roster and disrupted sleep patterns leaves the crew wondering if there will be any jetlag (or boatlag) once we arrive in St Lucia. Since leaving Las Palmas most crew members manage a 3-4hour sleep each night and try to catch a few hours by day. So a few rum punches followed by one good night’s sleep on arrival in St Lucia will put us all squarely on to St Lucian time.

Having held his nerve overnight and kept our Ghoster flying the skipper decided to swap it for the Parasailor again with the prospect of stronger wind. The crew are now operating as a slick unit and sails were down and up again within 35 minutes to the satisfaction of the skipper. These predicted winds have so far failed to materialise so our speed has noticeably dropped overall. To be fair, however, the more experienced members of crew have not sailed with such consistent Trade Winds before and our novice has come to believe that 8 Kts is a normal speed for a yacht of this size. So the weather has remained fair although a brief respite from the sun came mid afternoon with our first and probably only significant rainshower. Peter and Stephen were immediately into their swimming togs and standing out on deck lapping up the refreshment. We refrained from breaking out the shower gel which was just as well as we would have been covered in suds when the rain stopped. We remain on course for St Lucia and are seeing more birds and finally the odd sail having spent a five day period being the only people in our patch of ocean.

Food is still of a high standard with no major losses on the fruit and veg front. Sallyanne’s latest batch of home-grown yoghurt was turned into pesto dip, carrot and garlic dip and banana yoghurt. As it was Saturday the skipper opened a nice bottle of white wine and declared the evening meal to be a feast. Clare made some very tasty Potato rosties as a starter, Mark proved himself yet again to be a culinary wiz and made seared tuna with crushed black pepper, pesto cous cous, Dijon mustard boiled eggs, lettuce and tomatoes (yes our last lettuce to survive!) with a garlic and chilli yoghurt dip. For dessert Sallyanne used up some of the struggling apples and made apple crumble and custard. The crew then retired up on to deck together to admire a glorious starry night. With a couple of hours until the moon was due to rise the night sky was as crisp and bright as in any desert and the milky way was an amazing swathe of light to our North.

By Stephen and Sallyanne (and Crew Peter, Mark and Clare)