Flat, sparkling seas, fast sailing and the clocks - and beer o' clock - go forward an hour

Log days 6/7


Date: 30.05.03

UTC: 1300

Pstn: N 25.20, W 057.09

Track: 063

Wind: SE 10-15kn

Wx: Sun

Cloud: 15%


Air temp: 28C

Water temp: 29C

24 hr run: 130nm

Current BS: 7.5kn


At last, now the seas have diminished, Firefly is able to show her real strengths. Her flattish sections, which can slam when overpressed in a heavy swell, now let her slip through the calmer waters with just the merest ripple, with seven point something a permanent feature on the log. We lost a bit of time last night as we ran into a system of squalls from which it seemed almost impossible to free ourselves without motoring for 30 mins to sneak out through a crack in the otherwise solid, ominous black cloud surrounding the boat.

But yesterday afternoon was one of those days when you can’t resist going forward to cut out all sounds bar the roar of the bow wave as you slice your way through the otherwise deep, deep blue water. On days like this obtuse ideas start bubbling to the surface due to the lack of anything that requires your immediate attention. My particular mental ramblings involved calculating, roughly, that we were in our own 1200 miles of ocean space in which we were in sole charge of our destination. No politician, policeman or Brussels bureaucrat could march over to us and start demanding conformity to some petty legislation devised by a quango of suits who rarely even see the sea, let alone move around on it. No lucre-loving harbour authority is going to come barging alongside demanding some obscure dues or levies, and no-one is going to stop us acting like prats if we so wish – not that we would of course, us all being from the old school of bearded mariners who lost touch with normality many years ago.

So, being entirely our own bosses allowed skipper Stew, aka B1, to order local time to be shifted forward by one hour in order to bring beer o’clock considerably closer. There now, that was simple wasn’t it – just a quick on board vote et voila! Now why can’t important things like opening hours be decided just like that back home, without having 276 pointless council & licensing authorities to come up with the same solution after spending copious quantities of poor old Joe public’s hard earned. Anyway, as we are rationed to just two cold beers per day (self-inflicted I might add), some of us decided not to comply, and to save the lunchtime ale for a veritable two-beer binge over dinner. (Especially as I was cooking couscous, which nearly caused a riot with B1 & B3, due to their past experience with school semolina). As it turned out, we now have two new couscous fans on board, despite the days’ beer ration being saved up with the sole intention of swilling it down as rapidly as possible.

Just as B3 Ross was about to settle into the dogwatch, taking over from a now wilting B2, Duncan, the stars disappeared behind a jet black band of cloud, down came the rain, and off went the skipper to bed, with a barely disguised chuckle. Bs 2 & 3 duly threaded their way through the melee without too much of a dousing, and even got away without having to drop a reef in – something to be avoided at all costs when the skipper, who resides aft under the winches, has gone to bed.

So here we are, still on Firefly local time, sun shining, smooth seas, breakfasted and about to use our first shower allowance of three during the crossing, whilst the bow spume creams past the portlight at over seven knots, and on course too!