Sailing should not be like this, flat sea, 15 knots of warm breeze and shooting stars

Date: 31.05.03 UTC: 1300 Pstn: N 26.57, W 054.59 Track: 060 Wind: ESE 10-15kn Wx: Sun Cloud: 2% Bar:1019 Air temp: 28C Sea temp: 29C 24hr run: 147nm Current BS: 7.6kn

A moment I think I have just experienced a defining moment in my sailing career. After a delicious meal of freshly caught Wahoo and pasta and nearly three hours of unbroken sleep, I stepped into Firefly’s cockpit at midnight last night to find us screaming along at over 8kn, like the proverbial TGV. With the sea flat from the previous four hours of windless calm, the now warm 15kn breeze was driving Firefly along her exact rhumb line to Horta, with such indecent haste that I couldn’t help feeling slightly guilty – rather like buying yourself your own box of chocolates.

Sailing really shouldn’t be this easy, should it? As if to punctuate what has to have been one of the best night sails of my life, a spectacular shooting star streaked overhead through the star filled night sky like the ending of some corny 1950s Hollywood movie. As we sliced through the dark blue water, a creamy trail of phosphorescence wake was the only clue to us ever having been this way.

At 0300 I went below to raise Ross for the dawn watch. He was more eager than ever to get on deck as he’d been lying there listening to the bow wave gurgling past his bunk. He came on deck and we stood staring at the sky and listening to the boat’s motion through the black water, without a word passing between us. As the need for sleep finally overcame me I turned to go below, but as I glanced towards Ross to bid him a good night, I’d swear the big man’s eyes were misting over.