Full breakfast, freshly baked bread for lunch and roast chicken, spuds and three veg for supper - life is tough on the good ship Firefly

Date: 2.06.03

UTC: 1300

Pstn: N 30.09, W 050.12

Track: 070

Wind: SE 10-15kn

Wx: Sun

Cloud: 10%


Air temp: 28C

Sea temp: 28.2C

24hr run: 165nm

Total miles so far: 1,059nm

Rhumb dist remaining: 1,169nm

Curr bs: 6.9kn


And a most pleasant Atlantic weekend for Firefly and the wandering beards it was too. With the boat sorted and running well, much needed time has been spent on the well-being of the crew. Shorts, crunchy with salt, have been peeled off bodies and left to coagulate in the heads sink, along with spaghetti sauce splattered T-shirts and other unmentionably unpleasant items of attire. Bodies have been suspended over the taffrail and liberally sluiced down with buckets of seawater – after removing the fish guts from the bucket that is (I think so anyway). Then the minutest amount of freshwater is trickled over the head to rinse off with – necessarily miserly due to the fact that when the freshwater pump is pressurised, it leaks water into the bilge via a dicky joint quicker than we can use it. We are even considering pouring washing up liquid into the bilges and doing the dishes below sea level. We could soon be recycling the shower water to make tea – on second thoughts, maybe we’ll just dehydrate instead.

Still tramping along at 7-8 knots close-hauled means we are now black and blue all over and have one leg shorter than the other, like mountain goats. But, being English, these minor anomalies are faced with a stiff upper lip, and of course a tirade of appropriately crude expletives.

Full Sunday English breakfast was, of course, served on the veranda by B3, including crispy bacon, eggs, fried bread and beans. A man of my own heart is Ross – and stature too for that matter. Then it was on with the bread maker for B1’s fresh lunch sandwiches. A decidedly overdue fridge clear out meant Stew could go mad on the fillings – salami, ham and cheese topped with Branston of course! Sunday walk was a little samey after the first ten minutes, but the sun blazed down, the sea looked bluer than ever, and we all swapped books for the regular afternoon performance of ‘read one page, snooze ten, read another, snooze another?’ until thoughts inevitably turned to tea.

Nought but a cup of rosy and a wedge of Mrs Beard 3’s finest fruit ballast would do on such an auspicious day. Just how we’ve managed to eak out Debby’s giant survival cake this long must only be due to our lack of enthusiasm for wielding sharp objects on our violently careering platform. A little snooze was of course in order after such an exhausting procedure, after which thoughts turned to supper.

I foolishly volunteered to do battle with the galley, offering to produce roast chicken, crispy roast potatoes and parsnips, cauli and sweet corn with no thought for my own personal safety. After all, this was the last of the fresh food and I wasn’t about to let it go unnoticed. Furthermore, it was wine day – an event only occurring once every three days in order to drag out the meagre six bottles of vino we foolishly limited ourselves to when provisioning in Antigua.

So, after a two-hour battle with the oven, Sunday dinner was served just like Mum makes – only gravy would have pushed my good humour over the edge I’m afraid, and besides, it would have only ended up the same way as the spaghetti sauce – in the shower bilge with the unwanted beard hairs.

So that was Sunday from Firefly, mid-Atlantic, with just another 1,170nm to go, 57 beers left between us, but four days of motoring diesel still in the tank should both beer and wind decide to evaporate before we catch sight of Horta.