Brian Thompson, watch captain aboard Cheyenne, reports on proceedings at yesterday's Equatorial ceremony

Brian Thompson, watch captain aboard Cheyenne, reports on proceedings at yesterday’s Equatorial ceremony.

So we have entered the Southern Hemisphere, and with a spectacular ceremony of initiation for Mark. We crossed around midday and Mark was summoned from his position in the cockpit by two apparitions from below, King Neptune and his helper Badger Bag, alias Guillermo and Damian. He was prodded with tridents, forcing him to the mast base, strapped him to the netting and proceeded to persecute him most vilely. It was one of the funniest scenes you could imagine, men wrapped in toilet paper pouring slops and Tabasco over Mark’s back, pushing a flying fish down his shorts and forcing him to put a squid soaked in yet more Tabasco in his mouth. I must say Mark took it very well and was a worthy initiate. We hope this has satisfied the gods and they will now grant us a safe passage.

The other event of the day was a sea change in fashion as most of the crew take on the moustache and goatee look sported by Guillermo. Even Adrienne joined in for a while with a black electrical tape equivalent. At the end of the trip we are planning a spot the Guillermo competition.

Just before crossing over the line, we had the wind shift from the NE Trades to the SE Trades, the skies started to clear and a swell from the SE arrived. The doldrums passage was very smooth, only a couple of squalls that slowed us slightly, otherwise we kept up close to 20kts of boat speed throughout. The previous night the Trade Winds were up to 20kts and shifting ahead with a lumpy seaway, so we reefed down to one reef and the staysail. The morning passed and the wind started to back a little behind us and made good speed down the course.

We have at least two days good sailing ahead, perhaps three, before we are forecast to run into the weak and expanding South Atlantic High. Between Adrienne, Steve and the shore router in the USA, Commanders Weather, we are trying to come up with an optimum route through this area. Fortunately for our record attempt Orange also had a slow run at this point so even with a mediocre run we should be able to stay up with the record pace. Currently we are 80 miles behind Orange, approximately four hours of sailing time.

Gear on deck is a mixed bag, some going for being hot in full foul weather gear, others going for the cool but wet option of shorts and t-shirts, and some with a combination of the two. Wildlife tally has been low again today, a couple of dolphins briefly visited us before the equator, and Nick spotted a bird he thought was a Shearwater. As we get into colder water things should become more interesting..

Will keep you posted, Brian