Caylie Jeffery reports from 15 of the ARC aboard Steamy Windows 10/12/06

Log date 10 December 2006
Position N 13 30, W 45 30

Day 15 of the crossing, and we have passed a few important milestones. At the halfway mark (1,500NM), we celebrated with Champagne and caviar on deck, which really boosted our morale, but unfortunately made us all a little grumpy come watch time – nice champers though!

Carol had never tried caviar before, so something new for her (although the look on her face was not 100% ecstasy!). Yesterday came the ‘1,000NM to go’ mark- we didn’t do anything except put bigger smiles on, which has done us all a world of good.

Last I wrote, we had been hand steering for six days. Well, finally the wind and waves have relaxed a little and Brittany (Steers), our autohelm, has grudgingly relented and started doing her job again. Some excellent advice from Blackwattle (thank you Ted and Nancy) had us drop the mainsail and fly a poled out genoa for a night, and this gave us all a much needed rest. Speed has dropped slightly, but we are better rested now and haven’t steered for two days.

Big news is that Carol and I washed out hair on deck yesterday – yes, I know it may seem small news to some of you, but if you had seen what rats’ nests we had, you would have smiled in appreciation when you saw the happy result. It took some well-organised pouring and bucketing, even though Simon did lose our best bucket overboard and we had to use the fish bucket! Fortunately, we haven’t caught a fish yet, so the bucket was still smelling Ok.

On the fishing front – we are abysmal – haven’t even had the line in yet, although we hear so many stories of ARC friends catching huge mahi mahi and wahoos. However, the flying fish have taken a huge liking to us, and one landed in the skipper’s lap yesterday as he slept on deck! Much hilarity by all as we watched him freak out, which was cut short for me when he used my hat to catch the little fella and throw him back out to sea. With freshly cleaned hair, I have relegated this hat to the anchor locker with the refuse, and am NOT happy with the skipper!

It has been 10 days since we’ve seen another boat, and we eagerly await the net chat each day for some company. Yesterday, we were all shocked to hear that a yacht about 230NM away had lost one of their two crew overboard. It wasn’t an ARC boat, but there were some ARC boats nearby who were en route to help when last we tuned in. There have been broken rudders, snapped masts and various other issues this year that have made life difficult for some crews, but the MOB is the one that chills us all to the bone. We wear MOB lifetags (like watches) that set off big alarms and take a waypoint of the position if we fall in, and the skipper insists on us clipping onto lifelines before we go on deck so we are safe. Now we just feel worried for the MOB, and hope there is good news today.

Bacon and eggs on the menu, as it’s Sunday today. Day 10 on the Cadbury’s
advent calendar (and it’s my turn), so only 15 days until Christmas. 903NM until St Lucia, which means we’ll be there in less than a week. And we are all safe and still sound (despite the odd cranky moment from any of us when we lose whatever we’re cooking on the floor because of all the lurching).

For the time being, Team Steamy is in good shape.