ARC competitors Northern Child roll through the Atlantic singing happy birthday as they go 28/11/06

Boat nameNorthern Child of St Peter Port
OwnerJulian Sincock
Boat designSwan 51

DateTuesday 28 November

Position24.54N 19.41W

As I sit here at the chart table trying to type this log, working conditions at the keyboard have changed dramatically. There is quite a large swell coming down from the north, causing a large slow roll on the boat. With our biggest spinnaker up, we are powering along the ocean swells; this does however make typing and cooking more interesting! The whole chart table is rolling away from side to side, pitching up and down in the fore and aft dimension and trying to push me off the seat. Never complain about working conditions at the keyboard again!

Oh no, I stand corrected! Even as I typed those words, the quick release on the guy on the tack of the spinnaker came open, leaving the spinnaker flying downwind in 25 knots of wind! A well-drilled crew meant it was easily pulled in and a team is currently wooling it to put it back up again! Just goes to prove how up to date these ramblings are!

Organisation of the yacht at sea: we have a large crew on board which means that we can run Northern Child efficiently 24 hours a day. We have organised the crew into two watches of five crew each, named Port and Starboard; both teams have a volunteer watch leader, who has been volunteered by me! Slightly more experienced than the rest of their watch, we have Dave C in charge of Port and Richard in charge of Starboard. The two watches take turn and turn about, doing 4 hours on at night and 6 hours during the day. Night watch times are 1800 – 2200, 2200 to 0200 and 0200 to 0600, whilst the day is split down into two shifts from 0600 to 1200 and 1200 to 1800 in the evening.

Our goal is simple – to sail the Atlantic. This means no autopilot, hand steering all the way, and no engine, which can be slightly frustrating in the calm patches! We are expecting a calm patch in a couple of day’s time as a low heads up towards north Europe, trailing behind a trough from north to south right across the front of the fleet. How we come through this weather feature and out into the trade winds to the west of it will determine our rankings at the end of the Rally. Once through the trough it should be a 1500 mile drag race in good trades to the finish off Rodney Bay – should be!

Birthdays come but once a year, and yesterday it was Ian’s. Amidst awful renditions of happy birthday, our cook Kat had made a birthday cake and Ian was presented with a box of milk tray by the girls – a gift that we can all share with him! The champagne wasn’t chilled enough, so it has been delayed until later today; you can’t drink warm champagne even on the Atlantic! Progress has been good – not fantastic, but a solid good. We have sailed some 177 miles across the ground for a total of 169 miles made good towards St Lucia in the last 24 hours – very respectable. Having been heading south west, we were gradually headed overnight (the wind came further round on our nose) and we were forced to gybe at about one this morning. Our current course therefore is out to the west and we have managed a solid 7 or 8 knots all day, although the wind has come down a little in strength now. Following lunch, we will get the big running spinnaker up again for a fun filled afternoon of sail trimming!