Firefly, 29 November 2001: The name of today’s game is hunt the log book

Firefly, 29 November 2001
26° 07 N 27° W
Distance to St Lucia 2,038 miles

The name of today’s game is hunt the log book. This, together with the notebook in which we had faithfully been recording all the weather data went missing yesterday in the fracas following the ‘incident of burning wires’. By the time the boat was back together (and bear in mind this is rocking and rolling along in 25 knots of breeze with 8 – 10ft seas) the duo had done a runner.

We have checked in lockers, under bunks, in the fruit nets and even in the bookshelves with no luck. So today, we try again with high hopes. After all, it took me over an hour yesterday to find the Yanmar engine handbook and its wiring diagram to try and track the electrical fault only to find it where it should have been – in the bookshelf.

Night watches – yuck! Last night in particular when the wind got up – gusting to 30 knots – and veered 20 degrees it kicked up a diabolical sea. Not so much big as confused with big peaks off the top of which we crash, sideways, before Firefly picks herself up, shakes herself off and carries on with the business of sailing, faithfully tended by the Autohelm 7000.

Meanwhile heads pop up the companionway either to enquire solicitously about the watchkeeper’s health or to ask him what the f*** he’s doing. So you can imagine that sleep, once again, is short. The upside is that we are covering some serious distance, with two fix to fix runs in a row of over 180 miles.

Judging from the fleet position reports we are the most northerly boat but the benefit has been the distance made direct down the wire to St Lucia. However, with last night’s windshift, the chances of the Azores High-fuelled north easterlies petering out and the ever-present threat of Olga lurking away to the west, we decided to gybe this morning and go and see if we can find these fabled Trades I remember so well from last time.

Oh for clear skies, 15 knots across the deck, smoother seas and the odd Dorado hauled on board for supper! But before then we still have to chew our way through two legs of lamb, four packs of chicken and one of mince.

Bon appetit!