ARC competitor Julian Sincock with latest from the British Swan 51 Northern Child 2/12/06

Daily Log No.7 Northern Child
DateSaturday 2 December 2006
Position20.33N 28.44W

Over the last 24 hours the wind has continued to build up from the east and is now blowing a steady and useful 20 knots. This means that we have been able to point pretty well straight at St Lucia and have had a pretty good run.

The sun has continued to shine on the worthy, with the temperature down below decks hovering around the 30 degree centigrade mark. On deck we are now sporting our bimini – a cover on a stainless steel frame, to keep the sun off the helmsman and the watch in the aft cockpit. Our main problem now is avoiding sunburn! Which isn’t the same at all for Dave E’s family – an e-mail from back home in Canada last night told of snow, ice and temperatures of -26 degrees!

During yesterday afternoon we continued and finished our sail repair on the big running spinnaker. After a lot of work by Dave A and Henri, they came off watch and the sewing was finished off by Kathy. Finally with the repair looking good and strong, the watch on deck wooled the sail and it was ready to go up. As did the wind; so we decided to stick with the smaller spinnaker! But it’s there, repaired, waiting for a calm day to go up, and there’s plenty more days left on the trip.

On board with us we have Kat, otherwise known as Kit, Kitty, Kitty Kat, and also Kathy. Kitty Kat has done all the provisioning for us and is cooking on the way over the Atlantic. A keen cook, she manages to produce enough for double the crew each meal, and in addition came up with an inspired desert last night – cooked bananas in the oven with melted mars bar on top and whipped cream; all right, not low calorie, but hey… we’re suffering out here. Kathy is helping on deck and has become general gopher and fixer. It is up to her to ensure that the boat is in fantastic condition when we arrive in St Lucia. A very enthusiastic sailor, she is always around when the sailing gets exciting!

Thinking of bananas, we perform a daily chore – rooting through all the fruit and vegetables that we bought in Las Palmas. Most is kept in the sail locker forward and the root vegetables in the aft lockers. As we go west and south, the temperatures continue to build and so the fruit and veg start to go off. Finding the one rotten fruit in a tray saves the rest for later. We have had a wide range of fruit on the trip so far, with pineapple, mandarins, apples, mangoes, oranges, kiwis and bananas. The bananas are just starting to reach the end of their life expectancy, and Kitty Kat has promised to do Banana bread with the remaining stock.

Just after dark last night we managed to twist the spinnaker around the forestay, but after a 20 minute fight we emerged victorious with the smaller kite intact, back on deck and back in its bag. The wind having got up during the afternoon we made the decision of sailing overnight with two headsails instead of the spinnaker much easier. Over the last 24 hours we have managed to sail 178 miles, and with the current wind holding we are hoping for another better 24 hours to come. Have a nice weekend – we will!

A bientot, Julian