Julian Sincock with more tales of seasickness aboard the ARC Swan 51 Northern Child 4/12/06

Daily Log No 9 Northern Child
Date Monday 4 December 2006
Position 18.30N 35.14W

Ho hum, another day in paradise – or not as the case may be. The wind has remained up around the 20 knot mark for the last 24 hours so the sailing has been hard and fun, with a good 24-hour run of 196 miles to add to our total distance from Las Palmas. The sun is playing hide and seek with us today, with a little bit of rain under some of the clouds.

The problem with the wind being up is that the sea hasn’t been calm, far from it. As we weave our way amongst the swells and waves, the boat experiences some quite abrupt movements which translate to – uncomfortable! It doesn’t seem so bad on deck as it does down below when you are trying to do anything that involves balancing.

Our resident cook, Kitty Kat, suffers down below as have her predecessors. Her job sounds great – I think I sold it to her along the lines of: Sail to the Caribbean, it will be fabulous, waving palm trees, sandy beaches, clear water and rum punches! However. A big however – we have to sail nearly 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to get there, and by the way, you will be cooking for 13 of us – ooops! The only way to not go totally mad doing the cooking on such a trip is to be totally organised, which luckily she is. She knows down to the last pepper or potato, what we will be eating when. We eat incredibly well; last night was chicken breast in a honey/mustard sauce with mashed potatoes and sweet potato, today I’m not sure, but I do know she will battle the sea and a certain amount of nausea to produce something excellent for all of us.

It is easy to feel queasy out here, as the ocean never really rests. The annoying thing is that it can happen to anyone anytime, and does. Nelson used to be sick the whole time, so I guess that he’s in good company. Seasickness sucks, it’s that simple.

Starboard watch under Richard had a fright this morning. Whilst discussing mathematical constants and transcendental numbers, (we seem to have an extremely intelligent crew on board with lots of degrees, masters and doctorates) a flying fish, all of six inches long, attacked them in the aft cockpit. You should have heard the shrieks and seen them move, more rapidly than for any sail change ordered by the skipper! Eventually the brave team, led by Brendan, solved the problem and picked up the monster of the deep with his little pinkie and threw it back into the ocean. Boy, do those little fish smell!

It’s not all sweetness and light out here, at times it’s real, it’s hard and it can be frightening. Challenging personal boundaries can be exactly that, challenging. As skipper, yesterday afternoon I made the decision to put up a second headsail forcing the watch on deck to dance on the narrow, moving, potentially frightening and frequently wet foredeck. Not popular amongst some of the watch! But, they did it, we achieved our goal and the boat felt better for it – faster and steadier. We faced the challenge, we succeeded, good work, boys and girls.

By midnight tonight we should have reached the halfway mileage marker. Roughly 1,400 miles sailed, 1,400 miles to go. It’s a long way to sail; a lot of the remainder of the voyage will be taken up with: When will we arrive! But, there’s still a way to go yet, adventures to be faced and friends to be made.

A Bientot, Julian