Chris Ennis with the latest ARC news from Cascada

Date 8 December 2005

Time 0952

Position 13.55.637N/47.57.306W

Well, we are now 750 miles from the finish in St Lucia. In the last few days the weather has changed, and although we have good sunny spells during the day, winds have eased.

Our old course had taken us too far south, so we have tried to creep north for 24 hours. Initially this was not easy, but with a wind shift we have now been broad/beam reaching on starboard tack for 24 hours.

We have had a number of squalls and wind speeds up to Force 7 (35kts). We are heavily reefed, but will shake more sail out in the next hour or two. The night watches are very trying. The light vanishes at about 2100 GMT. And dawn breaks at about 0900 GMT. The last two nights we have not been able to see the stars due to the weather, and we have been surfing into the blackness at great speed, and considerable noise, with waves breaking around us. The course we are now steering should take us up the St Lucia beach late on 13 December, or early 14 December.

Power management is a continual problem. We rely implicitly on the autopilot, and navigation kit including the chart plotter. The fridge is now not used, and lights etc are kept at a minimum. We will be using the water-powered generator today to boost the batteries.

We are now nearing the end of our trip, and we are looking forward to our arrival at Rodney Bay. Apparently every boat is welcomed with photographers, and a rum punch. All three of us will be well-groomed, with immaculately coiffured beards, and clean Hawaiian shirts.

One more news letter will follow… to be continued

Chris Ennis