Countdown time for Team Eleutheria blasting towards the ARC finish line in St Lucia

Date6 December 2005

PositionNorth Atlantic / 14.26.80 N; 47.29.20 W

With about 784 nm to go to the north end of St Lucia, we’ve been blasting along with winds lately about 17-22 east north-east. We’re right on the edge of stationary front, but it hasn’t yet had any material affect on our westing.

Hurricane Epsilon is presently about 1,300 nm to the north-east and moving rather erratically to the east but presently projected to move south and even possibly west. By the time that weather system could move enough south, we should be sufficiently west to avoid any of its effects, short of disruption of the tradewinds that are now rapidly moving us west.

Today’s 24 hour noon-to-noon run was a credible 182 nm. Until this morning, it was a fairly smooth run, with untroubling following seas. Now, they’re a bit lumpy and building and in our near direct downwind sailing profile, it’s become a rather wobbly ride making it difficult to securely wedge into a side berth and comfortably get some rest.

In the last two days, we’ve spotted only one other sailboat and it was far off with only a faint outline of its canvas showing. Yesterday, we also got a good ride, making some 187 nm during the 24-hour run. Even better, the wind was also directly aft driving us like a tractor beam on the rhumb line towards St Lucia, so we didn’t waste much on our VMG numbers.

But we still aren’t seeing anything close to the consistent 20-25 knot winds that we’re looking for. Yesterday morning at 0720 we hit the 1,000 nm to go mark, celebrating with Havana Club rum and cokes, as well as a fresh water shower for everyone. It also turned out to be laundry day, and by the afternoon, the life-lines were so strewn with drying clothing that it looked like a Macau tenement 6th floor balcony.

Our ship stores have held up remarkable well and, so far, the only things we would change for future provisioning would be to bring even more bacon than the 6 kilos we got, learning from the French that there’s really so little food that isn’t made better with a wrap of porcine product. We also would have brought more ice cream. Yes, it does seem rather absurd, but our freezer’s performance has been nothing short of outstanding and given our on-going ability to make ice, we could have stuffed the bottom of the freezer with enough ice cream to satisfy all but a crew of gluttonous Mister Creosotes. We’ve been out 17 days and still have enough frozen meat on board to open a small neighborhood Brazilian charcuterie.