Azure have reached the halfway mark on the ARC, Alex Lochore reports

DateSunday 4 December, 1000

PositionN 14 46 41 W 43 52 96

SOMEWHERE – strictly speaking we are all somewhere…so, where are you near? Well…nowhere, we are 1000 miles from the Cape Verde Islands, 1000 miles from Brazil and 1000 miles from St Lucia. Therefore I believe that finally the mystery has been solved and we have found…THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE… and that is exactly where we are!

Henry made a comment on Friday evening just after we had enjoyed our halfway steak that even with my limited knowledge of sailing is a comment that should never be made on a boat at sea. It certainly upset the skipper and caused a lowering of moral amongst the crew that lingers on. You could have heard Admiral Lord Nelson himself turn in his grave?

Prior to this, Friday evening had been full of joy, music, good food and wine, we were celebrating crossing the halfway line and the skipper as promised played us a few merry jigs on his fiddle in the same style as Jack Aubery, causing much joviality – sadly no Dr Machurian to accompany him on the cello! The steaks were good and for a few hours we all forgot our frustrations.

Friday had been another day of only moderate wind and we made steady progress at about 5kts. We had a further minor spinnaker problem during the night, which has resulted in us not flying the kite at nights. Saturday was a better day and we made some good progress under the kite and covered over 160 miles in 24 hours. Saturday night was also a good night with an average speed through the night of 6.5 kts – the forecast looks promising now and we hope that finally the trade winds will kick in and give us some good speed. It would be fair to say that moral dropped for a couple of day at the end of the week but this morning we have gone through the ‘1000 miles to go’ line and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

On Friday evening we passed another yacht and decided to call her up to see who it was – we eventually got a response in French. Luckily Stewart is more than adequate at the language having lived there for some time and managed to hold a steady conversation. We established that they were not in the ARC, had come from the Cape Verde Islands and were heading to Martinique. Towards the end of one particular reply the Frenchman uttered a few words that sounded ‘non francais’. We asked Stewart to see whether the gentleman spoke any English…….”well yes” came the reply “but we sort zat you vere doing so vell in French that we let you continue!!” Much laughter on both boats and bizarrely, the conversation and farewells continued and ended in French.

The only news that we have from other boats is fromWhitbreada 70ft boat with ten crew. They were going rather slower than they were happy with and had concerns as they were down to 200ltrs of drinking water and 200ltrs of fuel and they thought that they maybe at sea for up to ten more days – we thought we had problems!

We are all getting used to the smell and it with great excitement that the skipper has bought wash-day forward to today as a reward for being so frugal and conservative with what little water we have in the tanks.

Well that is about all for now…

What was it Henry said?

Well, he simply shouted from the saloon: “The Macallan is now empty…. the whisky is finished!”

Safe passage