Barnaby Edwards reports on day four of the ARC aboard Makathea - a 30-year-old, 41ft Dufour Sortilege

Logged at 1200 on Thursday 25 November 2005

“Another day down and another day closer to St Lucia. The problems with our spinnaker have now been sorted, the whole sail had to be repacked below deck, not the easiest job in the world but the results have been positive and she’s been flying now for the last 20 hours or so.

“Winds have been considerably lighter overnight and this means that it’ll probably be our worst 24hr run but at the end of the day, it’s a marathon not a sprint and we’re not too worried.

“Our antique autopilot (affectionately known by the crew as “Candice”) has been steering since yesterday evening, the only problem with this is that it leaves you a little bit idle on your night watch so we’ve relieved the forepeak of a fair few beers to help wile away the hours. The other benefit of having the autopilot running is that it frees us up for some serious tanning in the daytime – we’re not sure if there’s a prize for the best tan in St Lucia but if there is then we’ll certainly be in the running.

“We even managed to make radio contact with another vessel last night for the first time on our VHF, was nice to hear from somebody else out there and just have a bit of interaction with another ARC competitor, was also a good chance to get auxillary weather and routing info to complement our own. We even managed to catch our first fish, admittedly it did fly onto the deck, all two inches of it but it’s a start and it’s encouraged us to set up a new rig on our rod, we’ve got a good feeling that dinner could be coming out of the sea tonight.”