Spirits are high as the crew of Melina make good progress on the ARC Ilkka Liukkonen reports

DateMonday 5 December

PositionN 14° 42′ 0″ W 48° 40′ 0″

Time is running out and it is hard to recall the number of days passed but after some rethinking, this is the sixth day in the trades. Daily routines, such as watch keeping, have changed a bit since the days of tacking. At that time we had two people on watch and two on rest in four hourly periods at all times. Now, in the trades, at night time we have only one person on watch while “Mr Helminen”, the autopilot, is steering.

Another person is on standby in case of squalls or any other special events. Daytime manning on deck is still always two, with manual steering. In daylight we have used either the light or heavy spinnaker with main sail and in the night time we have sailed goose-winged with a poled out genoa. During the peaceful night hours it is a good time to study the sky and ponder on its enormity. Finally, we have learnt to find the main constellations with the help of a sky map. Our constellations have been studied and used for navigation by humans for thousands of years. How happy we are to sail along with good friends in a well-equipped sailing boat that hasn’t given us any troubles.

We’re in high spirits due to our present placing on the standing list of our class, as well as the favourable wind force and direction, mileage done, the different temperature compared to home, and especially the good meals. The menu for each day was pre-planned but we have used imagination and improvisation to successfully modify each meal.

Every day we anxiously wait for the position report and analyse our own performance as well as that of our competitors. So far, except for one day, we have lead our class and that has definitely had a positive impact on us.

We celebrated the day before yesterday, because we had sailed 2000 miles and some hours later we also passed the remaining last 1000 mile stone. The First Lady (FL) of the boat accompanied by Hanna prepared a marvellous three course supper. The Skipper – Unlimitedly Admired by the Whole Crew (SUAWC), especially liked the dessert.

One thing we have been wondering and discussing during these days is the lack of sea life. We have only seen dolphins once, only three turtles have been spotted and whales seem to have totally disappeared.

Fortunately we still have time to find them.