A steady, light north east trade wind expected this weekend

For all the right reasons I have little to write about today, which might well be a relief for those of you reading these logs! I have been doing them for quite a few years now and I don’t re-read the last few otherwise I am concerned they might all end up being the same! Sometimes I know I ramble on a bit….

I bought Northern Child, our Swan 51, with my wife Magali in 2001, and we set up the Atlantic circuit that we still follow today. Northern Child was designed in 1979, built over the winter of 1983 and finally launched in 1984. Previous to ourselves, she was owned by an Englishman and an Italian; the Italian turned out to be one of the Ferragamo family, who later went on to buy Nautor’s Swan, the company, in whose hands it still rests today. We have two growing children, Pierre (aged 6) and Max (aged3) and in recognition of the fact that life changes as children grow up we have recently found a business partner in Christian, who from June next year will come on board and run Northern Child. Magali will continue to find and administer the clients and I will continue to sail with Northern Child and Christian on the main events but freeing up more home time. Our circuit will continue the same and Northern Child will be on the start line of Fastnet and ARC 2009 – join us!

Since we have had the boat each year we have sailed between the Caribbean, the Med and the UK. Our annual migration starts after Cowes Week or the Fastnet race in August when we sail down to St Tropez for September and October and then down to Las Palmas for November. Taking part each November/December in the ARC to St Lucia we spend the winter racing and cruising in the Caribbean until Antigua Sailing Week. We then cross back to the UK and start the circuit all over again with the Round the Island Race!

What has Northern Child meant to me? Over the years I feel my identity has got totally wrapped up with the boat – I am Julian from Northern Child and proud of it. Together over the years we have had adventures a-plenty, won our fair share of races, faced danger and yet had periods of serenity at sea; we have so far crossed the Atlantic Ocean in perfect safety 15 times and sailed over 130,000 miles together. I know her from mast truck to keel and from stem to stern, and she has rewarded us with flawless service for nearly 8 years – not bad, all things considered.

But what has really made Northern Child what it is, in fact has little to do with myself or the boat – it is the clients. I know that a lot of you are reading these logs and without you all having offered your support over the years by sailing with us we wouldn’t have even got round the Atlantic a second time. It is absolutely fantastic to turn up at an event and to be able to welcome so many old friends back on board, very humbling. Keep turning up, Northern Children, we need you more than ever! If you haven’t sailed with us before, give it a go – novice or expert, day sailing or crossing an ocean, we will look after you and make your trip one to remember. If you want to learn more have a look at www.northernchild.com.

Back to today! I left you yesterday as we were trying to head south of the soft underbelly of the huge area of calm ahead of us. Well, the situation has improved for us and together with being far enough south, we have had a great 24 hour run of 160 miles towards the bar in St Lucia. To explain – In order to encourage spinnaker trimming we have introduced the crew to Spinnakers beach bar and restaurant on Reduit Beach in St Lucia – the thought of a cold beer and wandering through the surf down the beach has boosted our ability to trim and drive in a straight line no end!

It hasn’t been a straight forward trip in that the trade winds haven’t come through for us yet and we have had to sail a huge amount of extra distance to find wind, but finally our patience and hard work looks like it may be rewarded. If our weather files are right we have a period of about 24 to 48 hours where we will have very light winds, but then by the weekend we should have placed ourselves in the right place to pick up a steady, light north east trade – then it will be downhill all the way! But, and it is a big but, we have to get through the next 24 – 48 hours first! I haven’t seen the results of today yet, but I would be disappointed if we weren’t still leading our class after 11 days at the front unless anyone has motored past us. We have sailed a total distance so far of 1,716 miles and have 1,222 miles still to run. All’s well on board,

a demain, Julian.