ARC crew celebrate '700-miles to go to St Lucia' with a fine feast aboard Northern Child 8/12/06

Daily Log No 13 Northern Child
Log DateFriday 8 December 2006
Position15.30N 48.44W

How can I start another daily log in the same vein as yesterday’s? But it’s difficult not to – it’s that old sunshine, blue skies, blue sea, wind behind and puffy white cumulus thing again. The sort of thing that Frank Sinatra should have written a song about; maybe he did.

What’s happening on board at the moment? Rich’s watch are on deck, keeping us pointing nicely at St Lucia as we are swooping down the face of the big easterly swells with Ian driving. As we accelerate off the crests the speed lifts from 9 to 10 to 11 to 12, and down below you hear the water rushing past the hull. The swells eventually pass beneath us and the boat heels right over to port, water rushing over the leeward deck, then immediately corrects back to starboard. Momentarily you lose your balance again and grab hold onto whatever you can, until the status quo is re-established for a fraction of a second before it all starts over again.

Today’sphotois of the off watch relaxing below decks. Dave A reading, David C and Luis.

The watch below are trying to catch up on sleep, escape the sun, read, shower, do the laundry, write journals. A myriad of chores that still have to go on whilst we are crossing this large slice of Atlantic Ocean. Sleep comes and goes, largely depending on what the sea state is like. It’s always hot now, so for a large part of the day we are trying to keep out of the direct sunlight.

At times the passage can’t pass quickly enough and the destination of St Lucia is looming ever closer and larger in the imagination; but at other times arrival has assumed a lesser importance and we will arrive when we arrive – the feeling building that it will have been great to have arrived, but also that we will miss something vital that is present out here.

The power, the beauty of the never ending rollers as they pass underneath the hull endlessly; nature at her best, still largely not ruined by mankind. Describing the attraction of why we are out here is impossible – it can be tough, uncomfortable, challenging, tiring, frightening, but it’s vital and real and I know that this time next year I will be back here again for my 10th ARC. That’s sailing.

Last night we almost had a murder mystery on board. Kat had come up with her boat – famous lasagne (it has to be tasted to be believed, but one thing it isn’t, is low cal). Three of us were silly enough to go for thirds, no names Dave A, Richard and myself! I spent five minutes complaining about how much I had eaten and how ill I felt, until she passed up crepes suzette and of course I couldn’t appear rude and not eat it, them, could I?

We have been asked how the final results are arrived at for the ARC. In the cruising division, which we are in, each yacht has a ARC rating – furthermore the use of the engine is permitted but penalised with a time adjustment at the end of the rally. The motoring penalty factor is not known and is decided by the ARC Committee each year. Our aim on Northern Child is not to use the motor or the autopilot on the crossing, which we so far have managed.

Our daily run for the last 24 hours has been the best of the trip so far for us – 209 miles towards St Lucia. The wind has kept up well between 20 and 28 knots, and although there may be a slight softening of the pressure gradient in a couple of days, we hope to keep up a good speed for the next 24 hours. There was reason for celebration last night as we passed the 2,000 miles from Las Palmas mark; as of this log we have now sailed 2,132 miles, and have 713 miles to run to the north tip of St Lucia.

A bientot, Julian