Birthday cheer as Dave celebrates his 50th onboard Northern Child, Julian Sincock reports 11/12/06

Daily Log No 16 Northern Child
Monday 11 December 2006
Position14.23N 58.45W

Another beautiful day out here on the ocean as we draw ever closer to St Lucia. The forecast for Monday into the night is for the winds to drop and therefore we are expecting our speeds to drop, which could well slow down our arrival into St Lucia. We have had contact with a couple of yachts which are ahead of us and who have slowed down due to the lightening of the trade winds. This pattern is likely to continue through Tuesday, with the lightest day being on Wednesday, so we will be glad to be in and moored up before the real calm sets in.

During Sunday afternoon the winds dropped down to 15 knots, so we dropped the headsails and put up our repaired running spinnaker – see the photo! This held nicely for us, the only problem being that within two hours the wind had backed to the East North East and it was time for a gybe. As well as changing direction on us, the wind had also picked up to 20 knots again so we successfully retrieved the spinnaker, gybed Northern Child and went back to our two running headsails. The new gybe came exactly at the right time, and meant that we are now pointing right at St Lucia; yeehah, or something American as Brendan might say!

Sunday was Dave A’s 50th birthday and a good excuse to eat ourselves into oblivion! Having started the day off watch, Dave A started his birthday by opening cards, which were hung up in the saloon. Amongst rounds of very poor renditions of ‘Happy Birthday to you’, he finally got the bacon baguettes he had been dreaming of for ages. Freshly made scones for tea, champagne with aperitifs before dinner, thirds of spaghetti carbonara followed by two helpings of birthday cake, all finished off by his present of a box of Ferrero Rocher, and even Dave A admitted he was full!

Going on deck at 0400 this morning was a real treat. With Javier driving and Rich’s watch on deck we were making a steady 8 knots towards St Lucia, right on course. The moon was just over half full and shining down from directly overhead in a cloudless starry sky. The decks were dry and brilliantly illuminated by the moon, the breeze was warm and the ocean a little calmer than it has been over the last week or so. A real treat.

This morning we have a new speed king – ‘Enri hit 13.4 knots, is delighted, and now hopes that the wind is going to moderate a little, our pace will slow, and no one else can beat him!

So what is our ETA? If only we knew! So much depends on the wind that it is almost impossible to get it right, but I would hope around midnight tonight local time, unless we lose the wind when it could be midday Tuesday! What is the worst time to arrive – 0400 local? That’s probably going to be our arrival time! We have covered 192 miles in the last 24 hours, a great run considering the lighter winds of yesterday afternoon. We have now sailed 2,723 miles from Las Palmas and have 128 miles to run to St Lucia. Tomorrow could well be the last log of ARC 2006, hopefully sent to you from Rodney Bay Marina! According to one of our crew’s wives, from yesterday’s photo of your illustrious correspondent, it doesn’t look like we are sailing at all!

A bientot