148 miles sailed in the last 24 hours, although not all towards St Lucia

Wind? What wind? I don’t remember guaranteeing anyone any wind. Mind you, with over 2,700 miles of sailing it really would be useful if it picked up just a teensy bit more, please. Trouble is, as well as sailing slowly because there really isn’t much wind, we’re not really pointing in the right direction either! But as Baldrick himself has been heard to say, I have a Cunning Plan!

Making my routing decisions is a bit like long, drawn out Chinese water torture – that’s probably not PC to say that anymore, is it, to involve the Chinese? However, the decisions are ongoing, long drawn out, subject to a huge amount of variables, seem to involve water, and just when you’ve got a handle on what you think is the sensible way to go, something changes and you start all over again! Hah, so basically, we’re just wandering vacantly all over the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, heading any way we can, throwing up and down different sails at odd times of the day and night because they look pretty. Or they feel wrong. Or I feel the crew are getting bored, and therefore they don’t, as they are busy changing sails!

Taking this approach has resulted in a 16th place overall in the whole fleet yesterday, so it seems to be working! That is pretty good as we are probably half way down the fleet size-wise and there are many boats that will owe us time on handicap as well. However, today we won’t repeat yesterday and be covered in glory; with light winds overnight we have kept sailing, but not towards St Lucia so it looks worse than it is, really. As I said before, it’s all part of the cunning plan.

Boredom? Oh no, there is no time for the crew to get bored. The watch system running 24 hours a day makes for little sleep, and initially it will take everyone at least two or three days until they are heard to be shouting: yippee, it’s two in the morning, dark and windy, and I am just so excited to be heading out on deck again. But when they get there, ahh, the stars, magnificent! It’s all worth it. Andy headed on deck last night with oilskin trousers on, dressed for the Arctic, only to nearly die of heat exhaustion. It’s also hot during the day, not that we’re complaining, but the heat drains the energy out of you. In fact it isn’t too bad today, 25 degrees centigrade on the chart table, more on deck with a bit of cloud around, so in fact it is pretty perfect. Sunset last night was gorgeous, sunrise pretty spectacular, hmmmm, hang on a second and I am sure I will come up with something negative.

Food. Got it! The Food isn’t the problem, Me eating it, is. I am putting on weight yet again, and crying, as Celia is cutting up very strong onions in the galley at the moment. It’s all her fault – if the food wasn’t so good, I wouldn’t eat it all and then, you get the picture. If you think your friends or relatives are suffering out here, can I just point out that they are having pizza and coleslaw for lunch, Mel’s Birthday Cake for tea, Shepherd’s Pie for Dinner – all homemade and cooked for them by Celia. It’s Mel’s birthday today, more about it in tomorrow’s log.

Our Teddy bear finally has a name – following on from yesterday’s ideas, special mention goes to Samuel (aged 8) who suggested Bertie, and therefore Admiral Bertie Bear. Phil thinks something to do with Rodney – Trotter, get it?! So I reckon he should just be called The Admiral. Kind of imposing, elegant, Bearish. The Admiral it is. He has been suspended by the mast up at ceiling level, from where he is surveying everything that is going on and blessing our voyage with good luck. If The Admiral stays in position, all will be well on board.

Crewman Murat (pictured) is from Ankara, Turkey, speaks perfect English, and has just turned 40 – the trip originally being his wife’s idea as a surprise for his birthday. Murat works for Lehman Brothers, job prospects unknown, and keeps a classic 10 metre class gaff rigged sloop called Dafne on the river Orwell, near Ipswich. Andy is 39 – 40 on this trip – and is married to Sue with two children, Ben (aged 10) and Jamie (aged 7). Andy is a Company Director and lives in Manchester. He has been a dinghy sailor for 30 years, mainly in GP14s and RS 400s, and the family now sail a Beneteau 21 from Abersoch. Finally for today, Jonathan (JD) is Jenny’s partner in crime. They both live in Edinburgh and having sailed dinghies as a youth, JD is now a coastal Skipper and bareboat charters mainly on the West Coast of Scotland with Jenny and friends.

As I am sending this at midday strains of Happy Birthday Mel are being sung on deck just as I type. The sun is blazing down, the wind around 12 knots true and we are happily sailing slowly along on a flat sea with our big American spinnaker up. We have sailed 148 miles in the last 24 hours, although not all towards St Lucia, and all is well on board. A bientot, Julian