Guy Hoare reports of the pending famine aboard ARC yacht Panulirus 10/12/06

Log date Sunday 10 December

After a tranquil Saturday during which our tropical idyll was only sporadically interrupted by the slightest of showers, grim news greeted us this morning: today the unspoken fear which has lain dormant these last two weeks has re-surfaced. According to the latest forecasts, in three days’ time the winds are to drop to a breath-takingly paltry 5 knots. As we have currently just under 1,000 miles to go, but only enough diesel for about 350 of them, the final 650 could take up to two weeks.

It is hard to ignore the highly visible fact that we are down to our last apple. I nearly ate it last night, but some kindly providence stayed my hand. We have not yet done a full stock-take since news of the impending crisis broke, but conservative estimates suggest that we only have one cake per day until about the 21st. After that there may well be general rioting. I remember only too well the ugly scenes which accompanied the hob-nob rationing of ’76. I fear for the midnight plundering of cunningly-hidden treacle-pudding reserves.

For the time being, however, life on the brink of famine continues as normal. So far all aboard have been stoically British and the evidence of The panic has been scant. Whether this is due to our blind optimism or simply a pragmatic acceptance that a descent into despair, chaos and anarchy will achieve nothing it is difficult to tell. At any rate, the sun is out in force again today and it would be foolish to waste such a good opportunity for tanning.