Thursday, 29 November 2012

ARC Day Two

It doesn’t get better than this. Standing at the helm I can feel Juno alive under the wheel as she surfs along at 9 knots in 20 knots of wind.  From horizon to horizon there is nothing but sea, sparkling white crests tumbling over inky blue. The sea conditions are easier today as the dominant north easterly wind lines up the waves in formation and they parade under us on their journey west, pushing our stern off course and requiring a gentle touch on the helm to correct our turn and send Juno surfing down the back of the wave, her bow nosing forward, eager to respond to the demands of the rudder. I flex my fingers to keep my touch light on the wheel, feeling the wind on the back of my neck. 

We are on starboard gybe, with the wind blowing from our starboard quarter. I try and tune into the elements and feel the wind rather than relying solely on the instruments which are slightly delayed as information is relayed down the mast and through electronic circuitry to analogue displays in the cockpit. Feeling the wind on my right ear tells me that the wind is filling our sails from the correct angle; if i feel it on my right cheek I need to bear off and on my left ear means that I am in danger of gybing so I make a small correction to starboard. Larger turns of the rudder act as a brake on our speed so I try and use small adjustments of the helm to pre-empt the waves as I feel them build under my bare feet. 

We are now down at latitude 25 north and longitude 21 west. By comparison London is 50 degrees north and zero degrees west as it lies on the famous Greenwich meridian. St Lucia is 14 degrees north and 61 degrees west. Each degree of longitude represents 60 nautical miles so we still have a long way to go but we are loving every minute. Andrew, Kim, Paul and I are in the cockpit listening to the Kooks at high volume. Steven is mother today, preparing lunch in the galley.  We are all slowly getting used to the downwind roll of the Atlantic and catching up on sleep in between our watches. The pre-prepared frozen food has been a huge success and we combine it with freshly made salads and starters prepared in the galley. The mid-cabin smells strongly of bananas as they are already ripening en masse so I can guess what’s for pudding this evening, but all the other fresh fruit and vegetables are keeping dry and cool in the storage racks in the galley.
Great sailing conditions, a magnificent yacht and good friends to share the experience with. Paul Windsor has a permanent grin on his face and every so often Rosie starts chuckling for no apparent reason.  The rather dramatic picture is a GRIB weather picture showing a large low pressure system mid Atlantic.  We are heading well south of this so nothing to be concerned about but i bet that some of the racing division will be heading straight for it to get a slingshot around the north and down into the Caribbean. Yikes.