Location: Middle of the Atlantic, 140 miles to halfway.
Total to Date: 1258nm
24 Hour Run: 150nm (yet another new 24 hour record – with three reefs in the mainsail!!)
Just four items of note today, two of them pretty significant.
#1: Mariel does dinner.
As days have passed Mariel’s reaction to the swinging cooker gimbals has gradually decreased. Yesterday was a great day. Not only did she eat and serve dinner but she also managed to prepare it too. First the garlic was chopped, lie down, open some anchovies, lie down, open the olives, lie down, cook and finally serve to a well earned round of applause. Delicious it was too. Whilst we are talking of Mariel here’s a shout out for her aunt Penny who is reliving her own Atlantic crossing of 40 years ago.
#2: The BFWE (maybe you can work it out)
The wind and waves continued to build last night so much so that Gill and I both felt that the two reefs we had been sailing with for the past few days was insufficient. IJ concurred and we decided Reef 3 needed to go in for the first time ever as apparent downwind winds exceeded 30 knots. We were flying through the night at more than 8 knots with hardly any sail. JD was on watch and for the third night in a row this is when things went to pot. I was watching the big rollers sweeping under us from the starboard quarter (back right) when I glanced to port. All I could see was an enormous wall of white water. I couldn’t see the sky above me. It was the BFWE. Apparently I squeaked something before we were lifted up on the mass of white and thrown to port. Crash. We gybed. That’s why you rig a preventer and boom brake. There followed several minutes of controlled hecticness. Mariel was clinging to her berth with all four limbs pressed against a solid object rather like a floating game of twister, occasionally levitating from her bed all the while listening for shouts of ‘screwdriver’ and turning off the now boiling kettle. Great work M! Self steering off, gybe back, fight her back on course and finally reset Paul. More great team work. We continued to fly along now with two people sharing watches. Very dark, no moon, the ocean hurtling beneath us. By morning things had calmed down a bit but a record 150 miles covered much of it under a tiny triple reefed mainsail only shows what conditions were like last night. And if you hadn’t guessed by now BFWE stands for Biggest ****ing Wave Ever!
#3: This morning as rosy fingered dawn emerged IJ noticed that a batten had popped out of the sail as we gybed last night. That needs sorting. As I stepped out onto the deck a wave washed in and with it the first flying fish of the trip. Not a large one at around 10cm but a sign of warmer water to come. The Js were up at the mast and Gilly skillfully took us slightly into the wind with Mariel manning the sheets. Another task accomplished though the top batten holder will need replacing in Martinique.
#4: We completed a full walk around the deck identifying things that needed doing. Some done, some left for later. Another job well done.
Th rest of the day has been spent recounting last night’s exploits, sleeping with M doing more than her fair share and watching the ocean.
G, IJ, M and J
Use https://www.noforeignland.com/boat/4717902794063872 with SHOW JOURNEY to track our progress.