Flying the Red Kite over the Blue Atlantic

Flying the Red Kite over the Blue Atlantic

Dec 07, 2008 @ 14:03 15:26.6N 43:58.4W

Today was completely different from yesterday’s storm. We exited the storm late last night and almost immediately were under a cloudless sky with the receding storm clouds forming a wall stretching from horizon to horizon occasionally illuminated by lightning. The wind died and we spent some of the night motoring! Iona, Nigel and I were up for the pre-dawn watch and with enough wind the engine was turned off at 7:30am. With the wind coming from the north west, we set the sails for a close haul into the wind – so much for a downwind sail to St Lucia! – and even though the wind was light at 7 knots we were able to achieve a respectable 4-5 knots. Dawn breaking behind the now distant storm clouds was truly beautiful. With clear blue skies overhead, sailing into a gentle breeze with a relaxing slight swell on a very blue Atlantic, we felt that we had passed from a challenging night into an easy day – especially as it was started with a breakfast of eggs on toast in the cockpit.

The day continued in its leisurely nature with relaxed living. After breakfast I went back to bed until 1pm. Nigel and Rob launched the bright red cruising chute which we flew all day and achieved good boat speed given the light airs. John did his usual calculations of how long it will take us to reach St Lucia. Rob pureed tomatoes to make the most delicious fresh tomato juice – to which we all added Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, salt & pepper and John moaned about the lack of vodka. Nigel made a light lunch of pasta & fresh tomato sauce. Iona spotted a pod of whales – we could see them blowing as they passed us going in the opposite direction. I cleaned & polished the saloon following yesterday’s storm, followed by a shower on the back of the boat – very relaxing sitting with one’s feet dangling in the bright blue Atlantic as Oboe quietly slips through the water. Nigel slept most of the afternoon to catch up on much needed and well earned sleep and awoke to find the crew in hysterics – which raises the question of whether they should be left unsupervised! Dinner was a treat served up by Mike and his comic (sic) chef & able assistant John – steak, chunky chips and red cabbage to Nigel’s old family recipe. They put as much effort into the banter as they did into the cooking, judging by the guffaws coming from the galley. Life is good in the Tropics.

The big news of the day is that we crossed the 1000nm mark this evening – it feels good to be in triple digits at last and that we’re making definite progress to St Lucia given the total lack of Trade Winds. We also learned that the first boat in the ARC fleet crossed the finish line today – an 82ft Oyster. If they sailed all the way, that is a fantastic achievement. At least we’ll get another 7 never-to-be-forgotten days at sea!

Jeremy

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