Yesterday...all the dark cloud seemed so far away.
Suddenly...big black clouds are all that I can see.
Why they had to come I don't know...Mark wouldn't say.
Well...after a postcard day out in the middle of the Atlantic yesterday, today has dawned quite grey and overcast. It is a feature of this route to the Caribbean that as we close the West Indies and the South American coast we encounter tropical squalls and clouds. The worry for us is that some of these squalls can pack alot of wind for a brief time so we are ever vigilant particularly in the dark not to get caught with our trousers down and too much sail up!! This morning we are romping along at 8 knots running before the trade winds and now only 368 miles to go to the Mt Gay Rum factory in Barbados. We are hoping for a Monday daytime arrival and we have fair winds and moderate seas forecast for the next few days... and so we are starting to see the finish line...phew !!.
Thought I might give you all an idea of our routine on board.
Ok...so our 24 hr cycle kicks off at 8am (local time) with a radio sched with all the other yachts crossing with us.. some are a few days ahead... some are a few days behind. We are like a train of yachts on the rhumb line (otherwise known as the Mt Gay Rum Line... funny huh ??!!!) between The Verdes and Barbados. We check in with each other and broadcast our positions, conditions and status on board. At the mo there are 15 yachts on the roll call. The one's that arrive drop off the top and the one's that leave get added to the bottom so as you journey across you move up the list until you too drop off the edge of the known world! We organize it ourselves and a different yacht facilitates it each day. So that gets us to around 8.30am and thats it really....rest of the day at leisure. No not really...then its breaky time, muesli and fruit after which Tony will stay up on watch and us 2 get some ZZZZs. The watch system is fairly loose during the day depending on maintenance issues, who is sleep deprived etc etc.
Pretty soon after breakfast we start thinking about lunch... normally wraps with tuna etc. Then we fire up the computer and sat phone and produce and transmit the days report and other emails before downloading incoming emails. This is the most important part of the day because we receive a daily weather report from our friend John our land based weather guru who tells us what to expect for the next few days and he can reroute us to avoid any nasty stuff developing in our path. Thanks John...again !!!. We also receive in all emails from families and friends - a huge morale boost.
Ok.. so then afternoons are spent resting, reading, snoozing etc. Trust me the best place to be on a yacht in the ocean is horizontal. It is very difficult to carry out even the most basic of human functions (if you get my drift) when the boat is pitching and rolling and the motion is very tiring. We have another informal chat with a few other yachts on the radio at 3.00pm. Then we do some house work as well as some checks around the boat, rudder, steering, autopilot, bilges, rigging, sails etc etc etc. If we have a problem..best to find it early !!. Then its early dinner and Amanda has done a great job in a difficult rollling galley to produce food I'd pay for in a restaurant. ie crumbed, panfried mahi mahi and last night...lamb chops, mash potato, peas, gravy. If conditions are ok we may have a beer or a wine. Then at 7.00pm we are into a strict night watch regime...Amanda 7.00pm to 11.00pm, Tony 11.00pm to 3.00am, Mark 3.00am to 7.00am. That way the 2 off watch can rest for 8 hours. It has been a godsend on this longer trip having Tony on board. On previous passages Amanda and I would do 3 hours on ,3 hours off continuously and that really wears you down especially if we are in bad weather !!!.
The watches have been quite easy...there is very little to watch out here. We last saw a ship over a week ago but....you never know and so regular radar checks and 360 degree visual sweeps are mandatory. Then before you know it.. its 8.00am again ....
So there we have it...day in day out.
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