Hello from 18 degrees 55 N, 30 degrees 52 W. It's 10.15 am ship's time; we put the clocks back an hour a couple of days ago and will repeat the process 3 more times before we reach Saint Lucia. Confusingly the ship's log and all the radio nets work on UTC / GMT so the brass clock has "add 1 hour for log" written on its glass to remind us.
Last night was a great sail, still broad reaching in a Force 6 so another 24-hour record has fallen as we achieved 174 miles. The three watch-keepers have worked brilliantly to keep Maunie running at optimum speed, hand-steering for most of their watches. We have just downloaded the latest weather forecasts and it looks as though we have another 24-36 hours of good winds before it all goes a bit light. We are still hoping that our 'head south a bit more' strategy will work for us and it will be interesting to chat to the other boats on the SSB in half an hour to compare notes. (Post-script, the net has just finished and one boat about 150 miles due north of us had a very tough night with big waves and a gust of up to 48 knots! Most are going for the 'head south' strategy as well).
The rotation of watches continues with the variety and (sometimes) challenge of 'Mother Watch' occurring every 4th day. [Di writes] Being 'Mother' yesterday had its moments! With clocks going back, it of course gets dark earlier (and out here, that's sudden). So, I was tempted to start my cleaning duties early but of course that meant a very warm routine. At the same time, the boat was rolling even more so making the task a bit like balancing on one of those wobble boards (but a larger version) at the gym, on a conveyor belt and cleaning without falling over. Only a few swear words were heard!
Whilst we have a meal plan, we are flexible around the conditions. So we opted for a relatively simple pasta with a 'boat-made' sauce. The downside to varying from the plan is that some additional ingredients must be fished out of the main storage boxes as normally we plan ahead and will have already transferred the long life ingredients for the meals over the next 3 days into more accessible 'day boxes'. So a bit more time was taken in gathering the ingredients but I'm pleased to say that the main course was a success. The diners at Restaurant Maunie were a little subdued, I'm afraid to say as, after the previous night's watch, we were all a bit tired (or that's what they told me!!) Part of Mother Watch is to check on the food stocks. You may recall that our fruit and veg is stored in the fore cabin. On checking the fruit, I found several of the pears had ripened suddenly so built those into a healthy pud.
(Graham writes) – Di's supper was lovely last night and the fresh pears and creme fraiche pudding delicious. The sudden warmth down below certainly makes Mother Watch even more of a challenge so we're now trying to plan meals that don't involve pans simmering on the hob to add humidity to the whole affair.