Pwarrh, what a Booby!
Our position as at 18.00 UTC on Tuesday 30th May:
00 degrees 28 minutes north, 87 degrees 22 minutes west. 155 miles to go!
The wind has been pretty consistent for the past 36 hours so we have been hard on the wind (beating as close to it as possible) and getting used to the consistent heeling of the boat. It makes life pretty tiring as every movement involves some climbing and hanging on but we're pleased to be making pretty fair progress towards our goal, we just need the wind to back round to the SE for a bit.
We are now both sleeping like the dead in our off watches but Di woke Graham up at 07.00 this morning to say we had a visitor – a large Booby had its feet firmly grasping the pulpit rail up at the bow as it preened its feathers, seemingly oblivious to the spray flying over it. It stayed for about half an hour then flapped off in search of fish.
Our routine has settled down now so there are some regular event, aside from meals, to break up what might otherwise be slight monotony. The morning radio net is now good fun as people get to know each other and share stories and experiences. Salsa (a Swedish Halberg Rassy 45) crossed the Equator at 02.00 local time last night so the kids (aged about 5 and 8) got up to face King Neptune (skipper Steffan) who had draped green-dyed spaghetti over his shoulders like seaweed. The crew were forced to eat some of the seaweed as punishment for their crimes (unspecified) and can now count themselves as amongst the elite band of 'liners'. Other boats reported sightings of whales and sharks (including a shark which breached completely out of the water ahead of them).
Another routine has been to park Maunie for supper. We've discovered that whilst Maunie and Stormvogel are amazingly well-match for speed downwind, in these upwind condition we leave them behind; Peter has apparently written about his frustrations about this in his blog! Anyway, we decided that the comfort of having another boat with us (and the twice-daily chats on VHF radio) means that we don't want to get separated so we do a manoeuvre known as 'heaving to'. We basically tack the boat through the wind but leave the foresail sheeted on the wrong side so she stops in the water, the mainsail and yankee balancing each other, whilst Stormvogel catches up. This gives us a welcome opportunity to have Maunie upright and remarkably steady whilst we eat our supper.
All being well tonight will be our last at sea and we're really looking forward to anchoring in San Cristobal.