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[ THE WIRE ] Skipper’s Report

4th January 2017
Time: 1817z
Position: 33°27.2N 011°28.5W
COG: 213°T
SOG: 8.4kts
Wind: ESE 2
Swell: W 2-4ft
Sky: 1/8 cirrus
Weather: Good

Bacon.

“It was a good day.”

How the day started, and the words of one Sebastian Kosmala.

I had actually been going to leave the report at the first sentence, but feel I’m probably expected to elaborate more in these things. Joe was shuffling around the galley on the ‘early’ early watch, and the first I knew something was afoot was when he said that the other watch were going to wake up and think they were in heaven.

Then the smells began.

Bacon.

It’s amazing how quickly normal expectations in life fade into the background of distant memory, but equally good when they make an unexpected resurgence at 6am after a long night of sailing. It wasn’t long before the off-watch began peeking their little heads out of cabins, looking confused, excited, expectant, hesitant, and hopeful even. Like small, sleepy meerkats. Almost cute. Connor’s first morning words were an incredulous “Is that bacon?” I called to Joe to turn off the smell machine – never have I seen Connor looked so panicked. “What, is it not really bacon?!” were his second words. Confusing sleepy people can be so much fun.

It was indeed bacon sandwiches for breaky (or breako if I go with the Aussie way of putting an ‘O’ after pretty much everything possible), with homemade tomato ketchup to complete the perfect start to a day. The ‘early’ early watch went off for a long 5 hours sleep, looking very smug that they had outdone the imminent early watch in overachieving for the day.

Henry had woken me from my little curl up position next to the nav station at about 5am, from the first ‘big’ (over 2 hours, under 4 hours) sleep I’d had all trip. I was reliably informed that the wind had gone on strike, therefore we were seriously under-canvassed with our yankee 3 and 2 reefs, but because the wind had all but disappeared would I just like to put the engine in gear, as it was already running charging batteries. I was SO close to muttering a yes and putting my head back down. But we’re sailors, this is a sailing boat, so if at all possible, we will sail.

After a pre-sunrise headsail change and shaking out all the reefs, bacon sandwiches were just the ticket. Connor’s early watch with their breakfast fresh inside them were soon after put through the paces doing another headsail change, and mid-morning the wind gave up entirely, so we’re back to reluctantly being a motor yacht again (very reluctantly given the ‘sailors, sailing’ comment above). If it wasn’t for schedules and timeframes I think we’d happily drift round in circles all day playing with sails, but there’s a bigger picture than this.

A day of motor-sailing has given the opportunity for some domestic tasks. The team have done a great job of cleaning through all the boat, putting things the right way up again after the 20ft wave day bounced it all upside down, drying the soaked foul weather kit, and knocking a few things off the Las Palmas jobs list. The cleaning was mainly precipitated by the fact Moris has been a bit under the weather for the last few days, and the rest of us now think his little illness is spreading, so everything that could be has been thoroughly cleaned to try and stop the wildfire spread of infection on a boat. Don’t worry Moris’s mum – we’ve been looking after him very well. Moris has in fact been recuperating in my cabin since the 31st of December, as he was not feeling great, and I didn’t want him to be getting really ill in the middle of a gale. He has now spent significantly more time sleeping in my bunk at sea than I have done, and when he came on deck for the first time again today giving orders, I decided he’d obviously been in there for too long, so have banished him back to crew accommodation. It’s good to have him back in the routine, and we’ve all missed his bull’s-eye helming skills over the previous days.

The afternoon has been spent watching kit dry, flying a kite (the small child’s kind, rather than the big spinnaker sort. Seriously.), and doing some splicing bits. A spectacular sunset was framed by jumping dolphins about a mile off the bow, which was really quite pretty. It was one of those crystal clear skies with the sun sharply focussed against the horizon. I mentioned to Joe about the fabled ‘green flash’, that I’ve heard much about, looked for many times, and never yet seen in months of sunsets at sea. Joe and I stood on the bow watching the dolphin/sunset display, and then just as the sun dipped below the horizon, a distinct but split-second green flash. I look for months on end, and Joe gets to see it in the first 5 minutes of hearing about it! Big box ticking moment for me, but I’m now going to have to look it up when in Las Palmas to make sure it’s a rare as I believe it to be. If it’s not, we just had another cool sunset.

Clean boat, warmer by the minute boat, well fed boat, dolphins, green flash. What more could you wish for.

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