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[ THE WIRE ] Skipper’s Report

17th January 2017
Time: 1840z
Position: 17°01.0N 026°40.6W
COG: 255°T
SOG: 10kts
Wind: ENE 5
Swell: NE 4-6ft
Sky: 4/8 cumulus
Weather: Good.

Cape Verde Islands – Tick.

After a very successful night of spinnaker flying (although by no means easy for the helms and there’s a certain amount of ‘night spinnaker fatigue’ around today), we had a mid-morning arrival at the Cape Verde Islands. Ty won the ‘spot the land, win a frothy’ game, and will now receive the first frothy in Antigua. Well-done Ty.

As you may be aware, many ocean racing yachts take on ‘celebrity crew’ to boost their profile. Disco’s ocean racing days might be behind her, but we have carried on this tradition, and Ty is in fact our resident celebrity aboard. The Canaries stop for him was taken up by various media interviews, and his fame has elevated to such heights that he has been approached to represent a dating app through his website and social media. No small honour. As the mornings win shows, there seems to be no limit to this boys high achieving, and I just hope we can remain exciting enough to keep him onboard despite the other glamour on offer. He’s a long way off breakfast-in-bunk though.

Land sighted, we decided to keep on a little bit, so we could all knock ‘see Cape Verde Islands’ off the list of life things to do. With a topography peaking at over 1800m, it’s a little hard to miss from 18nm away, and poked through the cloud tops to prove the point. Once the sun had risen in the sky it quickly became harder to define the outline, so we got bored and decided to gybe and go to Antigua instead.

Putting in our first gybe with the symmetrical kite was a bit like flying it for the first time, all those weeks back in Biscay. We looked at all the different bits of string, discussed everything that might go wrong, and did it. As far as I’m concerned it was pretty flawless. I’ve no idea it if it’s the ‘right’ way to do it, but it seemed pretty efficient. If it works as well the next four times I shall officially declare it as ‘the way to gybe’ on Disco. One day I’ll probably ask someone that knows more about it all than me and find out if I’m right or not.

So, successful gybe behind us, Cape Verde behind us, and Antigua ahead of us, we have had a cracking afternoon of fast spinnaker sailing, with an excitingly powered up boat and a great drive on the helm. Alex and Moris have done a long shift on it this afternoon, and somehow managed to keep the boat going in straight line, despite spending the whole time talking like an old married couple.

‘Breadgate’ took up much of the remaining morning. The two freshly baked loaves that were to form a critical part of the lunchtime menu, which I’m reliably informed were Joe’s first ever baking production (and did look brilliant), had transformed into crusty remains, with neither watch claiming responsibility. The accusations flew, but nothing could bring the loaves back, and save lunch from being a soup only affair (and it did desperately need the bread…). I spent lunchtime watch change doing a little talk on sharing, and not eating all the bread in one go. Connor currently has his first ever bread on the go, and I now know that if things get boring during the night I can always steal it all, just to provoke some excitement.

Moris has just come over and vigorously reminded me to update the world that his meal the other night was a resounding success, and Ty still retains the ‘worst ever attempt at dinner’ crown by a wide margin. He was very concerned that his mother not think ill of his cooking abilities, and I can reassure Moris’ mum that he seems to possess all the essential galley skills for a successful life, on and off the boat.

Another ‘oil painting’ sunset has just gone down behind the spinnaker again, and it’s lining up to be another night of good progress. I popped my head up to ask how the helming was going, and was greeted by a big smile from my dad on the wheel. This must mean that the helming is good, and that he is nearly recovered from his first experience in the galley, which I think was probably as stressful as my mum thought it would be.

Enough about cooking, back to it.

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