Happy New Year
31 December 2009
Tonight sees us toasting the new year - we will do it quite early and then hit our bunks as we have to keep our watch system running 24/7. I brought a bottle of bubbly along for the occasion and we will crack it during our evening meal, which today will be Karoo Lamb chops with baby marrows and baked potatoes with cream cheese and chives.
Since leaving Cape Town we have made some pretty good progress with daily runs of 166, 169 and 174 nautical miles. Most of this was under twin head sails, running before a 15 to 22 knot south easterly wind. We have our main genoa to starboard and a second, but smaller sail, rigged to port.
We had our first flying fish land on the boat yesterday, just after noon. The poor sod flew right into the port aft steps and, I think, killed it's self instantly. We did put it back into the sea immediately but it made no attempt to swim away. The sea temperature is still bitterly cold and I think the fish was a few hundred miles south of its normal territory, which is normally much warmer water. Yesterday morning we caught our first fish. Unfortunately, it was a skipjack, which is not the best of the tuna family to eat. However, it was dinner last night, together with a nice green salad. Cooked in some butter with lemon and a touch of black pepper, it tasted quite good. In the afternoon Louis caught the second skipjack, but after being photographed, it was returned to the sea as our freezer is full and there is no place to store it.
We have already changed one time zone on our journey and should make a second change tomorrow night, bringing us into the UTC or GMT time zone. It will then be a couple of days and we can crack our second bottle of bubbly when we pass from the eastern hemisphere into the western hemisphere. The third remaining bottle will be kept for our equator crossing, still many weeks away.
At noon today we had 1000 nautical miles to St Helena, which we should be able to cover comfortably in the next seven days, meaning we should arrive in James Bay around first light on Thursday 7 January 2010 (or, to put it another way, early next year).
So, while we plod on under twin head sails, may all the folk out there have a festive night and may your 2010 be a special year with health and happiness. If you are the sailing type, may you also have fair winds and following breezes and safe landfalls. If you are an armchair sailor, may your chairs padding remain comfortable, but not as comfortable as my bunk when underway. Regards from Greg, Joy, Louis and myself, John.