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The Jackson Four on Tour
Operation 'sell Pegasus of Jersey' begins""
A great day's sail

10 May 2011
We had lovely sailing conditions these last few days and are averaging 120nms a day, which is pretty good for us. The winds have either been light - 12ish - so we can fly our spinnekar and go in the desired direction, or 20ish when we have had to take the spinnekar down (after last trip's lesson of not being greedy and tearing the whole sail) and go maybe a little faster but in the wrong direction. This whole vmg (velocity made good) means it's quicker to go off the rhum line on a faster point of sail, but psychologically, I just like going in the right direction with the spinny flying. We were all reluctant to take the spinnekar down at sunset, but again, we've learned our lesson from the previous experience and Mark would prefer not to have to sew the whole length of the sail again. Our rudders seem to be holding up well, if the autopilot is anything to go by. He seems very happy. Also, our water filter is wonderful - the water tastes great and that's from me who is very fussy when it comes to water. Mia was disappointed when she found out today that the water was only a filter and not a desalinater, that question coming after enquiring why we were using sea water to wash the dishes. Mark has had to make some minor repairs to the duogen and so we are happy that that is working again. We all really like our watch system and are getting into a routine of sleeping in the day to catch up. We've now gone past Bonaire, so are heading straight for Panama. Current position: 12.54.23N 68.40.90W

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Liberation Day on Pegasus

Jersey's Liberation day (liberated from Occupation by Nazi Germany during the Second World War) was spent on Pegasus by eating Jersey bean crock and Jersey royal potatoes. I don't know why I cooked bean crock because only Mia likes it, but I forced everyone to eat it anyway, because I had bought the beans with me from Jersey and was chuffed that I could actually find them today! The Jersey royals were disappointing, largely because they were the tinned variety, however, Mark's meal of roast chicken and fresh veg with them was delicious.
It's been a very quiet day, with little wind (10 knots) Nevertheless, we are using the spinnekar and traveling in the right direction, and even had a brief visit from dolphins again. We've averaged 120nMs per day which is none too shoddy. I have had my first complaint with my new crew. He has won every Backgammon game we have had since he arrived and I am not happy. Does he not know he has to let me win just occasionally just to keep me happy? I'm holding my tongue at the moment, but I'm not sure how long it will be before I have to let him know the rules of the boat. Otherwise, he's very handy on board and has an uncanny capability of talking for one minute on any subject without repetition, hesitation or umming or errring, a game we have recently started to play. Lochy is also good at this game, as long as the subject is dragons or Harry Potter. Anyone who knows me well, knows I can't play this game as I mostly can't finish my sentences, a habit that drives Mark mad. Mark, Whit and the kids are star spotting at the moment with the help of our new constellation book -we've had a couple of amazingly clear nights - long may it continue!

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05/10/2011 | mom and pops
To smooth sailing! We can wait to hear all about it. The stars must be incredible.
Whit's first full day's sail

8 MAy 2011

And he's still alive! In fact, he's had a very gentle, lovely introduction to long-distance sailing. Yesterday, we had light winds and so were motor sailing with just our genoa out. Then this morning, there was just enough wind for our spinnekar, so we have had all sorts of different combinations of sails today, with spinny just been taken down now it's sunset. Wind has picked up slightly to a lovely 20 knots and so we are thoroughly enjoying good sailing conditions. Our watch sytem is 4 hours on 8 hours off. I have the easy watches 6-10am/pm Mark has 10-2 and Whit 2-6am/pm. We sold the hardest watch well to Whit, saying that he gets to see both the sunset and the sunrise and went on about how wonderful it was to be by yourself at night with only the stars for company!
When the boys were sleeping this morning, Mia, Lochy and I had a water fight on the trampoline which was a lot of fun, cooled us down and I even managed to get some of that soapy stuff they call shampoo on the kids' hair. Lochy said "it's really nice to be back at sea, isn't it mum?" and Mia has been pleased that she hasn't felt sick at all because the swell is behind us. Happy days. Current position: 12.21.26N 64.24.79W

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touch and go but eventually go

7 May 2011
We have officially left Grenada! Mia announced on the radio net in the morning that we were leaving today. Touch and go for a while as to whether we would actually leave. Each small job took much longer than anticipated, with me at the top of the mast for at least an hour trying to feed a halyard back into place. Then, off to Rikky and Kim's to clean up all signs of Mark having worked there for the past couple of weeks. We bought the rudder back to the boat, once again Whit and Mark jumped in whilst I guided it in from the top. Tried to get the bolt in. Didn't line up. In a quiet aside to Whit, I remarked "don't be surprised if we don't leave today" (it was already 2pm.) But Mark clearly had other ideas and pointed out the bearing at the top wasn't in place, adjusted it and pheeeeeyou the bolt fitted in snug as a proverbial bug. So, off to customs, fuel and water berth to fill up. All of us showering whilst the water was going in, so we could top up our tanks again, and then, at 4pm, we left Prickly Bay. I don't think Whit could actually believe we had left. I don't think I could. We've settled into a watch system (more on that tomorrow) but I am tired, have just come off watch, so am off to bed, as I will be up again at 4am. Night night all. Position: 12.09.05N 62.16.98W

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Rudders in and raring to go.......
05/06/2011, Nearly out of Prickly Bay

We've been busy. The boat is ship shape and ready to go. We have our new rudder in, thanks to Mark and Whit in the water guiding it in and me at the top pulling on a bit of string, holding my breath, whilst waiting to see if the bolt would go through at the correct place on the shaft. Because we would have been shafted if it hadn't. We only have to put the other one in tomorrow morning, fill up with fuel and water, check out of customs and we're off. The kids have had a great time here in Grenada with other boat kids and so we all headed over to de Big Fish to say goodbye to all their friends tonight. Fresh produce in the fridge, Mark's tools back where they belong - boat's looking good! This blog's a little disjointed as my mind is on other things (what have we forgotten? Will Whit find his sea legs? Where am I going to put those extra tins now Mark has taken one of my cupboards away? ) so I'll end there for now. We are more than likely heading straight for Panama - 1080nms, so I'll try to update as we sail, but if the SSB radio isn't playing ball, we'll next update in about 10-12 days time. xx

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We have a rudder!!!
05/05/2011, Prickly Bay, Grenada

Mark has just come back to the boat with a fully operational, shiny new (drumroll........) rudder! Having camped at Rikky and Kim's for the past two weeks he has proved that he wasn't just drooling over the good looking sunbathing medical student tenants but he was actually making a rudder!
Also (is there no end to Mark's talents?) when he came home from a long day at the office, he quickly installed the water filter that Whit bought over from the US with him ("heh, Whit, great to meet you. Did you bring the water filter?") A relatively (compared to making a rudder) easy job which means we now don't have to worry about single handedly creating a plastic bottle mountain in the local landfill (no recycling in the Caribbean, except in the French islands). We've bought all the materials for a water catcher, so will be able to top up the tanks as we go though the Pacific.
So, a productive couple of days. Whit tightened the trampoline, we've put new batons in our mainsail and put a new reef line in as our old one was chafed. Still awake? I'm just including these jobs so you know we've been busy and some people might have a clue what we are talking about!
So, when are we leaving? Fingers and toes crossed, Saturday. Tomorrow we will put in rudder number one in the morning, Mark will finish painting the newly reinforced rudder number two ready for installation in the evening and I will stock up with fresh provisions. We may or may not stop at Bonaire, all depending on if there is a good weather window. Stopping or not stopping will only be decided once we are on the go. If we're enjoying a good wind, we'll head straight for Panama, start the paper chase that's involved in the crossing of the canal and if we have time before our crossing date, head back to San Blas islands. I'm getting excited........

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Jackson Four on Tour
Who: Mark, Catherine, Mia and Lachlan
Port: Lefkas, Greece
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