Monday, week 2

Yesterday we broke all records with a noon to noon run of 188 miles! This was all the more remarkable as the last 6 hours were very light indeed , and we even changed to a small jib for the night ( we try and choose a night time rig that will ensure minimum effort and maximum sleep). At no stage was it ever more than gentle relaxed sailing , but our secret was the wind angle on our sweet spot ( 120 degrees true) where Festina will hold 7 knots in 12 knots of breeze, and our new best friend Fair Eddie ,who helped us along at up to 2.4 knots for a while. For hours on end the GPS was registering 9.5 knots over the ground whilst we just sat and read !

All good things come to an end and since dawn the wind has been around the 5-6 knot mark , Fair Eddie is running out of energy and indeed has just turned North , so we might be back in the grips of his foul cousin soon. Nonetheless we are still making 4 or 5 knots under shy kite over very gently undulating seas and clear blue skies. Over to our South there are big banks of cumulus and the occasional whispy low thin cloud drifts over our way . I wish I could understand what these clouds are telling us about the position of the high and the best way to get round or through it.

Sadly yesterday’s splendid progress and weather was spoilt by the fact that our e-mail went down. By now I am fairly confidant of these things so patiently reinstalled and checked the programmes on the computer and reintroduced the satphone links but all to no avail. The thought of trying to make our way through the complex weather systems without the wonderful level of information we have grown used to was frustrating , but of course previous generations never had these advantages , and at least one of our friends has set off knowing from the start that they would just have to rely on the clouds and a barometer , so I am sure we would have got on fine. Nonetheless it was a lovely feeling when we discovered in the early hours of this morning that our servers had been down , but all was back up and running and we were once more back in touch with the world. It has been a great help over the past few days as we have deliberately struggled North to avoid the high , and our Viking friends to the South have proven this was a good move by dropping behind. Ironically the weather info when it arrived suggests that the computers don’t really know what is going to happen next , so we might as well just head for Horta and see what happens!

We have noticed that once you get over half way , distances seem to tumble and at 687 NM to go , that puts the 2/3 mark within a days sail. As we are still eating Christmas pudding left over from our half way celebrations , the 2/3 rds packet of crisps has been reassigned to the ¾ mark ( 450 to go)! Just in case you are getting as mathematically challenged as we are , our position at 1400UT was 38 18N 43 31W. Wind SW 6 knots. We are slipping along nicely under the mango kite and if you get this then our satcoms are working fine again . All well.

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