Saturday’s child works hard for a living.

Well , Neptune has thrown down the gauntlet and directed the wind to blow direct from Horta. Just to prove a point he has thrown in a bit of leeward going tide as well but all he has achieved is to put us on our mettle and we have shifted to upwind racing mode. The wind is varying by 30 degrees and we have yet to work out if there is a predictable shift on the way , so we are treating it as an oscillating wind and tacking on the shifts. With 160 miles to go that will probably be a lot of tacks unless the next weather download shows a predictable shift that will enable us to bang a corner.

Its getting pretty crowded around here! At present I can see 2 yachts , one is I think a French catamaran , and the other a Norwegian Swan, both motoring. Within 20 miles must be another Norwegian and a Swede who left Bermuda 6 days before us as we can hear them clearly on the VHF, plus a lonely Spaniard who doesn’t speak English or French and who therefore cannot join in the conversations. This is an extraordinary state of affairs as even in small bits of water like the Channel you lose sight of people very quickly , so out here there must be an extraordinary number of boats converging on the Azores for it to appear so crowded. The French cat has come from Guadeloupe but all the others have I think come from Bermuda. As I write we are surrounded by about 50 common dolphins making it even busier.

The cooker is falling apart again. We have rebuilt it from time to time with bits of Stainless steel sheet and wherever we stop next we need to have another go. The log reads 20 miles short of 10,000 miles since we set out , so plenty of bits and pieces are in a similar state of needing care and attention. Despite this Lynda has emerged triumphantly with a superb hot loaf which we will attack for lunch. Our position today at local noon ( 1300UT) is 38 41N 32 06 W, a crowded bit of ocean , and Festina and her crew are in good spirits. All well.

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