Sunday 2 December 2012

ARC Day Five guest written by Paul Windsor

Five days in and we hit the 1,000 mile mark, a minor milestone and well ahead of our best expectations. The wind has been delivering 25 knots, often more, since we left Las Palmas and we have been converting this into average speeds over 8 knots, morning, noon and night. 
Whilst this relentless driving force speeds us towards our destination it does put pressure on our daily lives.  The simple act of making a cup of tea becomes a major exercise. Filling the kettle uses twice the normal water as excess splashes around the spout and into the sink. The gimballed cooker does its job with great flair, swinging away in its fittings but get your finger caught in the wrong place at the wrong time as the boat temporarily sits upright in the ocean swell and it acts like a meat slicer. As you place a cup on the worktop ready to receive the liquid refreshment it topples over onto the floor with a clatter as a wave/wind combo hits our port quarter – even more of a mess if you have managed to pour tea into the cup first.

All this takes place whilst wedging feet, thighs, buttocks and shoulders into any receptive cavity to create a brace against the next 70 degree lean. Then you have to pass the cup of boiling liquid up to the boys in the cockpit, around 2 meters above the floor of the galley. ....five times! Imagine this process for breakfast, lunch and supper. It is equally challenging to do other simple things like showering, washing and shaving. Even sleeping is fairly hazardous with a simple doze on the cockpit seats likely to be disrupted with the arrival of the teak flooring as you are propelled with vigour from the original prone position.

But we just love it all. The best position on the boat is at the helm when we each have an opportunity to pit our wits to master and control this 30 ton beast against the wind and waves of the Atlantic. She responds to each sensitive tweak of the helm and loves nothing more than surfing down the front of a 5m roller, dipping her bow into the wave and straining every sinew to pull up into the wind and tear away from the firm hands steering her towards the setting sun.   

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