So today's the day. It feels like a real benchmark and we're pretty proud to say we've passed 5 degrees north and after a storming 12 hours we are well on our way to clearing 4 degrees north as well. Although we haven't hit the trade winds of the south quite yet we feel like we've made significant progress throughout nearly the whole today with only a couple of minor blips and wind holes since 0700 UTC.
After spotting whales last night in the evening watch and some pretty fluky air, a couple of unknowing hove to's and a bit of heading in the wrong direction sunrise really did bring a whole different story. We experienced 12.5 knots plus of boat speed (something of a treat for myself at the helm) and also some good upwind sailing out of the Doldrums. I guess therefore we are in limbo as such. We can smell those southerly winds in the distance and we are desperately hoping to tap into them to give the fleet in the west the slip.
After a few days being almost the furthest away from the finish line and therefore at the bottom of the leader board the gradual rise up the rankings has also been refreshing to find ourselves in sixth position at the last report and also telling tales that the fleet in the west is will be experiencing up to another 36 hours of ‘Doldrumming’. So far therefore a fairly happy crew and a skipper with a big smug grin on his face at the daily meeting.
Another refreshing thing is sleep. The Doldrums made daytime and night time sleep very hard to come by. Waking up in your own sweat (something my girlfriend will tell you is not a pleasant thing for myself) is rather unbearable. Last night however a couple of comments from the crew indicated that they had for the first time actually slept ok and were not in the same predicament as myself. One crew member commented particularly on my refreshed state as I was way more talkative than usual asking how everyone was. Apparently they usually get a gruff minimal response. Clearly I'm not a happy waker.
This seems a good time to explain the crew watch system. I'm sure some family and friends are aware now of how this works and I'm sure that some boats do indeed do it differently but for PSP Logistics our watch pattern starts at 0700 UTC. The oncoming watch is then up till 1400 UTC in the afternoon for their day watches with the off going watch coming back on at 1200 UTC. Therefore we find ourselves with a two hour overlap where the watch changes at 1300 UTC. This two hour overlap also gives the crew the chance to catch up and shoot the breeze on the rail and we also have our daily meeting to talk about the fleet positions, updates on the boat, things that have happened in the last 24 hours, the upcoming expected weather, our plan for the next couple of days and any changes to that plan, etc. From 1400 UTC to 1900 UTC the watch that went off gets to have their long sleep of the day. Dinner is served at half past six so we are expected to get up a little early to eat so we are ready to go on watch for 1900 UTC. The night time watches are done on a 4 hour basis so from 1900 UTC to 2300 UTC, 2300 UTC to 0300 UTC and then round to 0700 UTC again. Breakfast is served again around half past six ready on deck for 0700 UTC.
I hope this enlightens some of you as to life on board a little.
That's all for now anyhow.