It's truly amazing that after sailing 6,000 nautical miles, we are still within AIS (Automatic Identification System) range of another boat. In fact, last night, Unicef came screaming along under kite and gave way to us - they were so close we could hear the cheers and hello" calls from their boat.
Last night, we held a quiz with them over VHF at 2030UTC for a little light entertainment - questions ranging from "what do you get when you cross a yak with a cow?", to the more intellectual "Why did the fish cross the road?" (for the halibut). It was great fun, and nice to hear some other human voices! The crew sound in great spirits - also excited to get there - and we are both willing away this wind hole we seem to have found ourselves in.
Ah, another wind hole - we are getting plenty of training at this having started in Liverpool with basically no wind, then two more days in the Bay of Biscay, and then another couple of days sailing through the centre of the low off Portugal, then another day before the Doldrums Corridor. We are hoping this has been a good decision, and the wind fills in over here in the west before filling in in the east and we shoot along to Uruguay before the others. Everything feels a gamble right now - so it will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few days.
Life in the wind hole is sort of a split between making the boat move as fast as we can, whilst keeping ourselves sane through random activities and conversations. Yesterday, Will Stokely got out - as you do on an ocean sailing race - his henna kit (not too sure why you have this Will...?) and we released our artistic talents. Well this essentially ended up being the crew all wanting turtle tattoos to mark their Shellback status. I was hoping a tattoo artist could be a second career option on returning to the UK, although the crew have told me that would be a very bad choice...I guess their turtles are a little funny looking - I'll let you guys decide when we get in!
Other things, – Tomasz Wietecha and Phil Whittaker got inventive in the galley - three loaves of bread, roasted garlic spread, garlic bread, lentil stew...you might smell us and our garlic haze before you see us at this rate.
A few odd jobs went on to recover from our spinnaker disasters, including running of halyards, whipping and anti-chafing lines, and repairing sail bags. Everyone getting involved in the sewing side of things which is great, and they love it! (which is very, very lucky considering the work that awaits us in Punta del Este with three kites/net-like-structures).
Are we nearly there yet?
Sailing with style - Nik