Tenerife to Brazil -Day 3

Reading: The Salt Path (Raynor Wynn)
Weather: A bit cloudy overnight clearing to sun and Simpsons clouds – Wind S 1-2 shifting N-NE 2-3 mid-morning
Thought for the day: Having a routine is the framework for life on board ……
Evening meal: Roast port, roast potatoes and roast vegetables with salad
Course: Between 180oC and 220oC depending on wind
Distance covered: At 1300 we had done 231 miles, 3,533 to go (to Brazil)

Being at sea you shift into your own little microcosm and become completely inward-looking and self-focused. Given that we have seen nothing at all today for the first time – no ships, no wildlife and no land (Morocco is the nearest place at 160 miles away) – this shift becomes complete. A part of this process is building a routine and the routine becomes all-encompassing. Everything we do is based around the watch system and tasks fit around that. So, here’s a typical day (so far) ….

The day starts just before midnight (well OK, not quite, but the routine starts there ….). Around 5-10 minutes before midnight, the new watch starts to appear to take over from us. They are greeted with a tray of tea and coffee which we have made around 15 minutes earlier – all in thermos’s to last them the first few hours of the watch. When everyone is together, we then tell the ‘story’ of the watch to pass on anything essential to them about what has happened, though this is mostly trivia around what we have done for the last 6 hours! Then we head to bed …..

My alarm goes off at 05.40 and I get up and perhaps shower and get ready for the next watch. At 0600 the same pattern is repeated, but this time, the tea and coffee is accompanied by porridge. We have another couple of hours of darkness before sunrise (around 8am at the moment) and then have breakfast. The rest of the morning watch is spent nattering, reading, doing jobs or just watching the world go by. Around 11.45 our watch prepares lunch, so at the handover we all sit down for lunch together. Lunch is usually left-overs from last night’s supper with fresh bread, cheese, ham and what seems to be a firm favourite of the Dutch crew – chocolate spread!

The new watch then takes over from us and one of their jobs is clearing up after lunch. I usually boot up the satellite tracker to send our location home, read for a bit and then try and get another couple of hours sleep. Then writing up this journal, reading or ….. This part of the routine has yet to evolve and will, I am sure change as we go on.

1800 is then supper. During her watch Jet cooks supper and this is ready for us all at the watch change. We are then on watch for six hours and one of our jobs is clearing up after dinner. On this watch we get the sunset (around 8pm) and then a few hours of darkness. Just before midnight, the whole cycle starts again.

The breaks in the routine are then any sail changes or manoeuvres required. During our morning watch the wind shifted to N-NE and slowly started to build, so Jet was woken up and the main was hoisted. Peace and quiet ….. at last. Most of the day we have been making a peaceful 5-6 knots on a broad reach and the forecast is for the trade winds of around 20 knots to start kicking in over the next 18 hours. We will see what excitement spices up the foundation given by the routine!