As always and planned, the sun went up very early and we were treated with a few hours of very respectable wind which brought us back into the groove of ripping along, heeling to 15 degrees and having our dear yacht slicing the water and leaving a long and regular wake behind it.
Unfortunately, we were later close to be becalmed for the first time and had EH01 appearing on the horizon and eventually catching up with us. It took them long enough but the light conditions were clearly in their favour.
It was rapidly decided to turn on the engine and keep our lead as at the end of the day, what really counts for a dry boat, is when we get to the bar! We are about 100 nautical miles from Horta, which means that our current speed we will make it in time to come in and tidy the boat while the skipper is performing the custom duties (Horta belongs to Portugal and is therefore our port of entry into the EU). Once that is done, we can take the rest of the afternoon off and stretch our legs, walk further than 50 feet and go have the very well deserved dirty beer. The standing shaving interdiction to the crew is accompanied by the obligation to proceed to the dirty beer upon arrival, which means that once we are tied on and pretty much sorted, we go directly to the bar as we are. Usually motivation drops after a nap or a shower, and this is why the dirty beer has to be had as soon as possible.
But we shall not be so dirty after all. With the engine running, we are now able to enjoy all the luxury Northern Child can produce, like power galore, and warm water, as it is reheated by the engine’s system. Pretty smart, no?
EH01 has mentioned unsportiness in the morning mail to the skippers, for we kicked on the donkey, but they have crept back out of the horizon and are playing catch with us again. Nothing to worry about at the end of the day because we totally outnumber them, totally outgun them (sun’s out…) and we are sexy and we know it.
We spotted a school of dolphins again today and are cruising along on an almost flat calm sea. A beautiful view of pure space. A 360 uncut horizon, which gives you really a feeling of being out there and totally yourself.
The afternoon was obviously driven by ETA (expected time of arrival) calculation, minimum speed, correlations between speed and bar opening hours etc. Also we started talking about our next leg, from Horta to Porstmouth, and although we haven’t even made it to Horta yet, we are all very keen to get to the UK. It will indeed be a very nice passage as it involves the passing of Brittany (offshore, but still on the chart) and then the heading up of the English Channel with it’s busy shipping lanes, and eventually the hopping along from headland to headland on the Southern UK coast, although some tidal gates might make us want to stay further away in case they are not favourable. The pinnacle will be the entrance to the Solent, the European sailing Mecca, by passing the Needles which are very famous rocks looking like huge molar teeth, passing in front of Cowes and Southampton waters, until we make it to Portsmouth where traffic can be very intense. This will be our last port of call, after we have made about 3500 miles form English Harbour to Porstmouth, like the big navy vessels hunting pirates in the Carribean in the 18th century. Quite a remarquable passage when you think of it.
We will tell you more about this when we get there.
Today is the last night offshore for now, so we will have beef burgers with corn on the cob, which we kept specially for the last evening.
Tomorrow you will know what happened to EH01, whether or not we let them pass by, and how it feels to be back on land. It is already predicted some will feel a bit jiggly and will prefer spending some resting time on the boat.
Fair winds, and a good evening to you all at home,
Northern Child, the boat that rocked.