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28th May – MOB exercise for a sheet of paper!!

And the engine of Northern goes round and round, round and round….
…all day and all night.

By this we are trying to underline the fact that the engine’s background noise has become our environment. When we sleep, when we are on watch, when we eat, when we talk…. It is pretty annoying and you feel the vibrations wherever you are.

We motored through a very lit night and oil flat seas, which was very enjoyable. A big relief for the helmsman who isn’t pushed around and just follows quietly the number the skipper indicated him while the other chat along and don’t have to trim the sails. Not that they do it much more in other times, but when motoring there is not even the need to look at it, so you are pretty relaxed about the piece of cloth hanging still on the mast. It is just the one or other swell wave which interrupts the engine’s humming by a flap-flap, and the spiel goes on.

Just before it became dark, we spotted a group of humpback whales. We decelerated and eventually shut down the engine to just hear them breathing and breeching. The dead silence interrupted by a a big expiration, and you could really feel the size of the lung as this big deep-toned blow spat a water column. It was an absolutely fascinating moment. Good thing we didn’t hit them at full speed! But we have a long keel, so we would probably thumped onto them and decelerated a bit leaving a sashimi trail. Nothing stops Northern Child!

The midnight watch change has been rough, ensuring a prompt wake up of the B-watch as they tend to be late, except Glen, who is the first to fight in this group. Good man. So at 1150 all lights were turned on and the motivating party music blasting. “Rise and shine ladies! Watch change in 10 minutes” the drill inspector shouted, giving a regular count down, and waving the Maglite in the cabins. At 8 bells, the watches passed over the current orders. Niiiice!

Matt has proven great interest and dedication in the astronavigation. He took a few sights in the morning and at noon and has been below deck since then, crunching numbers. Dave on his side has been crunching apples and writing numbers on paper all afternoon. Not sure where his fixes are positioning us, but if it is somewhere near the UK that would be fine. During the noon sight, a sheet of paper flew of the deck, which resulted in an immediate man overboard maneuver. Within less than 30 seconds we were stopped upwind of the floating sheet and ready for the recovery. Unfortunately, by the time we were literally on it, it had already stopped floating and started sinking into the abyss, too deep for us to catch it with the boat hook. Had the sheet of paper worn it’s life jacket, the recovery would have been no problem at all. In rough weather or at night the sheet would not even flown away as it would have been clipped onto the deck. This just shows how vital life jackets are (the sheet was probably unconscious by the time we got back) and how critical it is make your MOB maneuvers second nature.

At lunch we had the skipper’s monster salad which was pretty much a Greek salad with olives, feta, onions, lettuce… Basically a raid in the fridge on the fresh stuff which was about to go off. Added to it were eggs which were French “eggs mimosa”. It is a hard boiled egg from which you cut in half and pull out the yolk to mix it up with some mayo and a few spices and then put the whole back into the empty and hard egg white. Looks cool and is a nice thing to have. The first time Cedric made that it was quite a success, hence the encore. We have plenty of eggs onboard, because eggs a super versatile and are a great protein source for guys like us who work hard all day. You can have them at any time of the day and they are just the business. In grim weather, a total life and morale saver is an egg and bacon sandwich in half baked bred put in your hand and a cup of Earl Grey with sugar and a dash of milk in the other. On Northern Child the milk is poured in after. Prestige oblige…

An event in the day has been the hosing down of the aft cockpit and giving it a little clean. Strangely enough, for we are 7 blokes on the boat, the magical pube fairy hasn’t visited us too often. The magical pube fairy is about 15cm high and looks like a big fat and hairy dude in a pink ballet dress. It has little yellow wings in the back and visits ship cockpits, bilges and nooks and crannies and disperses hands-full of pubes which then stick to surfaces. Unless your counteract immediately, the fairy will come more and more often until you cannot get rid of its presence anymore. The fairy’s aim is to find your threshold after witch it is so grim that you don’t want to clean it anymore. Fun games…

EH01 must have passed us by now, as they are powering along as we do, but almost 2 knots faster. We are heavy and have an egg whisk of an engine or prop and we try to go easy on the fuel. If we wanted we could totally beat them, but we don’t. We are patiently waiting for rougher weather which might not come, or at least not now. It looks like we are going to have in the next 24h some breeze coming in from behind, though not much, and therefore we should be able to sail it nicely and downwind to the UK. Bring it on. Predictions in Horta said there would be some serious wind expecting us at the Channel by the end of May. We can’t wait for it, as flat calm is really not our thing.

Master chef Glen treated us with a delicious Cumbrian lamb hotpot which he beefed up (sorry for the pun and lamb) with some of out potatoes. We are working hard on getting rid of this hamper full of potatoes with which we left the Caribbean. We are on the verge of turning into potatoes ourselves, so we alternate pasta, rice, potatoes, etc… Gotta watch your carbs!

What will the night bring us, no one knows. Maybe there will be an additional log later!

This message is brought to you by Northern Child, coolest boat in the Atlantic.

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