Sea Shanty's – 27th May onboard Northern Child


Ahoy to the land locked!

We are cast away, sailing on our own on the big grey Atlantic Ocean, fighting our way back to the UK. It is maybe not as dramatic as it sounds but the closest contact we can have is with whom ever is equipped with a VHF radio device and in a range of 20 miles. To give you a rough idea, we are on the altitude of Galicia in Spain and 850 miles away. That’s not even helicopter range! (Female voice screaming in the background)

But as always stated, we are on a very safe ship and and the banter is high, as you can expect from 7 guys locked in a small place. We are not going to give any details about that banter and leave people to disclose it to their own discursion. Just assume the line has become a dot because we passed in looooong time ago… …and we’re loving it! The beards are also growing all right, and we should look like proper sailors by the time we arrive in Portsmouth. We’re so Arrrrr!

Our initial plan was to head up North until we bump into the center of a high pressure and then drive through under power and later get some fresh wind again and get to the English Channel entrance. As any passage plan, ours was outdated by the time we cast the lines and headed into the unknown… (Off sound of a person losing consciousness in the audience due to overwhelming suspense) So we trucked all right, close hauled – that’s the point of sail where the wind seems the strongest and the boat heels the most – and hoping for the wind to veer – turning clockwise – in our favour. Reality was a bit different and the best we did was a bit over due North, but have otherwise been pointing quite some time to Iceland. By mid day today, although no veering was in sight, the wind had dropped dramatically and we decided that despite the fact that Iceland is probably a very charming location, we would skip it this time and go back onto the direct route to England. Our speed is less than under sail but still more than with no wind, which seems to be a good compromise.

Tristan has blessed us today again with his gullibility. An absolute gem!
So before getting to the Azores, we made him believe that the Islands are a Turkish protectorate and he could look forward to a tasty kebab over there. After busting us and figuring out that is was not a Turkish island, we apologized and explained that is was in fact a Spanish colony where the traditional dish is a honey and almond cake known as balaclava and people walk around with baklavas on their head. Pretty good fun.
Today’s pearl which he has not found out yet came up when Par, our Swedish crew and doctor onboard, was browsing for music on his phone. So Par has a Swedish iPhone and as we all know, Swedish iPhones are equipped with a super strong 3G chip which allows him to get the Portuguese mobile network out here. Tristan’s British iPhone and my French iPhone obviously are not equipped with this super strong 3G chip (Nordic countries have always been cutting edge in regards to telecommunication) and therefore do not get the Portuguese’s phone signal. Other probable explanation would be that Par’s operator has a special agreement with Portugal’s 3G towers which are known worldwide for there signal’s strength. So in a nutshell, Par can check emails and call, but does mind if we stream movies on his phone… There would be a bit of a lag anyway because we are more than 800 miles away from land and we are having too much fun onboard to be watching movies. But what is for sure, is that as soon as we hit land, I’ll get myself a Swedish iPhone!

Matt has joined the gang and it is great having him onboard. He is a very good student and is already doing his astro navigation sun sights. The morning has been dedicated to bringing the sun down onto the horizon with his super fancy sextant which is a real pleasure to use. We took a few sights this morning and his morning’s sight has been reduced to a position about 3 miles away from our GPS fix, which is excellent for a first shot at sea. I remember having my first sights reduced to a position in the Sixtine chapel or somewhere in Nevada. But eventually you can actually get as close as half a mile or so if you really time it well and do a good job. I am very proud of him and glad to get my head back into that stuff which is more complicated that it seems. What it does for sure, is look cool, and all 7 of us here are for sure.

The bilges have been cleared first thing this morning and we have no diesel spill in them which proves that the generator fuel pump replacement has been a success and that the patient is healthy again. Water is being made and filling our tanks. Glen had the privilege of the first shower in the passage. Cold obviously. Those who knew better have been waiting for the light wind patch to have the engine running and heating the water. The advantage of cold showers is that people are naturally quick and don’t waste the water, making the 3-minute-shower a no brainer. Hopefully the hot water will not lead to abusive water usage, but I am confident that the guys are more carful with the water than the apples. On our first leg, the apples got demolished within a couple of days. This is why we stocked up twice as much for this leg so we have apples for a bit longer (and we are one man less) but this night the net containing the apples must have been raided. A bit of a shame to be honest to go through them in the first day and a half but at least they will not go bad. The apples are now labeled with a “rationing” sign on Tristan’s excellent initiative, and I hope people will self police after I have mentioned that I do not want to make an apple headcount and get back into kindergarten mode for food. Same goes with the goodie box which I have now confiscated and taped the stock. Blimey! If only the same happened to the lettuce and thank God we are on a dry boat! The most popular shanty is:

Just a little bit of rum, wouldn’t do us any harm
Just a little bit of rum, wouldn’t do us any harm
And we haul the old chariot along (3 times)
And we all just stand behind (for this verse it is at least how it sounds like)
Just a drop of Nelson’s blood wouldn’t do us any harm
Just a drop of Nelson’s blood wouldn’t do us any harm
And we haul the old chariot along (3 times)
And we all just stand behind
Just a piece of Irish stew wouldn’t do us any harm
Just a piece of Irish stew wouldn’t do us any harm
And we haul the old chariot along (3 times)
And we all just stand behind
and a few other cool pirate verses….

So now the love boat (love for the sea) is motoring dead on the rhumb line towards the English channel. Every mile me do is a mile closer to home. Yeepee!

A few hours later….

Hello frequent reader, rare mailer,

So the lull is clearly here, nicely snug in the area we are in. We had beautiful skies with text book cloud fronts, but nothing which would give us wind, except the beans…

The water maker decided to pack up and stop working earlier this afternoon. Presumably a French manufactured product because after a few nice words to it and some patience it started working again, so it must have been on a short strike, just enough to freak me out. It wasn’t bad enough for me to mention the panic words of rationing and no more showers and have the crew be worried. I said it stopped working and I am giving it a little break, and as soon as the guy sleeping on the bunk under which the water maker is located got up I made the magic happen. Again. (crowd cheers)

In the next couple of days we’ll still have some light wind and then it should be an almost dead downwind run to the UK, which will hopefully be as cool as it looks on the weather forecast.

Since we had a little bit of time and the seas were flat calm, we thought it would be very funny to draw a shape on the snail trail our plotter keeps on the boat’s computer. The boat owner also has a tracker hidden somewhere on the boat and we were laughing our heads off by the thought of his face when discovering the shape we drew on our 24h mark. There is little left to imagination when 7 guys brainstorm about a funny shape. That pretty much made everybody’s day with all hands on deck and the companionway and the plotter, coordinating what eventually was a pretty difficult exercise as we were aiming at maximum efficiency. The there was the helmsman trying to make a perfect U turn and ruler-straight lines, then the guys relaying the information from the chart table to the helmsman and the feedback, while another guy holding a note pad with the “plan” so the helmsman knew what turn came next. At the end of the day we achieved our virtual picture in the water but because of the size of the shape we drew, there were a few kinks in the lines and angles not particularly accurate. But we all know that size does matter, so we are all very satisfied with the result.

Par and David are making Tuna pasta tonight, and we are all looking forward to this hearty meal which will bring us more through the night that any goodie box. In the meantime Dave and Matt have their heads in the stars, as they are planning the evening sight when the sun sets. They are in the twilight zone and scribbling numbers and frying their brains in books full of numbers and data.

As you can see life is great onboard Northern Child, and you totally miss out on something which is an absolutely amazing experience.
All the best and more from us tomorrow,

Cedric and Northern Child, the most awesome boat in the Atlantic.

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