The 10 minute Rule

Hello all ashore, this is Northern Child,

We have had a very light wind night and again played with the idea of turning the engine on, but each time we observed the skipper’s 10 minute rule, the wind came back in. Sometimes it was just a matter of trimming the sails properly as the wind had shifted a little but the crew on watch kept their eyes on the compass and not the windex. No big deal in itself, but the .2 or .5 or even full knot you gain really makes a difference on the overall performance and rapidly sums up on longer trips. Adding half a knot to your speed means being 5 miles further 10 hours later. Assuming your average speed is 5 knots, this means you are an hour earlier at the bar, which can be critical depending on your expected time of arrival and when happy hour is is.

Today we blitzed the boat. Cedric started cleaning a dish, and a second, and then cleaned the sink until the emulation kicked in and all cushions were taken on deck to dry and be aired. Tristan raided all the bilges to get them bone dry again and we fixed a few things. Heads were cleaned to hospital standard and all the kit which was piling up here and there got sorted. At the end of the day we are almost ready to go ashore now, but the real trick is that when we arrive in Horta we will only have 3 days worth of cleaning to do instead of cleaning up 2 weeks of grimness. Sumps were cleared, sinks were purged, surfaces degreased and antibacted… You name it. It also enhances the experience onboard Northern Child which has been good wit us so far.

The weather previsions are fair and it should stay as today for the next few days. This is why we unsealed the hatches and gave a big breathe to the boat which seriously needed it. You can only man cave for so long, and the last baked beans took a toll on all of us.

We also made a little inventory of what fresh food we have left to go through, and made up a few menus. Last day will be burger steaks and corn on the cob for instance. Yeah! ‘Merica!

As we looked like a gipsy boat with all what usually is inside the boat on the deck, we relaxed nicely in the sun enjoying the super nice cruising we are doing.

A school of dolphins joined again today to our great delight, and Glenn and Dave are reviewing the navigation light cards. Yesterday Cedric had a session about lights with Dave and Tristan and today Glen joined the learning group. Wile we are out here, it is much easier getting your head around such stuff and apply it almost instantly, like yesterday’s night when a big ship overtook us.

We all now feel like back in life. Reading in the sun on the mattresses was just awesome. Francois smoked one of his fat cigars, which he keeps for these moments of bliss. It almost feels like cruising in the Med.

Tonight is chili con carne night. We’ll have guacamole and tacos, and most probably play some of Anselmo’s latino music.

We are quite looking forward to getting to Horta, and the list of links, addresses and information to exchange is getting bigger and bigger: cars to drive, Michelin restaurants to go eat at, hikes to do, and places to sail to. Some watches spoke quite intensively about food yesterday, and it is quite amusing in how much details we go on certain topics. Time is what we have most available, so we might as well describe the best meal we have had or the best car we ever drove (8 guys on the boat, remember?)

You were unfortunately not provided with the answer to yesterday’s quizz sample question. So the sea creature with 2 wings, 16 balls and 51 feet is obviously Northern Child.

Life is great here, we are all loving it, and hope you are doing just as fine at home.

Fair winds to ye,

Northern Child.
Later that same day.

An hour ago we have had radio contact with Nisida, a yacht of our transatlantic fleet. It was nice hearing the skipper’s voice again, and they are now our real threat. We already stated why we are better than EH01, but Nisida has caught up big time. They left from a different island and were to rendez-vous with us on the way but were delayed by a broken clew (corner of the sail which is attached to the rope to control and trim it) on the genoa (triangular sail on the front of the boat) and had to sail with the main sail only for a night and the day while repairing it. In the conversation they mentioned a broken cringle, which is a part of the sail which allows you to reduce the sail area. This is very important as when it starts honking you definitely want less canvas up your rig. They also mentioned they were having their spinnaker up, which is a huge baloony sail which does wonders in downwind sailing. As the conditions are quite light, they are planning on keeping it up during the night.

Here again, it is a great advantage to have this sail for which we are all only begging for at the moment, as this would increase our speed by quite a lot. We are competing here with only white sails (so no spinnaker) and will have to protest and discuss the matter at the bar to see how we will discount the time made good by having a kite form the actual time and find a middle ground on a compensated time. Most probably an agreement on dark and stormies will do.

I also did virgin cocktails looking like tequila sunrises for the crew, with olives and peanuts for the sundowner. Cedric on mother watch, ooh yeah! You’ll get pictures of all that too when we are in the Azores.

Half of the crew is on watch now, from 6 to 9, while the others are fast asleep with their belly stuffed with Anselmo and my chili con carne, guacamole and tortillas… We finished the evening around a few riddles and jokes, before switching into night mode: turns at the helm, cups of tea, red light, no music in between watch changes.
All is quiet and we are sailing gently along.

This is Northern Child, wishing you all a very good night, and standing by on channel 16.


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