ARC Rally, Day 16

We’re happy to be in the trade winds, but they are not giving us much of a break. The winds are generally less than forecast, but up and down between 14 and 22 knots. They are also quite shifty, and with a quartering sea, staying on course is a challenge. The autopilot course correct function died a couple days ago so we have to power steer to (what we hope to be) the course and then reset the pilot. It is a less than perfect situation and it’s challenging for whoever is the duty watch person on the box. All this, and the breeze has been slowly clocking to the east, pushing us to the north of our course line. And it’s HOT and HUMID.As the winds eased a bit yesterday afternoon, we changed up to the big kite.  A few hours later, just before sundown we changed back down in case we ran into squalls in the evening.  Our kite “peels” are taking about 1-1/2 minutes, according to the Admiral.

As the sun was setting on the western horizon last evening, a sliver of a new moon appeared a few degrees above it.  Otherwise, it was a clear night lit only by the type of bright starlight one sees out where there are no ambient lights to wash them out.
Merima made sea breezes for happy hour to cool down the crew before serving up a fill of fettuccini carbonara accompanied by a dry Spanish rosé.  An occasional scoop of lemon sorbet coming up from the galley also helps to cool us off every now and then.
After dinner we laughed to the humorous cruising songs of Eileen Quinn on the stereo.
Other than being warm and muggy, it was an uneventful night and the only thing that appeared on the radar screen was a lit weather buoy that we left about four miles to starboard early this morning.
As the fleet converges on a single point at the northern tip of St. Lucia, we half expect to see another ARC boat here and there, but the standings show that about 220 of the 240 boat fleet are actually astern of us.  It looks as if we’ll miss the Early Arrivals party on Wednesday evening by less than a day, but based on the fleet’s distances to run to the finish, so will about 95% of the ARCers.
We received an email from a friend of Kurt’s who is a teacher back in Auckland and whose class of 10 year olds is following our progress.  In a recent homework assignment, the class was asked to write a poem.  One boy submitted the following with Kurt’s flying fish incident in mind: “Glide glide through the air, plop splat on the deck, shrieking screaming like a girl – Kurt on night watch.”
We’ve made good progress towards St. Lucia since noon yesterday, covering 217 nautical miles.  Our noon position today was 14° 40′ north by 54° 01′ west and we had approximately 400 miles to run to St. Lucia.
Oh, and did I mention, its HOT!
Cheers, the MooCrew


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