ARC Rally, Day 10

After ten days of clawing our way southward, we’ve finally found the trade winds. We’ve given up on trying to better Moonshadow’s last ARC Rally time of just under 14 days and now are just shooting to beat Christopher Columbus’ best time of 21 days for the trans-Atlantic passage. Most of yesterday and last night was spent motor sailing in light and fickle winds and rolly seas which kept the sails slatting and making it difficult for the MooCrew to get any good sleep.

It was a pretty boring ride so we set about doing some minor repair and maintenance.  Graham managed to repair the aft cockpit B & G (Broken Gauges) knot meter that was showing gobbledygook numbers, by cannibalizing a couple old gauges I had in spare parts inventory.  We now have an operational knot log display in the aft cockpit once again.  I can’t believe this stuff is giving us trouble when it’s only 25 years old!
Snacktician Merima whipped up a lovely dinner of capellini pesto with roasted pine nuts and reggiano parmesan cheese, accompanied by a fresh green salad and a bottle of Italian white wine.
Early this morning the breeze filled in from the south east and we finally put the engine to sleep.  Setting the big kite in ten knots of breeze, we were finally sailing directly towards St. Lucia.
We sailed into a large cloudy patch and it began raining buckets.  We didn’t mind because the breeze held and the entire boat, rig and sails were getting a water blast. After a warm and sticky evening, it was actually quite refreshing.  Rather than get a kit of clothing wet, the boys stripped down to the last garment, either a Speedo or underwear.  Charles was quite a picture on the helm.  The rest of us brushed the flying fish scales off the decks so we could collect the gift of fresh water from heaven in our tanks.  Graham filled the buckets and did some wash.  Kurt lathered up and had a shower.  I gave the cockpit a rinse.
Embedded in the rainy patch was a squall packing winds twice the ambient wind speed.  It wasn’t the typical violent nasty squall with big wind shifts, but sailing into it with the big kite, we found ourselves running at 10-11 knots in 23+ knots of wind.  Rather than having God take it down for us, we snuffed the kite, dropped it safely into the forepeak and ran in front of the wind with just the mainsail till the big winds passed.  We later rolled out the jib and two-sail reached till we got out from under the threatening cloud layer.
After a warming chicken noodle soup lunch, we set the kite again and continued sailing a direct course toward St. Lucia, crossing our half way point of the passage.  A half-way party was in the planning.
Our position at noon local time was north 13° 53′ by west 36° 16′ and our 24 hour run from noon to noon was 187 nautical miles.
Cheers from the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, George, Merima, Charles, Graham and Kurt


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