Half way!Ulric E6
12/11/2009, 1,350 nautical miles North of Recife, Brazil
Half way champagne celebration on board! (Hans)
Today we are half way; obviously this can be measured in many ways as we don't know exactly how many miles more we will need to do before reaching Barbados. Peter has kindly brought a couple of bottles of "Veuve Clicquot". One bottle of champagne is due to be consumed half way. In his opinion, half way is when we have less distance to Bridgetown left than half of our original planned distance from Tenerife to Barbados of 2,737 nautical miles. We achieved this at 19.05 tonight!
Other significant mile stones today were: having passed West of the Easternmost point of South America (close to Recife, Brazil, at 34° 30' W) and passed longitude 35° W. The latter implies that we are in the Western rather than Eastern Atlantic because our weather reports for the Western part are provided by the NOAA in the US rather than by Meteo France.
I believe that our arrival date will be December 19th. I expect arrival to be in the morning, Peter expects it 4 o'clock and Hans expects it in the evening. We will see who's right! This would leave me with one or two days on Barbados before heading for Grenada to be there on the 22nd of December.
Hans spent a few hours trying to establish a formula how we could think about the trade off between doing a less direct course, but with a better wind angle and therefore speed on one hand and a direct course to our destination on the other hand. At the end of the day he concluded that there were too many unknown factors relating to getting back on course to make it particularly useful.
We had the champagne as planned earlier tonight. I gave some over the railing to the Spirit of the Sea which I toasted. Queenie herself got plenty as not all champagne stayed in our glasses as we rolled back and forth in the Atlantic swell. She was delighted. I think she is quite keen to party. At least partying in style!
Half way is an appropriate moment to sum up our voyage so far. What has really worked well is the crew, the boat, the weather, our provisioning, eating and our watch schedule. The challenges have almost entirely been related to equipment failures; self steering and generator worries.
No one in the crew is bored and very few issues are raised at our lunch time agony time. We have a slot then when anybody can raise anything; such as irritations, suggestions for improvements etc. Peter and I were advised to set aside such a time slot by Crispin Latymer, whom bought Queen's Ransom II from me, and kindly met up with us to give some Atlantic crossing advice. Crispin crossed the Atlantic single handed a few years ago. He has written an excellent book about his crossing; "Where the ocean meets the sky". Maybe "crew relations" is not the first area of advice you would expect from a truly committed single hander!
Queen's Ransom III is the perfect boat for this trip. She is big enough to offer everybody their own cabin and ability to spread out to also have private space through the day, as well as having space for all equipment to make it comfortable, while not being larger than one person can handle in most situations on their own. She is fast enough to offer good sailing and decent passage times. As you can read, I may not be entirely unbiased, but I am a very big fan of her!