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Jua Kali – ARC Race Blogs – Day 11

Jua Kali. Day 11 – Nine men in a boat and all that!!
A new day has broken and at last we have turned towards our destination. Getting to this point has not been without it’s challenges, some of which my fellow bloggers have already discussed. Along the way strong head winds, lengthy periods of no wind, low VMG to St Lucia and difficult nigh time helming conditions have all tried to dampen our spirits. Yesterday the spinnaker collapsed when going too deep downwind and the foot of the S4 caught on the bow roller. The resulting tear required urgent repair work by the off watch team, who with the use of rip stop tape, neat sewing and additional reinforcement with Gorilla tape, managed to get us up and running again in about 2 hrs. A further downwind incident early today resulted in a spinnaker wrap around the forestay. Fortunately, the sail was recovered without further damage. We are not to be broken however, as the sunshine and our new direction bring new vigour to JK as we make good speed westwards.
Our food and water stocks should see us through our trip and we look forward to each meal and wonder at the inventiveness of our international crew. Our ‘one cooking pot’ strategy is working well and we even managed a decent lasagne – not quite ‘al forno a bois’ but even Riccardo found it acceptable.
So far two loaves of bread have been baked, which were consumed quickly. On the fishing front we have so far caught, and landed 2 decent dorado and four small tuna. These were expertly prepared by our resident Norwegian fish expert and his trainee Marcus, and then devoured by the hungry crew. On the downside we successfully managed to set free four much bigger fish, including one large dorado that flapped around on the stern before slipping the grasp of one of our crew. A true tale of two loaves and four fishes.
Daily routine is important and the two watches take turns in keeping JK clean and tidy. During one session the eggs were found to be cracked and decision was taken to throw them overboard. One be one they were thrown from the main hatch but we had not realised that Kiwi Matt was a cricket fan as he instinctively raised his hand to pluck the round object thrown towards him from the air. The moral of the story is make sure the eggs are hard boiled if you try to catch them!!
Wildlife and the environment continue to feature on this trip. In addition to fish, we have seen numerous pods of dolphins playing in the wake of the boat. Pilot whales have also put in an appearance, which is a bit disconcerting at night when they ‘blow’ nearby but cannot be seen. Shoals of flying fish suddenly skim the water surface and occasionally leap on board. Luckily we seem to have found these early before  the smell of rotting fish gives away their location. For the past few nights we have been treated to clear skies, a multitude of stars and the glare of a half moon.
The wind now looks set for a fast downwind passage so fingers crossed the conditions hold as we speed ahead.
Tony Riley

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