Atlantic Crossing – Day 17

13°05’101 N
56°22’653 W

It’s 4 PM our time. We’re not too sure what time zone we’re in, but
yesterday we decided to advance our watches by an hour. Pierrick, Clément
and I were sitting around the cockpit table and figured it was time to
change time. There was nothing scientific or astrological about it. I must
admit, it’s amusing to decide what time zone you’re in.

We have just seen a show of dolphins. When I write that we see dolphins, I
seldom mean that we see them far off in the ocean doing flips. Usually
they come right up to the boat and swim along us. They swim between our
hulls and in front of the boat. Their play seems to be to swim along each
other and then fancily cut each other off. They do low jumps and sometimes
turn onto their sides, peering up at us. We shout out to them from the
trampoline. We tap the sides of the hulls to attract them. They are
beautiful animals.

I am writing this on the table in the cockpit. Pierrick, Hugo and Clément
are playing Scrabble next to me, in English. None are native speakers.
Double points for a word related to meat (??). There seems to be an
international understanding between men on how to jokingly get on each
other’s nerves. Clément has been stalling. He can’t find a word. Pierrick
and Hugo start tapping the table, without some much as exchanging a
glance. They tap, and then tap faster, and then add to that their other
hand until Clément is so infuriated by this metronome that he shouts out
and sends them both to hell, which causes the two others to laugh. And the
chiding goes on. Clément just went to the toilet… and brought his letters
with him! Not only are they making me laugh, but I am the closest thing
they have to an English dictionary. They are distracting bunch!

Spirits are better than 2 days ago. After the soggy pasta – that we threw
to the sea today as it was molding – we’ve managed some enjoyable meals.
Chickpea salad. Cucumber salad. Risotto with peas. Luckily we fished a
huge “dorade corifène” (a mahi-mahi, a sort of sea bass) yesterday. It was
a beautiful 10 kilo beast. I filmed the fishing and butchering, which
we’ll put online once we can. A true godsend that will allow us to eat
properly until our arrival in Barbados. We had grilled fish steaks for
lunch. Tonight we’ll have tartare and lentil salad.

Our ETA is the 23rd of January. The day after tomorrow. That in itself is
enough to lift our spirits. Pauline asked us over lunch what we most look
forward to eating once we arrive on land. Clément craves Belgian beer and
a Belgian snack, like fries and a sandwich called “une mitraillette”.
Pierrick would love an entrecote with fries. Hugo would go for pork loin
with pepper sauce. Pauline wants chocolate pudding. I, on the other hand,
am looking forward to resuming my whole foods diet and my circuit training
workouts. I tried keeping that up while sailing, but doing exercises like
burpees on the damp deck of a moving boat was not fun, and felt a bit
dangerous. I couldn’t put in the proper intensity so I decided to put my
training on hold while doing some stepper and weights.

The weather patterns have been rather constant over the past few days.
Winds go up to around 14 knots in the mornings and evenings, and then die
down to a lull of 6 knots by mid-afternoon. Apparently this is normal for
the trade winds. This daily wind variation is much like the tide. Today
and yesterday have been sunny, though it rained yesterday evening. The
winds strengthened while approaching the dark cloud on the horizon. All
the crew except for Pauline, who’s been suffering from a wisdom tooth
coming out, got in full rain gear and went on deck. At last some action!
We set our sails and rode out on winds that reached 20 knots for all of
half an hour. Once in the eye of the storm, the winds all but stopped. The
rain washed the deck and we closed ourselves up in the cockpit and had
dinner. This morning we brought in the main sail and set the genoa and
geneker goose winged (in scissors). We are being leisurely pushed towards

One question I put to the crew is, “What do you do during your night
shift?” The answers are:

Pierrick: Set the sails. Writes an article for the blog. Studies the
weather forecast. Steers the boat. Reads.

Clément: Works out. Walks the deck. Pets Moody.

Hugo: Works out. Reads. Watches the stars & tries to identify the
constellations. Plays with Moody.

Pauline: Reads. Researches recipes. Often makes something for lunch.
Sweeps the deck.

Me: Read. Write blog posts. Prepare breakfast for Pierrick and me. Clean
whatever looks dirty. Following the boys example, I started using this
time to work out.


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