13/05/2010 - Recounting the past

The wind arrived at about 4 am so by the time we were up at 7 the sails were set and we were moving along at an impressive pace (well, impressive for The Picton Castle) approx 7 knots!

Today was to be a helming day and I took my turn at 10am in between rustbusting sessions on the anchor chain,. It was tricky to keep her on the “South by south West quarter south” bearing, but all in, not that much different from helming a yacht.  There was a blue sky, but cold wind to counteract it, so still bloody chilly. We were informed that the water temperature was now 11,5º and by tomorrow we would hit the gulf stream with a water temp of 20º!  I remain cynical! 

The wind dropped slightly, but the seas were still quite stormy and Sophie our watch leader was soaked as one wave slammed into the side of the ship and bounded over the top to drench her!

Many pods of dolphins were seen today, surfing the bow wave,.. jumping alongside us and I am pretty sure they were just common dolphins,.. no sign of the Atlantic striped from yesterday!

We are now off the coast of New Jersey (about 300 hundred miles) and 200 miles south of Nova Scotia, we managed a speed of 9 knots with winds of about 20-25knots, a fair speed for a ship of this type!  To give you an idea of the distances we are covering, we managed 29 nautical miles in the 4 hours of night watch… not the fastest mode of travel I grant you, but one of the most interesting!

Night watch was pretty uneventful, we had most sails set and made good time, but there wasn’t a great deal going on, I was on lookout from 22h to 23h,…   the thing about being on lookout during night watch is that very little happens,.. no moon at the moment, so visibility is at a minimum, at one point I did manage to see a light on the horizon off the starboard beam (sounded very Star Trek!). 

Whilst on lookout, your mind tends to drift and I began to think back to how I got here, standing on a barque in the middle of the Atlantic, spending my days sleeping , learning about sailing and freezing my arse off staring into the dark for hours on end,..  I recounted past relationships, what I missed, what I didn’t, what went wrong etc.  the news of friends of mine having their second child bring into focus that what I haven’t achieved, a stable relationship with someone I love, a stable job, a stable life with kids, weekends with the grandparents etc,…   everyone says there is plenty of time, and of course they are right what difference does 14 months really make? I know I should be focusing on enjoying the moment, but it is difficult when even stoically playboy friends of mine are beginning to settle down. 

Mind you, they all say how jealous they are of me and my present lifestyle and they have every right to be,.. I love this!!


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