ARC 2012 : Crossing the Atlantic Onboard blog from Swan 46 Milanto,

Wednesday, 05 December 2012


Day 10 - Where to go…We’ve all seen those nature programs, where the pack of wolves picks off the weakest looking buffalo or antelope. The producers always contrive to show the sequence of the one that got away first, to make us all feel good, but some poor soul is usually ripped limb from limb in the end, and becomes the main course of wolf dinner, and puts us off our own. Valerio makes great play of the fact that he is not competitive in the ARC, but he has our first prey in his sights, so let’s just say his ambivalence isn’t entirely genuine.

The Tropic of Cancer sits at a latitude of 20.5’N. It is the point at which the sun reaches its maximum height for us for the summer solstice and is the point beyond which lies The Tropics. We passed over to the other side the day before yesterday. It is noticeably warmer, the wind brings just a gentle respite cooling from the heat of the sun; the water is beginning to look tempting.

The ARC racing fleet is actually quite small in number, the majority of boats simply cruise the course and a raft of others shadow those. There were in fact just 15 boats in our racing class, in the end 14 started and 1 has since retired with electrical problems, leaving 13 still running. Due to the weather at the start we decided to effectively delay our start by one day, and of the group of others which also decided to do this, we are currently leading or amongst the leaders. We now have the first of the stragglers who left the day before on our radar.

Supplies of certain food products are running thin on the ground; in fact by default everything on board is limited. The fruit is slowly being ticked off and sadly a sack of carrots was confined to the deep a couple of days ago, due to rot. This lead to some debate as to the fate of the vegetables as they drifted downwards. Would any of them make it to the bottom intact? Or would they be nibbled away to nothing by a succession of ravenous fish beneath the waves. Indeed is it even possible for a carrot to sink to 3 km below the surface we discussed, or is there a point at which they would simply reach equilibrium with the pressurized water and remain in suspended animation, most probably frozen due to the extreme cold. It’s the type of debate that drunken students have sitting around their flats at 2 o’clock in the morning, and a sign of people with too much time on their hands. It was a short-lived debate, and needless to say one without conclusion; we probably just got bored with the subject.

We changed time again on Monday, with A Watch again getting the short straw and the longer shift, but we’re storing them up for when it is right. Actually we were happy to do it really as it earned us brownie points and we were up on deck anyway enjoying the weather.

Now you will understand that if and when we catch up with the first of these boats, very little if any actual eating of victims (wolf style) is likely to take place. In fact it maybe those yachts simply pass each other without any visibility. But rest assured, for the sake of decorum we will be keeping an eye on our captain and his first mate when the time arrives.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 05 December 2012 )