Time, normally it’s quite a straight forward thing, but here on Raya, six hundred miles from St Lucia, we are grappling with Atlantic time, which has four different times at once.
Firstly there is boat time, currently GMT -2 .This is the time we use for the the day to day running of the boat, particularly the time we use for the watch system. As we travel west we have to add an hour about every four days to keep sunset and sunrise in sync with life onboard.
Then there is ARC control time which is set at GMT, this is the time all their updates relate to and is essential as we work out weather forecasts and the position of other boats.
Next is St Lucia time, GMT -4 which as we draw closer becomes more important as we try to calculate our arrival time.
Finally there is the random times all our electronics are keeping, my iPad for instance can’t find what time it is mid Atlantic and I can’t find a city that is GMT -2 to set it to, so it is stuck on GMT -1. When I wake bleary eyed and confused for my watch grappling with what the actual time is, can be a bit of a challenge.
To add to the confusion not one of us knows what day of the week it is and if it hadn’t been for Matts birthday on the 2nd, giving us some point of reference, the date would be a mystery too. Talk of Christmas from back home seems incomprehensible, as does the fact that in a few days we will be in the Caribbean without going anywhere near Gatwick. We are all however very clear about how many days we have left at sea, at our current
pace that will be 3-4 days depending on our old friend the wind.
We are sailing fast, dead downwind, flat out with our twizzler rig (two genoas one set either side of the boat) but its touch and go if it is fast enough, the opposition is closing in. We can’t actually go any faster so we are just trying to enjoy the ride which includes 12kt surfs down 12ft high Atlantic rollers.
Each day is different, the sea is rougher or calmer the sky cloudy or clear, we spot a way off tanker or the dolphins come to play but they are tending to meld into one. Tuesday however stands out amongst the crowd. it started badly with us ripping the cruising chute. We had flown it carefully all night with winds rarely going above 12kts, as the sun rose Hartmut and I were on watch when suddenly a gust of 50 kts appeared from seemingly nowhere shredding our beautiful blue sail. This sail is not essential but Rick was beginning to really enjoy mastering it and we may miss it in the light winds we expect to encounter as we approach St Lucia.
That afternoon our mood was lifted, Eric caught a fish, a magnificent three foot dorado, that he filleted and cooked for supper, delicious and probably the freshest fish we have ever eaten. As he also is in charge of bread making he is rapidly gaining a certain status however his attempts at walking on water still need some refinement.
Today is much like any other we trim the sails trying to squeeze every last bit of speed from Raya, we cook, eat, sleep, read and clean, we stare out into the never ending blue, fill in the log book and increasingly pour over the position reports.
We are now all ready to get there and setting all our clocks and especially our body-clocks back to just one time, Caribbean time.