June 15 - The last leg.
My apologies for taking so long to write this, but it has felt as if there
has been nothing to write about until today, although of course that's not
true. We have, until about 0930 this morning spent four days on the same
tack, hard on the wind with 100% cloud cover - a blanket of low clouds with
no blue sky visible at all, and usually raining, and not even a ship to
break up the monotony. We have one book between us which is Sam's, I didn't
get time to go home after the qualifier to bring any of my own, (or any of
the other things I should have bought like Gulf Stream information!). We
have both read it now, and I contemplated reading it again - it is a
children's book, "Why the Whales Came" by Michael Morpurgo, it won loads of
prizes and is worth reading to your children if you have them. It is set in
the Scillies, which is appropriately where we'll be passing tomorrow.
Other than when reading, these last few miles seemed to have really dragged, every time we have passed any significant marker; 600 miles to go, 500 miles to go, this has been a cause for celebration. The trouble is, the boat does around nine knots upwind, but you know full well as soon as you start reaching, where the wind comes over the side of the boat instead of over the bow, the boatspeed can easily double as you surf rather than slam, the boat flattens off and you can move around on deck safely and below much more easily - upwind even staying put on the loo at 27 degrees of heel whilst slamming into waves is no mean feat I can tell you! Going upwind day after day in a reaching boat is like being given a Ferrari but being told you can only use first gear - very frustrating!
However, since we tacked this morning somewhere West of Ireland and level with Trevose Head on the North coast of Cornwall, the wind is starting to free us up, we have less than 300 miles to go to the Lizard and the sky is the bluest of blues you could imagine, which Sam described it as the kind of blue you see in an aeroplane from very high up. You can see for miles in clear cold air that has come down from the Arctic Circle, and we are pointing at home. which gives the spirits a real boost.
The talk on board is now of pints of beer and loved ones, (not necessarily in that order!) pizza and walks in the green fields. Imagine not having seen your house for approaching two months, I am looking forward to seeing what the farmers are doing in the fields as I drive home from Weymouth, smelling the dust and rain on the earth again, and waking up to hear the birds through my bedroom window and then going downstairs to let the dogs out early and make a cup of tea in my own kitchen whilst the world is still asleep. Being away makes you appreciate all kinds of things you wouldn't consider without having gone. Not long now.......