Days 7 and 8

Day 7- yesterday
We still have beautiful sailing conditions – it must be quite monotonous to read about day after day. And it’s definitely heating up, but still not sweltering and we have enough wind to keep moving quite nicely. mostly with the A1 up, but sometime the A2.
Speaking of the A2, we had it up when we crossed with Jamaica this morning – deja vu all over again from 24 hours before. At first we were on parallel courses, then we decided to gybe over and pass in front of them. Of course it had to be one of our bad gybes, with the kite wrapping itself around the forestay, looking like we were going to have to douse it ignominiously and let Jamaica sail right past us. Fortunately, after we eased the halyard a few meters, the sail unwrapped itself and we were able to ssve face and sail away from them. Phew!
However, we did put a few more scrapes and holes in the A2 – I can’t believe quite how much time I have spent working on that sail in the last couple of weeks! But please rest assured, Team Emily, we are giving it LOTS of love and attention, and we have not messed up the new ‘go faster’ stripe. Dolphin hour seems to have become a regular occurrence around dinner time. Yesterday it was a huge pod of leaping ones, attended by a flock of diving birds. The guys begged Eric to allow them to fish, but of course we didn’t, we are racing and who wants to catch a dolphin anyway. Today’s dolphins were a bit late, showing up after dark with their surprising plosive breathing and phosphorescent silhouettes. ANother starlit night, gorgeous sailing, and the moon rising very late as an orange crescent – I really thought it was a ship for a while. We’ve even had tiny green flashes at sunset these last couple of days – definitely heading south, if the Southern Cross once more low in the sky wasn’t enough to tell us that. Day 8 – today.
THere was a gorgeous sunrise today – pink and orange and yellow and chartreuse in the east, stretching to a beautiful lattice of low dark grey grey clouds against higher, lighter, fluffy ones the other side of the sky. We’ve had an escort of boobies all day – a masked one, and many brown ones, who could also be immature Masked rather than simply Brown, according to our book. THe flying fish are back, and for the first time the decks are so hot we’ve had to wear shoes.
We celebrated Konigs Day – from the Netherlands – at the first dog watch. With orange leis, orange drinks, oranges, and bobbing for carrot cake hung on a string. Delicious and well worth it.
And so the race goes on, we move south as best we can, switching between the A1 and the A2 as the wind strength dictates. It seems, with the warmth and the easy conditions, so much like a luxury cruise, it is all too easy to forget about the boats ahead we are supposed to be catching. It’s a strange frustrating kind of drag race we are engaged in, as one boat or group then another gets a good band of wind for a while and makes progress, while others can only watch. Wish us good luck and good winds – From Team HLFIFTYYOPS*, goodnight.
* THe keyboard now has neither a five nor a zero. And the closing bracket is gone. What will be next to disappear?

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