In years `gone by, that is pre 2006, Christmas Eve afternoon was spent enjoying a long lunch and a QLD( quiet little drink) with ex GWTW racing friends. The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia at Rushcutters Bay, the home of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race was the venue. After a nice bistro meal on the deck overlooking the marina, a stroll amongst the Sydney - Hobart line honour hopefuls was the tradition. As our old crew perused the maxis and the downhill flyers they made "informed comments" on such things as halyard tensions, winch placement and race attire and were always happy to offer advice on tactics as well as give words of encouragement to the crews. Or in reality, just anyone prepared to listen! After all we were Hobart race veterans, well we'd done one, back in 1994, the 50th anniversary classic with over 250 yachts on the start line. Doesn't that make us experts?
So here we are on Christmas Eve in the middle of the Atlantic reminiscing.
But hey enough of that, we have our own Trans Atlantic race happening out here and it's neck and neck with the big guns, "Bondi Tram", "Tehani Li" and "No Rehearsal". Following our genius gybe south (into hell) a few nights ago that cost us around 60 miles, we are now clawing our way back, having picked up nearly 100 miles in the last two days "GWTW" is breathing down the necks of the leaders. Tomorrow's radio sked will reveal all.
After being at sea for the last four days we have settled into a nice pattern of sleeping and eating and sleeping and eating, with a bit of guitar playing and book reading in between. GWTW is slipping along nicely and at times her motion is so smooth you would think that you were sitting in a 747, the past 24hrs have been indeed just that.
Winds have been steady in the 12 - 17 knot range .The east component of the wind is keeping us north of the rhumb line and forcing us to sail deep and slower than we might like. Tomorrow we will try going wing and wing. This has worked in the past for us but is substantially harder to do than on a mono as `we do not carry spinnaker poles. It takes a lot of finessing.
Meanwhile our freezer stocks are slowly reducing, thus freeing up some space. Come Boxing Day, much to Liam's joy, the fishing lines can at last be deployed. Look out fish I say!
We may be at sea but some things never change, and Christmas lunch on board GWTW is one of them.. Tomorrow's Christmas lunch menu will start with a light champagne cocktail and an appetizer of smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers. This will be followed by a main course of oven roasted Spanish chicken accompanied by cockpit grown rosemary with roast potatoes, pumpkin, carrots an assortment of greens. A traditional sage and onion gravy will be served on the side. Boiled mixed fruit pudding and custard will follow.
A cheeky New Zealand Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc will top the meal of nicely, don't you think?
Tonight we will be checking our AIS regularly for signs of the red flashing lights of a sleigh moving southbound at speeds of over 30 kts... the carrots will be ready on the transoms and a glass of beer on the table for the captain in the bright red suit… who knows what sort of nautical goodies will be in his sack.
So wherever you are, be it on land or on the water, from Annie and Liam on GWTW, we wish you a very safe and happy Christmas 2010.