We changed the watch system slightly last night. Instead of each team getting up for the full watch, three hours on, three hours off, we agreed that for the night watches only one team member would get up, but the others would be on standby if needed. This would allow everyone to catch up on some very needed sleep. The new system worked quite well other than Mother Nature decided to throw a major squall at us which had both crews out of their bunks to help.
We are running fully downwind, and have the foresails out in a goose wing formation in front of us. We had great fun putting the poles out and setting up the sails last night, but this was the cause of some of the late night issues as we were all unfamiliar with the set up when a 50 knot breeze and a rough sea brewed up very quickly. I think the most incredible thing about the south Atlantic is how quickly the weather changes. One minute you have 15 knots then gusts come through at 40 knots which gets you quickly bent out of shape. PA is very capable of taking care of us under these circumstances but it makes for a very uncomfortable ride until we get it sorted.
The noise whilst sailing is something else. There is the constant sound of the sea, sometimes calm, sometimes the washing machine with towels in spinning around making a right racket. Then there are the creeks and groans of the boat. The auto helm makes a low bass drum sound in combination with a whip crack each time it makes and adjustment which is frequently which resounds throughout the saloon. Then there is the generator which, when on, adds to the drone of the auto helm. The engine of course is noisy but is rarely on at the moment as we have such good sailing winds. Then come the noises of the sails and sheeting on deck. You very quickly get used to what are the right noises that are the boat filling her sails and rocking in the following sea, however you also get used to when the noises are when we have made a mistake and have the wrong sail set up for the sea or the wind conditions. The sails on these occasions do flap, the sheets whip across the deck all making the situation sound very dramatic and adds to the sense of urgency to get things sorted. The sounds of the crew adjusting the sheets also has a distinctive sound, the winches when under tension sound like the Viking horns sounding the impending attack, is along with the bass drum of the auto helm it is the soundtrack to a medieval movie.
There isn't much music being played on the voyage as there is nearly always someone asleep off watch, but we have even able to share quite a few albums. We have listened to Phil's recording of his singing which was good, but the recording of his daughter in a group was fabulous, Lil an Meg I believe have an album out later his year. We have all been sharing our favourite albums, as a result we have some new albums to go and buy, and have fallen in love all over again with some old long forgotten favourites. ELO to name but one album that has come to the forefront during the trip. Whilst we haven't played it, Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross " will have to be played soon as the are so many albatross around it will have to be the sound track to a least some of the GoPro footage of the trip.