Just a short word to let you all know that we’re in fine fettle. Nelly Roseis however really in need for a real maintenance stop, the last one being

well over a year (in Trinidad in August 2014) and a good 8.500 miles ago. I

can’t wait to get everything, really everything, stuff, pillows, floorboards

and all, off the boat so that we’ll have access to all the places with

wiring and tubing and what have you. Also the sails need to go to a North

loft to get a proper service.

Yesterday Tim, our third crew member on this tough passage, discovered a

nasty tear in the main sail, just above the second reef. As we knew the wind

was getting stronger and darkness approaching, we decided not to attempt a

repair just yet, but to put in the third reef for the first time on our trip

and leave the repair for one of the next days when the wind is expected to

drop and with it the swell. That turned out to be a good decision or a lucky

call, whichever way you may want to look at it. We knew we were in for more

wind, but is was really a quite a bit more with a regular 25 knots and gusts

up to 30 knots. Going pretty much to windward, that is a lot of wind, giving

you – at speeds over 8 knots – 35 knots over the deck. I don’t know if our

repairs could have stood up to such a drubbing, but I do know it would have

made for a hell of an uncomfortable sail. Now everything was just fine and

we could all sleep reasonably well. The luxury of a third crew member makes

a great difference in that department as well. Anyway, that third reef, that

we had sown in by North at a suggestion of rather experienced round the

world sailor and ex-Cadet Gerd Jan Poortman, came in handy just when we

needed it. Sailing courses off the wind, you can get away most of the time

with the second reef, but battling to windward is a different story. It

really is avoided by most cruisers as much as possible.

Our electrical situation is reasonably satisfactory, although we’re under

full cloud cover today. Not, or hardly, using any power is of course a great

help. We did run the refrigerator for most of yesterday and through the

night, but decided to switch it off again this morning. It should have done

enough to cool our beers though. Hanneke is allowing us a beer every day, to

make sure we drink enough liquids, as we are rationing the water (at two

litres per person per day; a rather healthy ration that does however include

personal hygiene). Now don’t let anybody get it into their heads to start

warning about the dehydrating effects of alcohol and carbonated drinks. The

trouble list on board got just one item longer. The toilet is blocked. I

know who did it, but will attempt to repair it nonetheless. Love is a

strange thing. I deserve that extra beer.