25 December 2013

My Christmas morning started a bit differently from most others I’ve had. At 0015 I had to take in a reef in the mainsail, the wind having picked up a bit too much. It was a fine starry night for all that and we were still making a good course and speed.  While I was up I gave Alyson a ring in NZ. The weather was warm and they were out having a picnic and had been swimming in the river.

In the morning I opened a stack of presents, which family and friends had put onboard before we left. There were new books to read, new music to listen to, sweet stuff to savour at leisure, wine to drink and clean fresh socks and T-shirts to wear.
Elsi was decorated with cards and a few novelties to add to the Christmas flavour.
The day actually turned out to be a near perfect sailing day. The wind eased down and I shook out the reef I’d pulled in earlier. The sky was blue and the warm Trade wind blew us easily across an equally blue and warm ocean. I put on some music. The lilt of Kevin Henderson playing “Christmas Day I’ da Morning” fitted in surprisingly well with Elsi’s motion as we rolled comfortably along. It could almost have been composed on a ship rolling down the Trades. There are always a few moments of any trip that when they happen you know you will always remember them vividly. This was one of those times today.

I rang Alyson again to hear how the day had gone and they had had a wonderful time. There had been plenty to eat, some excellent wine to drink and good company. Then I rang round the rest of the family to hear how their Christmas’s were going. A big storm was raging across Shetland but under the rooftops everybody was in good spirits and getting the dinner ready in the different houses.

I had some of the Spanish ham for my Christmas dinner. It’s the first Christmas I’ve ever spent completely on my own and, of course, it’s never the same as being with the rest of the family. But it will have to be for this year. Next year it’ll be turkey and all the trimmings and good company!

We continue to make good progress and the fresh wind overnight helped up to record another 120 miles down the track.

I found a new contact in Cape Town for these emails so there may be hope yet of getting a few more out. Anyway, hope you have all enjoyed a really good Christmas and that Santa brought you everything you wanted.

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