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Good people. Good engine. Good food.
12 February 2003
It became clear that our good initial impressions of Barbara and her crew

were true. This is especially so of the engine; an 8 cylinder Deutz which

at 320 revolutions pushes us along at 10 knots in a good sea. I can hear

the reassuring 'thrub, thrub' below my bunk and above this is the sewing

machine noise of the timing gear. This heart of the ship is cared for by

the engineer Prepen who in 2 years will be retiring to Portugal and away

from the sea. Now all sounds fine but the weather has not been so. A

combination of Chinese pressure points, ginger in large and cloying

quantity and cinnazarine prevented all but a touch of 'mal de mer' in me.

Even so, I could not match John Maughaun who on the first day out mastered

the keyboard on a bucking bridge to send some e-mails to Cheryl in spite of

being sick. Hurricane Hingley and young Lawley have remained nicely pink;

perhaps the smoking helps! John Hingley's long experience of trawlers

allows him to be nonchalant when Barbara is grunting and groaning at the

challenges thrown up by old Neptune. The second night was a rough one with

an up to Force 9 Nor-Westerly. Now and again when the bow slapped down

hard into a wave the whole ship would shudder and seemingly stop. When the

boat pitches hard down at the bow or I suppose when her stern is up as she

rides a giant wave, the screw comes out of the briney. This produces a

noise (just happened in a small way) and an oscillation of about 3 cycles

per second in the decking. The master recorded a maximum roll of 48

degrees that night. I lay there thinking that life rafts and exposure

would surely have limited value in such a maelstrom. As whatever sound

abated the 'thrub, thrub' could then be heard. Last night was not so

fierce and now I write this in sunshine; the sea is slate blue and whipped

just a little into white horses. Finisterre is close so I hope to send

this e-mail via the cell phone (this 'lap top' and cell 'phone have kindly

be loaned by the good Stott brothers of Exmouth). Fried meatballs and

onion for the Danish crew displace me from one moving writing desk to

another.



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