A friend of mine has a photographic project called "Morning Coffee." Each morning, before the rest of the world wakes up, he ventures down with his morning coffee and photographs the stillness of the wild sea. His photographs capture the power of the sea and the sheer magnitude of the day breaking. It's a moment most people enjoy sleeping through, but one that is, without doubt, one of the most peaceful moments of our day.
Out here, in the middle of the Bay of Bengal, you don't have the luxury of sleeping in, so most of us have the treat of enjoying this rare moment. As the sun rises offshore, you can't help but feel small as you are mesmerised by the sun peeking out over the horizon. Here, this close to the equator, with no trees nor building obstructing your view, the sun is huge!
As Sally helmed in the sunrise pressure she couldn't look away - it's pretty amazing. Though not normally a morning person, one of Sally's favorite things to do is watch the sunrise with a good coffee. Though she doesn't have a steaming cup of coffee, she does have a wheel, which isn't half bad either.
Some mornings are quite peaceful and you generally get to enjoy the start the day. Other mornings you are so busy that you hardly notice the sun.
This was the case yesterday morning.
The good news is that we caught back up to Alvimedica and saw the boys on the horizon just before sunset. And, as I type, Alvimedica is back on AIS (a ship tracker) after disappearing last night--that's good news too.
Also good that at the 0100 position report we were the 2nd fastest boat and most of the fleet was in light winds, giving us another reason to smile.
Our final piece of good news is that we bought a sewing machine along for the ride. While it was definitely a questionable item on the list back at shore, I think we're all happy it's with us.
Only bad thing is that we needed the sewing machine last night as we had a bit of a struggle in a few clouds that lost us some of the valuable miles gained during the day. The silver lining is the clouds were not as bad as they could have been as Alvimedica was struggling through them before us.
As most things happen, it was dark, so the exact chain of events to how the Mast Head Zero ripped is not quite clear. However, it wasn't a simple small tear--it actually takes up quite a large area--and it was pretty ugly. Fortunately we have our team sail maker, Stacey Jackson - another thing to be happy about.
But last night was not just about Stacey sewing the sail for hours. Over the course of the night the whole team really came together to make sure that when dawn broke, any miles lost would not sting.
The whole process of repairing the sail and getting it back in the air involves everyone. Stacey knows that not many people can actually be involved in repairing the sail, but instead they are out covering for her on deck when they should be 'off watch'. Teamwork is a massive part of what we've just done.
The sail repair really set the bar high yesterday as far the excitement level is concerned. After that, we saw a little bit of everything. We dodged thunderstorms, changed sails, enjoyed fast winds, and then tried not to pull our hair out as we sailed through little wind.
We sailed upwind for most of the day, sometimes there was a bit of water on deck and sometimes there wasn't. Actually, I think Abby encountered the most water when she ran to the bow to finish packing the FR0 up.
It wasn't until later in the day when the breeze began to ramp up and we were sailing full up-wind mode, which isn't exactly the most comfortable point of sail. Down below it's a bit of a challenge to walk around--we're back living at 30 degrees of heel.
Despite a less than comfortable life down below, we're all pretty excited for the next couple of days. Around 2100 tonight we're due to reach the top of Sumatra (finally!) and begin our journey through the Malacca Straits. The Malacca Straits are like a busy marine highway and we have a narrow path to scoot through, which also includes fishing boats and shallow waters.
This will be one of the last remaining chances to make gains on the fleet before we all make the final run to Sanya up the South China Sea. It will be a place where other's misfortunates become our gains, which to some extent is a bit of shame, however it just proves that this leg has mostly been about luck more than anything else. Fingers crossed it's just not us!