Atlantic crossing week 2

Day 8img_0623

Day 8

Trade winds have fully kicked in now, 20 knots of wind and we are flying along. I’m struggling today to wrap my head around time… we’re on day 8 and yet we’re so far away, at the moment I can’t imagine being any nearer but I yearn for it with every bit of myself. I want to be there now so am constantly doing mathematical equations in my head on how long to go divided by  how many miles a day divided by how fast we’re going, it is endless and I see no sign of nearness at all. The kids were super excited this morning as we are close to our third longitude line which means present. At about 10 we crossed it and they opened gold and silver chalk paint pens for drawing on glass, these were loved and they immediately set about doodling on the cockpit table which serves as a brilliant chalk board. Generators on now so they’re watching a film, jims asleep and I’m watching flying fish whizz by and calculating maths problems.

Day 9

I was determined to be in a happy place today and I started well, we did really good schoolwork in the morning and I made pancakes for breakfast which were lush and then it went a bit wrong.  Jim decided we could go faster even though we were cruising and comfy. Fifteen minutes later we’ve set the sails to goose wing and there’s a huge bang, one of he blocks has exploded, loads of noise and carnage, bits falling off the boat, me freaking out.  I wasn’t in a good place and when we’d taken it all back down and put it back the way it’d been in the first place I had a bit of a meltdown. Jim doesn’t understand my fear, a block broke, so we just fix it, and carry on, what is it I think is going to happen?  I’ve tried to explain to him my fears but I am just scared, the further we are from land the more I worry. This all sounds like I’m hating every second, this just isn’t true and I have loved so much of this trip already but that doesn’t stop me being nervous.

Day 10

YAY double digit day, BOO super rolly day ALL day. School this morning and flying fish everywhere, on the deck, in the galley ( don’t know how he snuck in) just everywhere. Still no boats around, beautiful sunshine again. I had a much needed nap whilst James taught the kids monkey fist knots and bowline’s. They can now make and play conkers or rescue themselves in a disaster. In my head we’re nearly there now, but we’re just half way, bugger. We crossed another longitude line so the kids unwrapped another gift, wind up torches from Jim today. In the afternoon they busied themselves by making new fishing lures and I made a vegetable curry which was delicious and even Jim liked ( fran widdicomb you would be proud). Jim has just completed the daily rigging check and we were super lucky as one of the ropes was holding on by a thread, so that was quickly fixed. The generators on now charging things up, so the kids are enjoying a little bedtime telly. Some scary clouds on the horizon, which I watched the whole of my watch, it all stayed good though and I crashed at half eleven.

Day 11

Today we woke up to a different day- those damn clouds, knew they’d be trouble. Everywhere now pouring with rain and blowing 30+ knots of wind, my knuckles are white again. We washed the decks down in the rain and then all enjoyed our first shower in the rain, it was bloody freezing and took a while to warm up from.  I thought that rain and clouds went through quickly at sea but it stayed all day. We saw twos pods of dolphins but to be honest am a bit scared. I saw another boat last night on watch, a 36 m yacht shot passed us. Tonight James is doing watch with me, I think the face of panic is plastered across mine. To calm and cheer me up we played music through the iPod and took turns to dj, it was actually a really fun watch and really nice to spend time with James.

Day 12

If this blog wasn’t pg I would use a lot of really bad words right now. Woke up, still god awful weather, rain, cloudy, lots of wind and a lot of sea. A lot went wrong this morning some comedy and some that made you stop and think. Firstly we’d left the washing up last night due to the conditions, so I set about doing it. We do the washing up on the back of the boat using sea water to conserve our drinking water, I’d just pulled in a bucket and was sat between one bucket of sea and one bucket of filthy,manky washing up and dirty water ( noodles, veg, tea dregs, cornflakes etc) when we did a big roll and both buckets went , needless to say I had a very soggy butt and was covered in bits,minging, but amusing to everyone else. (No words).  Then Isla fell off the seat, again it is incredibly rolly today and she just fell, banging her head and her knee, she was fine even though there were tears I knew she was fine, but you just stop and think, shit, what if she wasn’t fine, what would you do and it’s a very sobering thought, we’ve put our children here, I cannot break them. It’s so easy to hurt yourself out here, I made them both go and play in their room after that where it’s safe and soft and they can roll around. One o’clock and the suns out finally, but ominous clouds behind, chasing us again.

A ship! And not just a boat, a square rigger, basically a pirate ship… we are now chasing with water pistols at the ready. The good news is it’s woken Jim right up and he’s in the zone of the chase now. We’re nearly into the last 1000 miles now, I like to think we’re into the last week, but we’ll see. Jim is loving the wind and we’re doing over 160 miles a day but I miss the quiet, calm, sunny days when you didn’t go far but you enjoyed a good book and didn’t feel nauseous.

Day 13

Woke up to crazy seas and squalls still but the day was good, we lost another lure off the hand lines , I read some Jilly Cooper and we had disgusting corned beef with potatoes and sweetcorn for dinner, yuck! We crossed the sixth longitude line this evening (super excited kids) they watched it on the gps and counted down to the moment. They opened paint by numbers which will hopefully keep them entertained tomorrow. My watch was a bit hideous and I made Jim stay in the cockpit with me, he slept the whole time but just having him there makes me feel safer. It was squall after squall and I was glad to go to bed at 11. Apparently though the rest of the night was dry and calm.

Day 14

A boat!!! Woke up at 7 and saw a boat, a very beautiful British boat called Eleanor of London, she came so close you could see people on deck, actual, real people. This was a lovely start to the day. Jim was a bit jealous that she had three sails up, while we just have the one but fortunately got over it and we waved as they went past. It’s been sunny with showers all day and the wind between 20 -30 knots. I got truly whooped at cards by both kids which is always fun and we lost another lure off the hand lines, hula Steve! James says it was massive but thinks we’re going too fast to hold them. We’ve just looked at the weather forecast for the next few days and the screen was red, this makes me nervous as it means the wind is going to be even stronger 30+ knots. If I could I would get in bed now and stay there until we arrive.  The mountains still surround the boat coming from all angles, but we’re still going and going fast.  We are all called on deck by Jim this evening and we are surrounded by whales, big whales, they are surfing in the waves all around us it is a truly incredible sight, one even breaks the surface right next to us. They have a whiteness about them so you can see them really clearly in the swell. Amazing!!! So week two finishes spectacularly with an amazing display from these huge but graceful creatures, this was something to have seen.

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6 responses to “Atlantic crossing week 2

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed ‘week 2’ but obviously on the edge of my seat…being even more water phobic than you!! To me you are SO brave Fran and I can’t say how much admiration I have for you to have gone so far out of your comfort zone. I know Jim is in his element on a boat but truly I just want to give you a big hug for being so brave!!
    What an epic, amazing thing to have done.
    How are you doing in St Lucia? I hope you are ok?
    Xxx

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    • We’re in a bubble of all inclusive, kids have been banana boating, heaths been waterskiing, and I’m drinking x James is I don’t know where? St barts or st Martin? He’s on someone’s yacht and they’re using a plane to try and find the boat. Is it bad to say I’m lonely and sad when we’re being so looked after and obviously in paradise. Gutted to have missed you guys hope you’ve had a fab holiday xxx

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      • Lovely to get your message…we are gutted not to have met up with you guys too. It is understandable that you feeling a bit lonely and sad despite tropical paradise! 🌴
        It’s because things didn’t go as planned and it is a lot to get your head round. And it’s the ‘not knowing’ what the outcome is going to be. You in a limbo situation. I hope James finds the boat and you guys can get it fixed and be re united and get things back on track. I’m sending you a tropical hug from one island to another. You’ll be ok fran. You’ve just been through a lot and feeling a bit out of sorts. We are packing for home 😢
        Been a good one. Lots of love fran ❤️️❤️️

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  2. Oh my lordie this all sounds sooo wonderful but also terrifying for you Fran. Sounds like James is being a typical man haha. Keep ur pecker up girlie u r doing a grand job and sounds like the kids really are taking it all in their stride, which is of course thanks to you.
    Take good care all of u
    Margy

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  3. Dear Fran…so excited to be reading your blog. Like Fran I am also out of my comfort zone anywhere near boats and water. So all in a fluttery panic hearing about your journey. Can’t wait to get the next part. You have been so so brave and I am so glad that you are all safe. I love the thought of the whales all around you. Maybe they were concerned for you in the big waves. It’s going to take you a while to process everything and without James by your side right now you must still be feeling adrift. All will be well and I send you love and encouragement for whatever the next phase of your lives may hold. Much love and thanks for writing this. Jan xx (Fran’s Mum)

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