Dispatches from the Atlantic: A Proper British Thanksgiving

Associate Editor Chris White gives us another great update as he crosses the Atlantic.

November 28, 2009


November 27, 2009 21°12.626N 28°57.638W Boat Speed: 8 knots Wind Speed: 14-17 knots Magnetic Direction: 240° Distance Traveled Thus Far: 911.93 It was a typical Thanksgiving morning. Wake up at midnight, throw on some foul weather gear and my headlamp, grab my book, and head topside for the midnight to 0400 watch at the helm. Wait a minute…this isn’t typical at all. Typical would be driving to Cape Cod to watch football, eat until I feel sick, and drink too much beer. Instead, I’m on a Hanse 461, about 850 miles off the coast of Africa, sailing across the Atlantic Ocean with two Englishmen. Thursday was another gorgeous day on board Snark; the Atlantic was calm, the heavy seas had the day off (it’s a union thing), and the sun was shining brilliantly in a cloudless sky. The wind blew steadily in the morning, but it gradually dropped off to around 10-13 knots, and around noon Ben decided it would be a good day to fly the kite. We furled the Genoa, dropped the main, and let the big yellow spinnaker do her job. Just like that, we had nine knots of boat speed in 12 knots of wind, and were zipping right along. The day and the sailing were glorious and we were able to cover a lot of sea before we doused the kite, raised our white sails, and got ready for that all important British tradition: Thanksgiving dinner. Ben whipped up a truly delicious feast-I swear, this guy is the Emeril of the high-seas. I am continually impressed with the five-star meals he puts together from the rolling galley of a sailboat in the Atlantic. Thursday’s dinner: steaks, potatoes with peppers and onions, some greens, and a bottle of red wine. “Cheers,” Ben said, as we all raised our glasses, “here’s to Pocahontas.” As we finished the bottle of wine and watched the sun set over the bow-thanks to our westerly/southerly route to St. Lucia, we sail into the sunset, literally, each evening-we heard the crew of Jasmine, a Beneteau 57, who we’d made friends with in Las Palmas, chatting on the VHF. Apparently, we’d made the right decision Wednesday night when we chose to jibe at around 2000 and head south for the evening. Those 60 miles we gained put us in some of the better wind on the course. As we sat and sipped our wine, clipping along at 7.5-8 knots, with a steady 15-18 knots of wind, Jasmine was reporting six knots of wind, and dropping. So, while it was a long, slow night for some, the merry crew aboard Snark celebrated Thanksgiving on the open ocean, and sailed, once again, into the sunset.



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