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Day 11 from Ascension Island

1000 - Thursday February 9th.

Just 120 NM left in this leg - hopefully we will be dropping anchor in the
harbour of Praia (Ilha de Santiago) sometime after dawn tomorrow morning.

Thankfully the lumpy bumpy motor sailing upwind came to an end on Tuesday
evening; the wind veered more to the NE and since then we have had a lovely
slant and been making much better progress. The seas have lengthened as the
wind moderates, currently we have between 12 and 15 kts true allowing a full
genoa and main again, Ruth II is galloping along only held back slightly by
a foul current.

Shipping has become more evident, yesterday we actually called up the Nancy
P on Ch 16 (on AIS she showed as a CPA of just 0.3NM in 30 mins); a gentle 5
degree course adjustment by her was all it took to be well clear. Last night
we were overtaken by a large cruise ship on the same course as us, and our
skipper practiced his Popeye the Sailorman on the whistle in the hope that
he might be invited aboard to help with the entertainments!

Yesterday I used up the last remaining sheet of plotting paper for celestial
navigation, something which I am both relieved and disappointed about
simultaneously - not quite finished learning but a break for a few days from
sitting at the table doing the calculations is no harm. I always wondered
how Captain William Bligh managed to plot the East Coast of Ireland so
accurately with just rudimentary tools but now am starting to appreciate
just how it might have been done.

All the crew are in great form, and probably everyone will be happy to stand
on solid ground again shortly. Mary has perfected the eye splice adding that
to her many other talents including as a physio where she has been helping
some of us deal with being confined to the boat for so long. Andrew has
taken on the bread maker and may well have mastered it after last nights
loaf which was the best yet - although for consistency it will be hard to
beat skipper James who turns out all varieties using nothing other than his
hands, the fridge and the oven.

So tomorrow we check in to the Cape Verdes and rest. By the end of the
weekend we may well be at the Marina in Mindelo 170NM further NW and there
we will probably have a wait for the right weather window for the following
leg and maybe do some maintenance (such as an engine service).

Next post hopefully will be from land with pictures.