Spam, spam and more spam

Phil Sharp the spam-free food situation on board Atlantik FT in the Transat AG2R

Thursday May 8th 2008, Author: Phil Sharp, Location: United Kingdom
Thursday 8 May 2008
Phil Sharp and David Krizek on board Atlantik FT
Day 18 of the AG2R race from Concarneau to St Barth, West Indies
Time of position: 0500 GMT
Latitude: 25 06.23’ N Longitude: 45 14.87’ W
Average Speed: 7.4 knots
Miles to go: 1,075.2
Fleet position: 12 out of 26 starters
Miles Behind Leader: 102.7

On board Atlantik FT it is another light wind day with the spinnaker up, getting sun burnt now, and moving ever slowly towards the Caribbean but gybing directly downwind, currently pointing towards. These are the hardest days I find, making incredibly slow progress whilst other boats to the south are in completely different conditions and hurtling towards the finish.

Overnight, the Concarneau-St Barts boys ate a massive 100 miles out of our advantage in 12 hours! (This was the boat which decided to do a flier to the south after Madeira.) We weren't completely stopped either, we managed to gain 4 miles on the leader who's just 62 miles ahead of now us and still heading the northern group. We are lying in 6th place as we haven't managed to lose Group Celeos to our derriere yet. Yesterday evening they crawled past us and we are now about a mile behind them going at exactly the same speed, so we have been constantly tweaking and trimming the boat, day and night, to try and get every ounce of a knot out of this slow bus.

“So what do you do when wallowing around at 2 knots in these frustrating light wind situations? Well the only thing that works is to keep your mind occupied on sailing or otherwise, and not to look at the GPS which is now showing an ETA of mid June. Yesterday after David and I split into watches I decided to take stock on the food and water situation. Water is all good I think - we've still got 40 litres, hopefully giving us 3 litres per day. Food: not so good Snack bags for another 5 days, which consist of a couple of bird nuts and energy drink powder. One small, freeze-dried food-bag per day for the next 7 days, and a total of two French salami sticks (which equates to one small slice each per day per person). The only proper meal out of this is the freeze-dried which interrupts my constant daily hunger for about half an hour tops. Oh yes and also I have rationed one bowl of cereal in order that I can have breakfast on my birthday this Sunday (special treat indeed!). I then checked to tea status which really wasn’t that good either. We only have 7 Earl Grey tea bags left, which means that even if we share a tea bag per day, we run the risk of running out before the finish. In theory, according to the routing, we should arrive into St Barts on the morning of the 15th.

“I resorted to distracting myself in other ways whilst sailing and listened to some new stuff on my iPod polluted by Kristian just before the start. He had put on quite a lot of Monty Python sketches and to my utter frustration it included the cheese shop and spam sketches. The cheese shop sketch where the guy is in the shop asking for every cheese known to man, all of which I would die for right now, and the spam sketch in the cafe where you can’t order a breakfast without spam, spam and spam. I can’t believe I didn’t bring any spam with me for the race, its probably one of the best practical sailing foods around, despite its incredible taste. I am now lusting after spam, and at the finish if someone handed me a greasy steak sandwich or a tin or poor-mans bacon I think I would actually go spam all the way. So if anyone reading this is coming to welcome us in at the finish in St Barts you know what to bring. Oh yuh and bring a fork since I lost mine over the side! Better get back to the sailing now, ‘Group Celeos’ is going down.
All the best, Phil”

p.s. You can email motivational messages to the boat throughout this last week to keep me and David sane, and help us get to St Barts as quickly as possible! Always great to know there are people following, it really helps spur us on. There is a link on my home page.”

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