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Halfway

1 July 2007, 521nm from the Seychelles, 494nm from Chagos

Jon up the mast at sea
Not a place to be in a squall at night

Dear Friends and Family,

Well, almost.  We should cross our halfway line in a few hours, about 6:30pm local time.

Had a bit of excitement last night.  We left you with improving conditions.  This lasted until 7pm when a big squall came through.  Amanda and Jon went to take in a 3rd reef but the mainsail wouldn't come down!  A tiny leach-line jam-cleat up by the tack for the 3rd reef point had caught on one of our strings that keep lines from getting behind our mast-steps.  OK, nautical gobbledygook, but it meant that Jon had to climb up the mast a bit past the first spreaders (20' or 6m up) ... in the dark ... in a bouncy seaway ... with the wind howling at 40 knots ... with a knife in his teeth (OK, his hand) to cut the string.  Luckily, Ocelot's more stable than many boats and our spreaders form a triangle that's pretty secure.  Still, all were glad when he came back on deck.

We took lots of spray into the cockpit! Salty!
We took lots of spray into the cockpit! Salty!

Today we've had 20‑30 knots of wind all day with grey skies, but little of the rain that was forecasted.  The seas are lumpy enough that we left the 3 reefs in, content with our 6‑9 knots of speed.

BTW, a knot, or nautical-mile-per-hour, is about 15% longer than 1 statute mph, or almost 2 kph.  It may derive from the days when square riggers would try to measure their speed with a small hour-glass and a chip of wood with a knotted string attached to it.  They'd throw the chip of wood into the water while at the same time turning over the small hour-glass and counting the number of knots - tied into the string - went through their fingers before the sand ran out.

Boats ahead of us are reporting much nicer conditions in the Seychelles, but our GPS says it will take 3.5 more days for us to get there.  We're all well on board but a bit sleep deprived.

Fair winds and calm seas -- Jon, Sue and Amanda Hacking

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