Day 16 – Crew Overboard on the Penultimate Day

Crew Overboard

I was starting to worry the blog wouldn’t be coming today but now I know why….Caribbean time!  So here we have Day 16 – crew overboard!

Day 16

Hello everyone

Our penultimate day at sea!

There was a hole in the wind predicted a week or so ago where there was little or no wind just off St Lucia. We had hoped by the time we reached the area affected, it would have moved on but no such luck! We managed to keep going under sail slightly longer than other yachts due to our northerly approach, but when the wind moved onto our nose and had dropped anyway to below 5 knots, we too had to concede that the engine would be required to get us in, unless that is, we wanted to spend another week 350 miles away from all the celebrations!

One rather unexpected benefit though of this lull, was the chance to go for an Atlantic swim! Crew Overboard.  Skipper Simon had always said that if the opportunity arose he would be the fist to go in and indeed he was! We took it in turns to dive off the bow and swim to the stern where we had trailed some warps and fenders to catch onto. Even in what was then incredibly calm, almost motionless seas with hardly any wind, the speed at which the boat and you drift apart is quite staggering! All safely back on board and lots of photos taken, sprits were as high as they have ever been!

We decided also to go onto St L time today, so all the clocks and watches got put back 4 hours. It made for a longer day of course and as the decision to change happened at 12.30 GMT it was now 8.30 am Caribbean time. Tim, (quick as ever) chipped in that whilst he had was just waking up for his watch and some lunch, it was now really time for breakfast and fancied a full English! Needless to say this was met with a chorus of approval and I was duly dispatched to do the honors. Lunch was served at 2pm local time and consisted of a Gem and Iceberg lettuce salad, with baby tomatoes, beetroot and a balsamic dressing, accompanied by a platter of cheese, some cold meats and warm baguettes. It is such a lovely lunch of which I never tier and reminds me so much of lazy summer holidays spent with my family over the years in various places in France but more latterly in the Dordogne region just outside Bergerac, wonderful memories! Dinner was beef steaks, cooked medium rare with a mushroom and grain mustard sauce and mashed potatoes. All in all delicious and a thoroughly well fed crew.

Fresh stocks continue to hold up well and we could easily be out here for another couple of weeks and still not have to resort to tins. I have to say too that the galley on these Discovery yachts is a real pleasure to work in and with the integrated galley system that we supply to Discovery and other leading boat builders is extremely safe and efficient. Both Discovery and ourselves regard and describe it as the benchmark for modern galley design and fit.The only other consideration for anyone looking to do long ocean passages with their yacht would be the refrigerated under floor gastronorm container pods and other gastronorm storage options and to perhaps upgrade from the standard/traditional single axis gimbaled GN Espace cooker to our unique multi directional gimbaled version (MDG). All the cookers come with the choice of either gimbals but with the MDG version you have the advantage of a cooker that takes care of pitch as well as heel and has an almost gyroscopic effect, ensuring an even more level, comfortable and safe cooking experience whilst at sea. The other advantage with this particular model is that it gives yacht designers an alternative as to where they can site the cooker in the galley, traditionally on the port or starboard sides of the yacht. With this version it allows for the cooker to be fitted athwart ships if required and consequently can lead to more options in galley design and layout.

Look forward to updating you all on our arrival in St L in around 20 hours time. JK 

For more details on the gastronorm system visit GN Espace

Follow Casamara’s arrival on the Fleet Viewer

crew overboard

Image: Crew Overboard courtesy of someone on board!

 

 

Day 14 – Under 700nm to go

700nm to go

700nm to go and Roast Lamb.  This has to be my favourite roast, I hope you managed to cook it without any mishaps…..

Day 14

Hi everyone,

We are now under 700nm to ST L. Today has been quiet with just one gybe to check gear etc.

We have watched films, drunk beer and sun bathed. Had the company of some dolphins for circa 45 mins, which was nice. Have seen one other yacht today. Apparently we are 3rd in our class and hope to maintain or improve this! SP

My watch took me up until 9am this morning, so I went off to bed and slept until midday when my watch started again. I think it’s the first time I have done that and felt fantastic as a result!

Lunch was potato salad with a selection of cold meats and warm baguettes. Skipper asked for the mayonnaise on the potato salad to have some grain mustard in it, so I duly obliged and I have to say it adds quite a bit to the flavour. Dinner was tuna steaks with basmati rice and a cranberry sauce, which I thought might be a little festive now that we are after all into December. Tomorrow is our roast day and we plan to have roast leg of lamb with all the usual bits! It’s hard to believe that it’s been a week since we last had our roast pork, each day just seems to merge into the last but we are certainly eating well!

I promised to mention the vacuum packing and the advantages it has not just over the food but in other areas as well. It is worth mentioning that Adam Gray my colleague and Michelin starred chef, who will also be presenting with me at the London Boat Show 2012 is a specialist in this field. He will have many more tips I’m sure but a few that I have found most useful, are the fact that you can store food in portion controlled bags, which helps reduce wastage and keeps liquids sealed in and not running around the bottom of the fridge. Fresh food that looks like it is about to turn can then be cooked, vacuum packed again and then kept for longer still! The speed marinating that can be achieved with the GN Espace vacuum containers is an obvious one too and the fact that all sorts of pre-prepared meals can be stored in this way. In fact there is so much to write about on the subject and how it helps on such a trip, we may have to give over a whole session at London 2012 just to cover it! Other areas though are equally varied, for example if you want to keeps tools and emergency items secure and free from salt water contamination, or paper charts dry etc, the options are endless.

It often strikes me that racing crews if not already, should take advantage of such ideas, certainly for their food on board. I know from what I have read that they mainly favour the dried food option, which these days can be quite tasty I’m told, but I still wonder if that is the right one for moral? If not continuous, they often have legs at sea, twice that of the one that we will have crossing here and moral has got to be a fundamental issue with keeping those crews in the best possible racing shape both physically and mentally. Fresh food, if it can be made available, would I suggest go along way to helping in this regard. Cooking is a 24 hour issue too and having to race on the edge of each point of sail, must make life in the galley a significant challenge. We need to be talking more to the organisers and participants of such events, to see where we can suggest such additions and alternatives and certainly possible changes/improvements to their existing galley design and equipment. JK 

700nm

Main Image: Roast Lamb courtesy of Acme’s Photostream

Other Images:  GN Espace Vacuum Storage.

 

Day 11 Again! – Squalls

Squalls on Day 11

Day 11 again, maybe this is due to crossing time zones or the squalls!

Hi everyone

Great day sailing with some good boat speed. Also experienced our first squalls – which I find quite intimidating as they come very quickly with big increases in wind and more challengingly wind direction. We have radar on during the night so we can spot them ahead.

Casamara is going really well – the design and build quality really shine through on a trip like this.

We are now under 1000nm and bets have started on ETA in St Lucia.  So will now hand over to Julian for gastro news. SP

We have had a good day today food wise despite me feeling a little weary.  I am sleeping in the forepeak and we have had some big swells and squalls the last few nights and sleeping has been very tough to say the least!

Breakfast continues to be of a healthy light variety, although the boys have tonight put in a request for a full English, so that will be my first job in the morning!

Lunch today was pasta with smoked salmon and herbs in a white wine and cream sauce and proved to be very popular, as even the skipper asked for more! Dinner tonight was one of my old favourites, Beef in Guinness! It doesn’t take long to do and is really one of those dishes that warms the heart. I sweated off some onions in a pan with some olive oil, a little garlic and then added some sauté potatoes left over from last night. Having got Tim to dice some carrots and some celery for me, all that went in too for a sauté, along with the usual seasoning. I then transferred all this along with some chopped mushrooms to one of our GN Espace casserole dishes with the liquid sealable lid. I then diced some stewing beef and coated it in flour. Using a little olive oil, I sautéed all this in the same pan as before until the edges of the beef turned brown and then added it to the casserole dish with all the rest of the ingredients. Pour over a bottle of Guinness, a splash or two of red wine, a little Worcestershire sauce, season again to taste and once the lid is firmly in place, put into the oven rack and allow to cook. Once ready, I served it with some potatoes and a little butter. This time they all asked for more! Luckily I had prepared plenty, as it so often tastes even better the following day. If you would like to see any recipes such as the Beef in Guinness, you can find a selection on our website at www.gn-espace.com

I promised to mention a little more about the integrated system that we have for the galley and I have to say that doing this trip has only made me wonder even more how people cope without it! In even light sea conditions the boat rocks and in an Atlantic swell or similar, it rocks a great deal! Preparing and cooking food in such conditions is not for the faint hearted! Sure you can just opt for the pot noodle, but why should you have to? This system ensures that everything stays where you put it, similar to a jig saw puzzle, all the bits fit together to complete the picture. The gastronorm containers that we use are the building blocks of the system and fit with not only the GN Espace cookers but the Waterstation sinks, fridge/freezer, under floor fridge/freezers/larder and cupboard storage etc.

All different sizes of gastronorm container fit in the same way with all the individual bits of kit by orientating them one way or the other. Like an A4 piece of paper, it can be scaled up or down depending on your requirements. The Waterstation sinks double the surface area of the galley as you can work on multi levels, so you can prepare food more easily and even more importantly your cooked/hot food stays firmly held in it’s built in fiddle when you need to serve it. Essentially you can take your dish/dishes of whatever gastronorm size you want straight from storage to your Waterstation sink for preparation, all held firmly in place, then into your oven to cook, again where the shelf design hold all dishes firmly in place, so there is no likelihood of having it slide out onto your toes. Once cooked it goes safely back to the Waterstation sink again for serving. The same dishes can be used for storage. cooking and serving and consequently greatly reduce any resulting washing up!. This description may give you an over view of the system and how it works, although it is really only the beginning, as you can go on adding bits like central serving stations in both the saloon and cockpit tables and so on, The central serving station is a wonderful addition if entertaining guests on board and a feature I know some of the larger major boat builders are choosing to opt for, as it allows for both a hot and chilled facility. I suppose in essence you can have as much or as little of the system as you like, the cookers are unrivalled in the marine market as a stand alone item, but when you add the other aspects of the system to them, then you truly transform the galley into some where you can comfortably go and work in all sea conditions. I hope one day soon, someone comes up with a similarly clever system for those who have to go up the mast in such conditions! JK 

squalls

Day 10 – Casamara Spa Day!

Spa Day

Day 10 and the well fed crew of Casamara decide on a Spa Day…….

Hi Everyone,

Well we achieved half way and rather than celebrate with a big meal as the rest of the fleet appear to have done (we have a big meal everyday) my crew decided to treat the skipper to a SPA DAY.  This involved filling the hot tub behind the wheel (A discovery 55 unique feature) and being treated to a MANICURE AND PEDICURE (with industrial nail files) tomatoes over the eyes and a facial.  See picture below.

On the sailing front we are now on to mark three of the whisper pole set up devised by Iain and Charlie, which seems to be working well.  We have gybed once and now on a course of 297 degrees.  We have seen no other yachts but heard from Island Wanderer.

The only other information to report is that the crew have now discovered that I use the forward heads under cover for a particular procedure!!!! Charlie and I are on watch from 12 -3am – last night was relatively windy up to 28 knots so hoping for a quieter watch! Apparently it was very bumpy for those trying to sleep – sorry. SP

Hi everyone, yes Skippers Day today to celebrate the half way mark.  He has had lots of pampering during the spa day, as you can see! (and well deserved too)!  The crew had decided, that due to his outstanding leadership so far, it was the least we could do and his great sense of humour and huge sense of fun, has allowed us to post the attached!

I have a night off tonight, because Simon and Charlie are cooking, so am sitting chatting looking forward to our party night supper.  I did do the cake though today as promised and that will be our desert. I will let you know Fi (my wife) what the boys think, but it’s looking good so far!

For lunch we finished off the Dorado fillets that we had left over from yesterday and I poached them in white wine, with lemon and parsley (delicious) accompanied by a mixed leaf salad.

So back to the half way mark spa party and look forward to regaling you with (some of) the inevitable stories tomorrow! JK

For details on the galley solutions visit GN Espace

Image: A land-based Spa Day! Courtesy of ex_magician’s Photostream

spa