Pirate Territory

‘Aarrr me hearties’, we are crossing from the Celebes Sea through the Basialian Straights and into the Sulu Sea all under engine sadly. We have rendezvoused with 2 other yachts and are travelling in convoy over glassy seas with only very light breezes and hot, hot sun. As of a few days ago we had to turn on our engines as a result of a combination of lights airs and pirates. In order to make our Singapore arrival date and not arrive 12 days or so late, we have taken to motoring to save time. We had also planned to motor part of this stretch anyway for safety due to us being in pirate territory – safety in numbers! As I may have mentioned before, this has led to quite a holiday feel about the boat, the crew can be found sunbathing on deck, doing boat jobs lathered in suntan cream and drinking copious amounts of water while dreaming of cocktails and tropical beaches. Our skipper has found a shady spot on deck for his bean bag and is currently reclining under our tarpaulin sunshade. I, instead of writing this in the nav station, have brought my lap top on deck and am also writing in the shade and the lovely breeze. We have passed many beautiful islands decked with palm trees, listened to relaxing chill out music and been planning our tourist excursions in Singapore, where, possibly for the first time, we’ll have more than a couple of days R&R as a result of getting so much boat work done during this motoring section. This part of the race has been a stark contrast to the previous leg which was by far the hardest. The tough ocean racing seems such a long time ago as we enjoy our tropical cruise. When we met up with Yorkshire and Finland we even rafted together for a deck party. It was a beautiful evening with a crystal clear sea when the three boats met. We made some tropical punch, laughed at our skippers’ hastily donned fancy dress outfits (gold lame skirt and cape for the Yorkshire skipper, complete with purple sparkly wig and shell necklace – quite a sight!) and went swimming round the boats. The brave amongst us climbed the spinnaker pole that had been rigged on Yorkshire and dived off into the bath temperature water 30 feet below. The evening was brought to a close with one of the most stunning sunsets we’ve had so far on the race. We quietly slipped our rafting lines and set off once again in the direction of Singapore.

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