Crew member on GBR958R Jangada

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The Tapas Bar at the Top of the Ridge

Rupert Holmes and Richard Palmer on JPK1010 Jangaga

Position: 25.24N 24.26W

True wind speed: 6.4 knots

True wind angle: 58 degrees

Boat speed: 5.1 knots

Air temperature: 27.4 Celcius

Weather: Sun

One of the joys of sailing long distances is that it gives time to slow

down and appreciate the joys of some the important essentials of life.

After five full-on days of racing in constantly changing conditions, and

often confused seas, that have demanded constant attention today has

brought a welcome change.

By breakfast time the wind had settled into a steady 6-7 knots from the

west-southwest, giving a much easier day in prospect as we head south on

starboard tack into the narrow ridge of high pressure that's separating

us from the tradewinds that will eventually push us the rest of the way

to the Caribbean.

After 30-40 minutes of tweaking sail and pilot settings we got the boat

set up to look after herself, with human intervention only needed to

keep a lookout and monitor course and speed. As I write we're hitting

more than 100 per cent of polars, even though neither of us has touched

the helm, or a piece of string, for more than four hours. As for other

traffic, it's 24 hours since we last had a target on the AIS and the

only other life we've actually seen is dolphins.

That's given time to sleep, to do a few small jobs around the boat, and

have a leisurely lunch: freshly-made hummous, Iberian cured ham, cheese,

pate de campagne, fresh vegetables and tasty Spanish olives, washed down

with a couple of cold beers - the first we've had since Friday last week.

Even if the normal fare when racing is easier to prepare, there's still

time to slow down when eating to savour the flavours of the different

ingredients. The same is true even for snacks, where a flapjack isn't

something to be rushed in a couple of bites, and a couple of slices of

dried mango make a great treat in the middle of a long night watch.

The normal routine on Jangada consists of muesli or porridge for

breakfast, wraps with chorizo or ham, cheese, iceberg lettuce fresh

pepper etc for lunch. Evening meals are invariably pre-packaged dinners

that can be boiled in the bag, using the Jetboil, with added rice or

noodles and veg. To keep energy levels constant through the day and

night we also have a huge variety of snacks, including fresh and dried

fruit, nuts, cereal bars, homemade cake and the aforementioned flapjacks.

Caption: Lunch in the Tapas Bar at the Top of the (high pressure) Ridge.