The final leg

As predicted, the final day's sailing was a disappointment, but not without incident. We had been 'serenaded' by the crews of Serendipity and Leviathan II until about 0100 so the 0530 alarm was not welcome! Just before we started getting ready to slip lines I found that we had run out of water, the gauge had stuck and we didn't still have three quarters of a tank. We started refilling while we got everything ready then, at about 0610, we slipped our lines and set off towards Lagos, into rolly seas with no wind so it became a motor boat race. During the morning the wind picked up a bit so we pulled out the genoa and cut the engine. A bit later we rolled away the genoa and pulled up the cruising chute for the first time since Biscay, other than to dry it while we were in the marina at Povoa. It went up without a hitch, the wind started dying, we started drifting so down it came again, without a hitch. Meanwhile drama was unfolding elsewhere, Serendipity called the fleet on channel 77 to say they were drifting with no wind and no engine. Ocean Trilogy took them under tow while they tried to find the cause of their starting problems. Lots of boats called up with sound practical advice, others reported on the wind conditions approaching Cape St Vincent and Cape de Sagres. As Serendipity approached the windy area they dropped the tow. Another boat, Abraxas, had a spare starter motor, identical to the suspect one, so turned around and sailed about 4 miles back to them then successfully transferred it across. Sadly this did not solve their problem. We all experienced about 20 to 25 knots of wind around the first cape, dropping then rising again as we approached the second cape then it dropped and changed direction, straight from Lagos! Motor on time again for the last 15 miles. Serendipity sailed until they were beating towards Morocco making 4 knots when they set up another tow, this time with Webster. Entry into the canal to the marina was daunting. We probably entered at about half tide and the waves were breaking at the entrance, looking very challenging. Webster and Serendipity arrived about three hours later when there was much less water at the entrance, breaking far more steeply. They did a fantastic job and both boats were welcomed on to the reception pontoon by many of the rally participants. Wednesday was the last day of the rally. We did a self-guided walking tour of Lagos, completed the quiz with some difficulty and had the best moules marinara (moules pescatores or something in Portuguese) that we have ever eaten! Back on the boat I washed the decks, John found a replacement fuel can for the outboard but is now waiting for the right connector then he removed the roller furling line and washed it. You are not meant to be able to push a bit of string, you could make this one stand vertically! The final dinner of the rally was held in the Waypoint Restaurant with drinks in the garden to start with. We won first prize for the quiz with only one wrong answer. I don't know which question that was but it could have been one of several guesses! Once all the formal presentations were made the crew from Serendipity took to the floor and gave out presents, seriously well thought out. John was given a copy of the Machine Mart catalogue because they felt that would be the sort of shop he would run well, given the tools and spares we carry on Starblazer. The other gifts were in a similar comedic vein. A very good time was had by all and we got to bed rather late. Thursday morning on the pontoon is rather quiet. Many crews are flying home today, hopefully the general strike will not disrupt them too much. Some boats are moving swiftly on, others are planning to stay for a time be it weeks, months or a year. We plan to leave on Monday, but we are cruising and plans can change. This will almost certainly be my last blog on this page of the World Cruising Club website though occasional blogs should start popping up on the ARC page. We should also be able to find the time now to get our website running: www.yachtstarblazer.co.uk and we will reactivate SPOT as we have given the Yellow Brick Tracker back. More soon from us, somewhere on the Internet. Joyce

Summer has arrived

Friday morning we went on a coach tour of the Oeiras area, starting with a visit to the Poets' Park where they commemorate twelve of their best known 20th century poets. It is quite a pleasant stroll in the sunshine, but not yesterday when there was a biting wind and brief showers which had replaced the sunny early morning. From there we went to a gunpowder factory and spent a very long time in a traffic jam on the way, caused by roadworks on a roundabout! The museum was interesting and quite different from Explosion! in Gosport. In Portugal the walls are very thick, the ceilings high and the roofs thin so explosions go upwards. The rooms were also quite large and bright and there was a memorial outside listing the workers who had died in explosions. Explosion, by contrast, comprises small dark rooms with low ceilings and I don't recall a memorial. At the museum I fell flat on my face when I tripped over some very uneven paving, as mentioned in my previous blog. A photo will probably appear somewhere at some time, all I will say is that it is a fetching blue colour! We spent the afternoon painting our battle flag on the wall and in the evening went to the prize giving. Yippeee, a prize for our sailing prowess at last, the first time we have ever finished in the first three on ARC Portugal. Saturday has been a much better day, still windy but wall to wall sunshine. We went on the optional coach tour to Sintra, named after Cinthia the Roman goddess of the dawn or so we were told. It really is a lovely location, high up a 'mountain' with an ancient castle on the top overlooking the town. We had a brief guided tour and were then left to decide hat we wanted to do. We decided against visiting the palace because there was quite a long queue, opting instead to wander around the streets before stopping for coffee and local pastries in one of the recommended coffee shops with Linda from Nina. There was a rugby match this morning between the British Lions and Australia so a number of people opted to stay behind and spend the morning in Peter's Cafe Sport watching the match. One jewellery shop had some really beautiful gold filigree work but it was very expensive, sadly we walked away! I did buy a cork bracelet, the last of the big spenders...11€. From Sintra we went up and around the mountain to Cabo da Roca which is the most western point of mainland Europe. When we sailed round the cape on Thursday it got windier, today it was really very windy. After a 20 minute stop we headed on to Caiscais for a lunch stop. We lunched at the Beafeater sport bar with Linda and Wendy from Unleashed, an Australian boat. It was good value food, washed down with Sangria, then we wandered on towards the seafront. An artist had created the most amazing sand sculpture, I don't think it was quite finished as she had laid the foundations for another building. The beach was extremely popular, I'll say no more. The final leg of the trip was a return to Oeiras by the coast road through Estoril. The beaches were all packed and, as it was close to high tide, standing room only on one of them. Tomorrow, Sunday, we sail to Sines. Joyce

A successful day’s sailing

A successful day's sailing Sunday dawned sunny and windy! The wind was not as strong as it appeared. Today's leg from Oeiras to Sines started at 10.00 a.m. for the 50+ nautical miles including Cabo Espichel where we might expect a wind acceleration zone. Some boats headed off to the west while others sailed inshore, both groups hoping for favourable winds. We steered a middle course, watching the west bound group disappear in the background. Sadly for us, the inshore group crept ahead of us, especially Idefix, a Belgian boat flying a bright pink spinnaker. Their advantage was to be short lived however because they all sailed into a wind hole close to the cliffs! The first 14 miles were very slow however the wind picked up in the afternoon and we sailed on, wing and wing (mainsail pulled out one side and secured out with a gybe preventer, genoa out to the other side.). Our course was rather too close to the wind from astern so John rigged the spinnaker pole to hold the genoa out. Our speed increased and we had a very good sail though we couldn't catch up with Idefix. We reached Sines ahead of a number of much larger boats, what a good feeling that was. No, we are not competitive, we just don't like being last. Monday morning we had a walking tour of Sines, birthplace of Vasco da Gama. Was he related to Henry VIII? All the statues of him look like the pictures of Henry VIII. The tour was followed by the rally prize giving in the old castle, with light refreshments especially white port with tonic and ice, very good. The leg to Sines was our most successful ever, coming second in our class. That is two podium finishes in two successive legs, don't expect a further improvement on the next leg! Tomorrow's winds are predicted to be very light, just what we don't want on the longest leg of the rally excluding Biscay. It's 75 miles and the start is a 'gate start' between 0600 and 0630 when the wind will probably be zero. At least it means we should be able to extricate Starblazer from another slightly challenging berth. We have spent this afternoon doing some boat jobs, primarily finding then fitting the bimini, a large sunshade over the cockpit. It took a bit of finding, I had stupidly put it in a locker under the forward berth which has subsequently been stacked with crates of stuff to be found a home! The aft straps holding the frame back interfered with the mainsheet and we would like to be able to sail with it up so John has moved the fixings, problem solved we hope. The other issue is with the way the sheets (ropes which control the sails to non sailors) go on the winches. We think we have a good lead for them but winching is going to be a bit of a challenge. Hopefully we'll get to try it out tomorrow, the wind should increase a bit during the day to give us a bit of a rest from the engine. Tonight we are treating ourselves to a restaurant meal, the cook is still a little unwilling to work. Just a quick brag, we have just looked at the results on the website and found that we actually came second in the whole fleet on corrected time, that can't be bad!!! Joyce

Tuk-Tuks, sailing and trains!

Our trip in a very modern electric Tuk-Tuk to the Graham's Port Wine Lodge was quite comfortable though the cobbles were very noisy. The tour was interesting and the dinner afterwards was superb. Thursday we went on a tour of Oporto, travelling there from Gaia by Tuk-Tuk. We started with a two hour guided walking tour, visiting a spectacularly decorated church, the stock exchange built on the site of the adjacent convent (long since burned down in battle),the beautifully decorated station and the cathedral. Martha, our guide, was excellent. After that we had a two hour guided tour by Tuk-Tuk of the centre of Oporto (aka Porto) and the opposite bank of the Douro river. The highlight of this trip was a visit to Lello's bookshop, the inspiration for the moving staircases and the library in Harry Potter. It was a very good trip. On Saturday we sailed from Oporto to Figuera Da Foz, a distance of about 60 miles. We always knew it was highly unlikely that we would arrive before the finish line closed, not helped by having to tack out of the Douro river in a week, flukey wind. We had a cracking sail but sadly crossed the finish line 21 minutes and 30 seconds too late. The good news is that nothing went wrong this time except that we found a hole on the wind on the start line! Today, Sunday, we went on a trip to Coimbra, home of the oldest university in Portugal. The town itself dates back to Roman times, developed extensively by the Moors and added to subsequently. The trip was oversubscribed so we went by train, a lovely change. The downside was that the station is at the bottom of the hill, the university at the top, so it was quite an exercise getting to the top to meet the coach party. It was well worth the effort as we visited areas we had not seen previously, like the prison for students in the cellars of the library. We returned to Figuera Da Foz by coach, stopping at Motemor on the way. This is an extensive castle on the top of a hill with a church dating from about 1066 in he middle. It provided a good look-out to watch for invading moors coming across the Mondego river from the south. We move on to Peniche on Tuesday. More later. Joyce

Fantastic sailing

We finally left Figuera Da Foz on Wednesday morning. This was definitely our best start ever, second over the line. We had a cracking sail to Peniche, averaging 6.9 knots through the water, more over the ground when the current is taken into account. This was definitely our best race to date, finishing fourth in class 2. Class 2 is led by four boats designed to race, the handicap should allow us to compete on even terms however we are fully loaded for long term cruising so are rather heavier than the boat's spec. We were delighted with fourth place. Thursday morning we left Peniche for Oeiras, near Lisbon. As we had been rafted up overnight we had a gate start between 0820 and 0900. Rally Control sat up by the lighthouse and called our start times. Conditions were much as Wednesday to start with, force 4 winds from the north west and moderate swells. We were charging along at close to 7 knots with the mainsail off to windward with a gybe preventer and the genoa to leeward. This is a bit risky if the wind gets in front of the mainsail and slams the boom across to the other side, hence the gybe preventer. We would probably have sailed faster still if we had poled out the genoa as it kept losing the wind. We were amazed when the faster boats in class 1 didn't quickly overhaul us. The trouble with the Portuguese coast is that the wind accelerates around the headlands. The 20 knot wind only increased to 24 at the first cape but the swells increased a lot. As we approached the second cape it whistled up to 30. Just when you think you are over the worst we recorded 39 knots. By this time we had rolled away half the genoa and gybed it over to the same side as the main and were charging along at up to 9 knots! All good things (?) must come to an end and we sailed into a wind hole! We drifted along for what seemed like ages, it was very frustrating. We were very surprised to find the boat inside us was Serendipity and the one just ahead was Leviathan. We have never before seen these two boats once over the start line! We were delighted to get a third place and, as luck would have it, a prize. On most legs only first place gets a prize. While everything is going well on the sailing front I have not been so lucky. In Figuera Da Foz they are doing a lot of road building and had draped a 3 inch diameter pipe across a public footpath, lifting it over the sea wall. Unfortunately I tripped over the raised bit, getting a very big graze on my good (right) knee. Today, Friday, we went for a tour of the Oeiras area, including a gunpowder factory. I managed to trip over an uneven path, falling flat on my face. Luckily my glasses are quite flexible and the lenses are plastic so they survived however my chin took the major impact and doesn't look very pretty. This afternoon I painted our boat's flag on the harbour wall, just to the right of the picture I painted for Fair Encounter in 2009. Tomorrow we are going on a trip to Sintra, up in the mountains, and on Sunday we leave for Sines. I must apologise for the dearth of blogs but we never managed to access the wi-fi in Figuera Da Foz so I have been catching up here in Oeiras. If anyone reading this is interested, Richard has set up a Facebook page for Starblazer, check it out. More soon Joyce

Portugal and sunshine!

The past few days have been rather mixed in a variety of ways: weather, wind, sailing mishaps and race starts. We left Baiona on Tuesday morning with a gentle breeze just outside the marina, pulled up the main, unfurled the genoa and crossed the start line about 15 seconds after the gun. It was possibly our best start ever! The forecasts were rather mixed, depending upon which one you chose. The reality was a mixture of all the bad parts, force 6 from the direction we wanted to go with big seas. Yuk. We battled to get two reefs in the main and rolled away a lot of genoa which levelled the boat a bit and knocked our speed down a bit as well. About two and a half hours into the passage I suddenly spotted our cruising chute floating away. These things are expensive so we did about six circles before I finally managed to snag the handle of the bag with a boat hook. While this was going on the fuel tank for the outboard also made a bid for freedom, another six circles getting ever closer to it but I couldn't grab it so we gave up. At this point I checked the GPS and found we had made 0.9 miles towards our destination in an hour, arrival time was estimated to be 0315 so we gave up and turned the engine on. During the evening fog banks started building up all around us as the wind dropped to nothing but at least the seas were flatter as we closed in to the coast. We tied up in the marina in Povoa do Varzim at about 2240, not the last boat to arrive. Wednesday was a completely different day, sunshine and very gentle breezes! This is why we came to Portugal. We spent the morning sorting out the boat then I went on a tour of the area in the afternoon while John went on a hunt for some plumbing bits to instal a bilge pump in the engine bilge. Thursday was a very short leg, about 14 nautical miles to a new marina in the Duoro river on the side of the port houses. The start was delayed by an hour to allow a front with fog and very strong winds to pass. We were a little late leaving the berth and hadn't shackled the halyard to the mainsail. The sea was quite rough and the halyard was whipped out of John's hand before he managed to shackle it on. The wire was flailing around, getting caught in the rigging, and proved impossible to catch so John did the sensible thing and just pulled it up to the top of the mast where it could do no damage. The downside was that we couldn't easily use the mainsail. The other result of this problem was possibly our worst race start ever, still motoring away from the line as the start was signalled! We pulled out the genoa and set off to catch up with the rest of the fleet. At least the wind co-operated, allowing us to sail down wind at a reasonable speed with a favourable current in bright sunshine. We'll still probably come in last on handicap in our group but someone has to, it was however a very close race. We are now tied up in the new marina, they were actually bolting a cleat down for us as we arrived. John has been to the top of the mast to retrieve the main halyard and that is now safely returned to deck level. Tonight it's a Tuk-Tuk ride to Graham's port lodge, a guided tour then a dinner. Tomorrow we have a guided walking tour and a Tuk-Tuk tour which sounds fun. Regardless of the sailing mishaps we are enjoying ourselves and are really pleased that at last we have found the sun! More later. Joyce

Our stay in Baiona

Thursday proved to be a very busy day for the team of Rally Control with the majority of the boats arriving during the day including us! The nightmare of a six and a half day crossing, as in 2003, was not repeated, for which I am mightily relieved. We spent Friday mostly doing jobs on the boat, mending the bits that went wrong. The Sailtainer is now reinstated, the first reefing line is led back in the boom and tied to the sail and the general mess below is tidied up. In the evening there was a Sangria reception for the rally, hosted by the yacht club, then we went for a group meal in a restaurant called Le Tunel. It was very good value. As the weather forecast was not very good for Saturday we chose not to go on the trip to Santiago de Compostela as we have been twice before. Instead I did domestic things like the washing! Such fun says she through gritted teeth. John connected up all the solar panels which he had already installed on the arch then he started to do battle with our satellite communications, in particular trying to get the e-mail capability sorted out. So far no luck. The weather on Sunday was even less attractive. I believe it is sunny and warm at home, it isn't here. I made a cake using the batter of a German Friendship Cake a.k.a. Hermann, which had been in the freezer at home for ages. It tuned out very well. It brightened up in the afternoon so we went for a walk around the Monte Real which comprises a battlement with watch towers at the numerous corners on a rocky promontory. There were some fantastic views, or at least there would have been if the area surrounding us hadn't been sitting beneath huge black clouds. In the evening we had the prize giving and dinner. Not surprisingly we did not feature in the top three in our group however we did win a prize for our anticipated arrival time. We might have been even closer to it if the wind hadn't piped up and sent us flying along for the last two and a half miles Monday dawned grey and damp, however we had booked ourselves on a coach trip, a guided walk up in the hills overlooking Portugal to see some watermills and watercourses built several hundred years ago, lunch and finally a trip to a vineyard where the production process was described to us. It was a very good day even if it was a bit damp. The walk was a very good workout for the knee, with a lot of up and down components on fairly rough terrain. The lunch was so good we haven't had anything to eat since we got back except a small piece of cake. I went to fill the kettle and found no water pump. John has spent the last hour in the engine compartment sorting out the problem. The electrical connections had corroded and the wires had dropped off. He has installed a spare pump so we have pumped water again. He thinks there is a good chance that he will be able to repair the old one. Tomorrow we leave for Portugal, approximately 60 miles with a fairly unpromising wind forecast. It is unlikely to be very strong and it will probably be coming from an unhelpful direction so we will either zig zag rather slowly or motor. We'll see what tomorrow brings. More soon Joyce

Day five – Our last day at sea

This has been a constructive day with nothing else getting damaged. Our vital statistics: day's run, noon Wednesday to 1320 Thursday was 140.3 miles. In case you hadn't guessed, we arrived 15 minutes earlier than our guesstimate and are now safely tied up in Baiona. We have sailed a total of 583 miles, though had to motor 144.7 miles. Our elapsed time was 100 hours 21 minutes, of which 24 hours 14 minutes were spent motoring. We motored all morning as the wind was dead ahead and not strong enough to sail by. About an hour from Baiona the wind finally built up and veered a little so we motor sailed, maintaining the same speed but with far fewer revs. We turned the engine off when we altered course for the finish and flew the last three miles under sail! John reversed Starblazer up to the pontoon, a first for us on this boat and one of very few times in our total sailing career. We spent the afternoon fixing things. The first job was the inauguration of the passerelle, John rigged it up, stood on it and the single point fixing to the rail failed. The end suspeded by a halyard to the pontoon stayed put but the boat end dropped several feet and landed on the boarding platform. John was hanging on to the ropes so was shaken but not wet! After lunch, and some use of the angle grinder, he rerigged it making it a much stronger attachment even if not so elegant as it is now lashed in place. The next major job was to remove the Sailtainer so I could repair it, the major difficulty was bundling the sail up and lifting it above the boom so that the canvaswork could be slid out of the groove in the boom with the sail still in place. Unpicking was easy, rather too easy, then with judicious use of sail repair tape, extra webbing and the sewing machine it was reconstructed as good as new. Reinstallation will wait for tomorrow. Meanwhile John fed the missing reefing line into position by tying it to the third reef which runs parallel in the boom. The outboard end just needs tying to the sail. Job done. Omissions from Wednesday's essay, sorry, I mean blog. Advantages of sailing double handed: you don't need to keep lockers or a berth free for another crew member, you don't have to worry about being fully dressed, catering is easy because you know what food you both like, you know how tetchy you each get when you get tired and make allowances (sometimes). I should add that these advantages apply to couples, they might not apply to friends! Wednesday's gourmet meals: breakfast cereal (yes the cook is getting lazy), sandwiches for lunch then a turkey curry and rice for dinner. Cook is now on strike so dinner was at the yacht club Thursday evening. Wildlife spotted: disappointingly only a handful of dolphins cruised slowly past us on Wednesday afternoon, not stopping to play. Perhaps we were sailing too slowly. Also disappointingly, the flies have found us. I will try to blog at every port we visit. There will be another from here in rainy Baiona before we leave but don't hold your breath. All is well on Starblazer though I suspect Friday will be devoted to 'housework' . Joyce

Day four – Drawbacks and advantages of sailing double handed

Day four - drawbacks and advantages of sailing double handed Penultimate blog for this crossing which compares most favourably with our two previous southbound trips, but more of that later. Vital statistics: we sailed continuously, noon to noon, and covered 157 miles through the water, 151 miles towards our waypoint. The discrepancy is explained in part by the slightly differential rates of tidal flow and partly by not being able to sail directly towards the waypoint because of the wind direction. It was a good day however you look at it. While the statistics refer to noon to noon the rest of the narrative covers 24 hours from midnight. Confused? You will be! Does anyone else remember the old American comedy 'Soap'? We could probably have sailed faster if we had been able to use just the first reef for most of this morning, rather than the second reef. The 'lost' reefing line meant we did not have the choice, though we did pull out more of the genoa during the morning. Now we come to the first of the drawbacks of sailing double handed. John has spent some time each morning doing battle with the Iridium phone, downloading e-mails including the all important weather forecast. Subsequently he has spent ages as, first of all, unofficial VHF net controller and weatherman (think broadcast radio weather people) then HF net controller, before returning to VHF to read out the long range forecast. This is fine, we both enjoy the radio nets but if the crew, i.e. me, is busy doing something else Starblazer has to look after herself. Don't get me wrong, I'm still keeping a lookout, just a bit preoccupied. This morning I went back on deck to find the sails slatting, almost no wind and coming from a different direction. A lot can change in 5 minutes. I set about pulling out the mainsail reef, forgetting that John had tied the loose line from the first reef back to the mast. The sail did go up, I did spot the problem with the reefing line, but not until it had torn a length of the new Sailtainer I'd made. The sewing machine isn't just ballast, it will be used in Baiona. And my point? It might still have happened with both of us on deck but it is likely the problem would have been spotted much sooner. With both sails fully set we sailed on, not very fast, for another hour before the wind dropped even further. Our last chance of sailing was the cruising chute, that big colourful thing with a mind of its own. We got it up and set and accelerated away, briefly, but the wind was rather unstable and it became more and more difficult to keep it filled. At one point we were almost heading for America! It had to come down. That is when the fun started. The sock would not pull down, even with all my weight on the down haul rope. John tried, no success, so we had to revert to more traditional ways. John sat on deck pulling the sail in as I controlled the halyard, it worked well though he had a lap full of sail and couldn't move. In hindsight we should have dumped the mess in its bag and turned the engine on, we didn't. We painstakingly sorted out the twists in the sock then raised the whole lot again, careful to keep the two outer edges of the sail together with no twists while carefully working the sock down the length of the sail keeping the control lines straight. Nora Batty's stockings are nothing compared with our 16m snuffer sock. Then we dropped it again and stuffed it in the bag. It all took nearly an hour and we found we had made just 0.9 miles towards the waypoint. On with the engine. We motored on into the night, approaching the separation zones off Cape Finisterre. When I came back on watch at 2300 we could probably have sailed but this is the second disadvantage of short handed sailing. I cannot tack the boat efficiently on my own and, given the blackness (100% cloud cover), the constraints of the area we were sailing (fishing boats to right if us, fishing boats to left of us, not to mention the separation zones for ships going north and south) we continued motoring. Another pair of eyes would be useful for spotting fishing boats as well. This is the fourth time we have rounded the fear inspiring Cape Finisterre in almost a flat calm under engine! Perhaps this should be the last time? Can we be so lucky again? Final instalment should follow shortly. I realise I haven't mentioned the advantages of being double handed. There are some, I'll think about them for my next blog. Menu has also been omitted as has wildlife spotted. I promise the next blog will be much shorter. Joyce.

Day three – positively

This blog will attempt to dwell on the positives we can take from this passage. Firstly, the statistics: day's run to noon was a wonderful 152 miles through the water, of which 150 were towards the waypoint. The wind has been a steady force 5 all day (midnight to midnight) and the seas have settled quite a lot. Positive 1 - we have barely touched the sails all day since the wind veered and John eased the sheets at around 0400. Positive 2 - it's been sunny all day but the wind is cold. Positive 3 - we can still see 2 other rally yachts, flanking us one off each quarter. (= just behind either side) Positive 4 - John successfully downloaded e-mails including the important weather information. We still can't send though so these blogs will all be posted at the same time from Baiona Positive 5 - we were in contact with 10 yachts on the midday radio net. The SSB net was not so successful, one boat came up well but the other boat can transmit but failed to hear either of the others. Positive 6 - the clouds covering half the sky have cleared in the past 2 hours and now the stars are putting in their usual brilliant show. Today's menu included porridge and fruit juice for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and sausage casserole and yogurt for dinner. Life is good on board Starblazer, just wish the wind was warmer. Two important announcements: Cathy, I completed that evil Candy Cush game this morning and, secondly, Happy 14th Birthday to our wonderful grand daughter Chloe More of my ramblings later. Joyce