Wednesday 2nd December…day 10
Rigatoni all’ amatriciana needs just the right amount of spice to give it a kick. The consistency of the sauce also needs to be precise. Fabrizio’s dish had it all. Mark was woken to come and enjoy it, took a taste and decided that adding a few slices of avocado might suit his less Italianate palate. He then sat down to this salivating prospect and looked away from the dish for a second. The boat lurched and the amatriciana landed on the floor. There are no second helpings at sea. The only reaction from Laura was that this was just punishment for adulterating the dish. Panfilo asked sympathetically “what the f.. have you done to the boat?”
But Panfilo is an honourable man with great generosity of spirit. He wanted everyone to feel really good about themselves and their seamanship. “Caramella” is Italian for toffee; in sailing terms, it is a gennaker twisted like a sweet wrapper which can wreak havoc. Panfilo had lectured us all about the dire consequences. Then in an act of hostly courtesy, he managed the “caramella” while at the helm. Pasquale and Fabrizio came on deck in seconds. The words “porca maiala” came like machine gun fire, but seemed to do the trick. Pasquale estimated it would have taken hours to sort out the sail, had it not been released by his manoeuvre. Pasquale’s sentence was for the Armatore to wash dishes (see picture).
Your pillowcase becomes quite tasty after 10 days in the tropics. Night sweats, day sweats, wet towels, salt, more sweat. The smell strikes a hammer blow when you approach. But today is new linen day and this has created a festive atmosphere on board. The fetid spirits have been exorcised. Perhaps it has been the shooting stars, brighter than we have ever seen.
The midday sea-bucket has also helped clear the on board air. You climb the guard rail at the stern and sit on the lowered swimming platform, while someone else dumps a bucket over you. Pasquale is not so happy with this and is even less impressed when Panfilo jumps into the sea holding a rope and is towed along at 10kts. In a muscular display (no ostentation you understand) our great “armatore” then hauls himself back onto the platform.
From the above you might think we are lost in a sea of trivia. But we are not. We have the wind, while those to the north may have to tack south to find it. We have been bowling along and covered some 250 miles in 24 hours. St Lucia is on the nose and this tack might take us all the way there. We’ve got just under 1000 m to go and we fancy we are creeping to the front of the fleet. But we are not yet getting excited.