Goodbye 2016 and all that... hello 2017,

I'm on watch from 8 till midnight tonight so will hand over to Niall next year. It's been an great few days out here in the tropical Atlantic. I'm sitting behind Tin Tin's wheel in shorts, tee shirt and life jacket. We are rocking along on a heading of 290 Deg on relatively calm sea at 7-8 knts with 25-30 knts of wind over our starboard quarter. We have a reefed mainsail for the night allowing one person to handle most eventualities by reefing the Genoa using the roller system. There is no moon so the stars are particularly bright when they appear from behind the low clouds.

I don't think I reported our three whale day in the blog, so better relate a most extraordinary day. It began when w hale was spotted following us in the waves behind us. They surf the waves just below the surface so that when the sun is at the right angle you get a great view of them, gliding along at 7- 8 knts, apparently effortlessly. Then we spotted a second and soon afterwards a third. They were all doing repeated circuits of the boat, coming right alongside and under us. We deployed the GoPro on a boat hook in an attempt to get underwater shots, and slowed down to make it easier to get the camera in the water! The whales obliged by continuing to come and have look at our white bottomed boat, and seemed to get bolder, surfacing very close, spending longer under the boat and it as if they were interested in what was going on with this stick stuck in the water! Some very good video was got and will appear on the skipper's blog when we get somewhere with good enough wifi!

The last day of 2016 went well when Kyle landed a small yellowfin tuna. It made for a better day for him than yesterday when he lost a big dorado and the lure with it. Today we were able to slow down where as yesterday we had our sails goose winged with he mainsail out to port and the Genoa attached to the spinnaker pole to starboard.

If all goes to plan, 2017 should see Tin Tin and crew cross into and cross the Pacific, go round the top of Australia, cross the Indian Ocean arriving in Cape Town for Christmas and New year may well be spent in the Southern Atlantic as we head north to St Helena, Ascension Island and northern Brazil. Well that is the plan!

Best wishes for 2017 to you all from Tin Tin's 1st mate, Mark (Capt. Haddock)

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