Carmen is down in the galley processing and vacuum sealing a huge stock of Italian coffee beans, while Pitiou is up on deck testing the winches he just finished rebuilding, it's the music of the day, what's become our normal routine, everyone driving towards the same goal; the big departure. The marina here at STP Palma is humming with activity as dozens of crews prepare their boats for the Atlantic passage- it's departure season; the annual migration of sailing yachts bound for the Caribbean.
Carmen and I have been out and about shopping all over town. Loads of supplies arrive daily by truck and taxi. With each delivery they offload heaps of bags filled with every sort of imaginable edible and accompanying condiments.They're briefly scattered all over the deck before disappearing into various storage compartments below, it's a magical mystery of sorts: where does it all go?
We're not alone of course, the evidence is clear, I went to pick up butter at El Corte Inglés only to discover previous crews had cleaned out the dairy case. Back at the boat we're cooking away, I have ten days worth of meals already bagged, tagged and stacked in the freezer, Carmen is now working on a round of Italian favorites; we don't sail as fast as the Volvo Ocean boats, but we eat a whole lot better!
Friends and family of the crew drop by to check on our progress and wish us well, Andrea's parents even flew in from Naples to visit and see the boat, we had a lovely lunch together on board this past Tuesday. It’s now Saturday morning, 22 November, and things are pretty quiet on board. Andrea is sitting at the nav-station enjoying his favorite breakfast of cornflakes mixed with coffee and milk. He's relaxing and exploring the music collection, Hank Williams' "Hey Good Lookin" is playing so he must be in a country western mood, ah, now I hear Dolly Parton, so definitely in a country mood.
The sea trials yesterday were super successful, it was a delightful day, the guys ran through all the systems and sails, everything seems to be working fine so far. With reworked sails, new anti-foul and a freshly tuned rig in very light winds: 6-8 knots, we were managing 5-7 knots boat speed upwind- no joke! Everyone raved over the new spectra steering cables, the helm was great before but now it's a dream, the guys can't wait to get her out on the open sea, they won't have long to wait, just ten days left until departure- the countdown begins!