A Few Days From Rio

And I’d like to say that it’s all still to play for but sadly unless something drastic happens to the lead 3 boats we won’t have a podium position but we do hope to improve on our current 9th place! It is frustrating to say the least. We’re just entering a large shipping area as we come closer to land so we’ll be spending more time monitoring the AIS system for other vessels and instead of them being a once in a blue moon anomaly, they’ll be a regular occurrence from here on. The oil fields will also be a significant part of the next few days as we navigate round them too.

I felt quite ill this morning, a combination of lack of sleep, desperate heat, lack of a balanced diet and sheer tiredness of being at 30 degrees finally tipped me over the edge. I was on Galley Slave duty today, so after serving breakfast, anti-bacing the common areas and cleaning the heads whilst trying not to faint or throw up, I went to bed for a couple of hours before lunch and felt a whole lot better on waking. As I was sponging the wet floor in the heads and trying not to inhale the smells too deeply my internal voice was struggling between ‘man up and get on with it, you’re fine’ and ‘I’d like to cry, poor me’. I have survived though and enjoyed the rest of the day although I am in desperate need of a shower, very sticky hair near my head and very dry salty ends – nice! Actually, it’s the first time for a few days that my hair has been dry. Either through rain squalls or sweat, I’ve had wet hair for 3ish days now. I had no idea salt crystals could retain water for such a while. (Can you tell I’ve had enough of being damp?) A couple of Simple face wipes, although good, and much better than baby wipes (no sticky residue – I wonder, do parents ever notice this, or do babies wander around with sticky skin?) don’t quite cut it when a good blast under the shower is required. Bring on Rio, a stationery floor, a shower, some personal space and chance to sit still for 10 minutes with nothing to do. I’ll also enjoy being able to go to bed without taking on a variety of yoga/contortionist positions in the process. It’s hard work getting in and out of bed when you’re heeled over or even just trying to get
something out of one of the cave lockers in my bunk. I’m sure I’m building strength and flexibility etc but sometimes (like this morning) it would be nice to have a double bed with some clean crisp white sheets and a cool breeze.

We crossed the equator a few days ago and in true style we all had a little toast to Neptune. The stars were out as we threw some M&M’s to Neptune along with a whiskey, one for him and one for us. Also in the last few days we have been taking part in a sprint from one point on the map to another in the hope of gaining a point. The boat that covers the
distance fastest wins. We were doing really well until our Yankee sheet snapped not once, but twice, so sorting that out took a bit of time. We also had a bit of a halyard issue when we were changing sails in all the squalls of the last 2 days so that didn’t help. It is so hard to predict what is going to happen next. The best we can do is deal with it all as it arises and as quickly as possible.

Finally the things that have made me smile in the last few days have been helming in the sunshine whilst listening to The Killers and Pink. I do love helming but definitely need more practice at it to be of any use in larger waves or gusty winds. It is an amazing feeling driving a large racing yacht over the open ocean. There’s a huge sense of freedom and power. It’s also great to be with the rest of the crew on my watch as we have a bit of banter along the way. Rich’s hat is a topic of conversation at the moment. It’s more of an Easter bonnet, which, when the wind catches it, becomes something of a ‘driving Miss Daisy’ hat. The boys (I’m the only girl on the watch) have educated me in boy chat, it’s mainly toilet (yes literally) humour and talk of fixing the engine/generator/water maker.  We’ve seen a few sea birds but have no idea what they are so have decided to call them all ‘Albatross’ which has us chuckling every time any sort of bird flies past and one of us calls out’Albatross’ when it’s very clearly something much smaller.

Off to bed now as I’m on watch again at 6am, that little bit closer to Rio.

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6 Responses to A Few Days From Rio

  1. chris cowen says:

    Nothing but complete respect, I think what you guys are doing is fantastic. Keep the ‘Pecker up’ you have to the lows to really enjoy the highs. With you all the way.

  2. Sal says:

    May be they should all be Jonathan Livingstone Seagulls not Albatross’? Glad you are enjoying the helming you’ll have great upper arm tone by the time you get back.

  3. Kim Rolfe says:

    Hello Lovely Lady as ever you manage to make it all sound glamerous when I clearly know and understand that its not!!! Keep your chin up Honey Rio is on the doorstep and so are those lovely clean sheets, hot shower and floor that doesnt move!!! Cannot wait to catch up with you in person in Oz…looking forward to next post and photos. Love to all those I know in the purple beastie and big hug to you xxx

  4. Alysoun says:

    Big Hug Lesley – you are doing brilliantly! And I bet you still look bloody gorgeous even with dry salty hair!! xx

  5. David Cockburn says:

    Hi Lesley, remember the the 5/6 week threshold? After about this time away the hardiest of all Britains hardy naval sons (and daughters) succumb to a yearning desire for a wee space to themselves, clean sheets a shower and a wee bit of independence if only for a while. You’ve had it about as tough as it gets with the storms, heat and boat heel etc, so all in all this means you are doing brilliantly! Well done! I don’t even know how you manage to keep up with the website blog etc. Forecast that with a run ashore, the time threshold crossed, and the solid knowledge in you that you can handle such conditions, next leg will be even more enjoyable

  6. Zena Louth says:

    Hey Lesley, don’t forget to take hold of that coin in those darkest moments. .. she’s with you all the way 🙂

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