A good start on the way to Cape Town.

So far this race we have had great sailing. The winds and seas have been
kind to us and our new crew, they are both gently building which has
allowed most of us to get our sea legs again. Sadly a few of the new crew
have suffered a bit from seasickness but most have recovered. Although
the temperature has dropped a bit we have been having lovely sunny days
and cooler evenings. The sailing over the last couple of days has been
down wind which means the boat is flatter and the breeze less chilling.
We’ve even seen some more whales – different species this time – not quite
sure what kind. They popped up within feet of the boat and dove under our

Having new crew on board has been fabulous. It’s great to have their
enthusiasm and new people for us to chat to and get to know. I didn’t
realise quite how much we’d settled into a routine so there’s been quite a
bit of sharing that stuff with them. From a selfish point of view it’s
also been great sharing some sailing knowledge with them. It’s made me
realise how much I’ve learnt and that perhaps I’m not quite the numpty I
thought I was!

As well as media crew member, I have now taken on a new role!! I am now
the assistant to the assistant for engineering (such status!), so far this
has entailed fixing some bins in the galley, looking at a broken tap and
deciding the chief engineer would be better placed to fix it and finally,
re-attaching our toilet curtain – sounds a bit more like ‘odd job man’ to
me but I’m sure I’ll get my hands covered in engine oil at some point,
although having said that, I’ve competently completed the first 2 tasks
without getting it wrong, I’m not sure the same will be said when I get
involved in the more technical side of my new role – watch this space.

Just after dinner it was time to gybe, not the most simple of moves when
you are flying a spinnaker and it takes a lot of prep, so with both watches
up on deck we went for it. Careful preparation meant that we were all set
for a great gibe when suddenly the clew of the spinnaker came free (I
hope you are keeping up with the technical terms here!) and we
found ourselves sailing in the moonlight with a free flying spinnaker
sheet. Gordon (the skipper) was very calm as he assessed the situation and
wondered how we were going to get the huge white sail safely back on the
boat without injuring a crew member or damaging the sail. Baz’s great
helming kept us on track whilst at the same time keeping the sail safely
away from the crew and the rigging as Gordon and Keith debated the best way
to recover the situation. We dropped the halyard and pulled the sail down
and into the boat through the forward hatch. All in one piece, no rips or
tears and all done very quickly and smoothly (In fact, the irony being, it
was easier and quicker than the way we normally drop the spinnaker). There
was a big cheer from the crew and lots of clapping as the team work paid off
and the sail was safely down below. After inspecting it, there are no
problems with it, it appears the clew just came out the beak of the pole so
we’ll do an inspection of that in the morning. We are currently sailing
with the No1 Yankee, the Staysail and the main. It was a long watch for
Keith’s crew, 10 hours straight as we were all on deck for the gybe, then
the sail recovery and sail plan reset so my watch is now doing a double
shift and we’ll be finished by 2am.

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1 Response to A good start on the way to Cape Town.

  1. chris cowen says:

    Sounds like a great team effort all round. Keep the good work up guys. It must have been lovely your Dad hearing from you on his birthday, good girl. Love reading these entres in you Blog.

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