to all those that have sponsored me, you are keeping me going at the moment. All your support has helped to raise £3,400 for Cancer Research and has helped to remind me that people back home are following my progress and rooting for me.
We have been head to wind now for 7 days in rough seas and gale force winds. We currently have a storm jib up, a staysail and a reefed main. Our topping lift had come free (and been re-attached), we have snapped a reefing line (now fixed) and finally we have had a broken halyard on the staysail – this means that the rope that holds the sail up the mast snaps of it’s own accord and your sail comes shooting down, you then need to retrieve it before it falls into the water – in line with everything else we have found a solution and have re-hoisted the sail.
The discomfort of the sailing angle and lumpy seas has been enhanced by getting in and out of wet kit every watch and enjoying the condensation drips from inside the boat and the joy of the ‘never drying’ wet locker. Add to this the fact that all the water in the boat seems to run to the bilge under my bunk (it’s the lowest point in the boat) and need bucketing out every 3 hours to prevent me drowning in my sleep (a little melodramatic!) and you have the beginning of what this small jaunt across the South Atlantic is like. Let me continue to share the highlights… lunch today was 2 bits of bread and cream cheese, one of which fell on the floor as I slid arse over t** from the galley to the saloon (lovely soaking wet seats in there, I might add), I did manage to keep hold of one bit so that’s a bonus. We also have a number of people ill on the boat either through seasickness or a very pleasant bug. There is one legger who has not risen from his bunk other than to eat a bit at meal times and crawl back in (illness or something else I’m not sure?). Each watch is becoming slightly repetitive – struggle out of bunk, put on as many clothes as possible (some damp), clamber through the saloon to the wet locker, put on wet outer layer, negotiate everyone else in wet kit, clamber up on deck unable to see much past the baseball cap and hood you are wearing, grab a few knees on the way past as you work yourself to a damp space on deck and clip on your safety line, providing nothing goes wrong; sit there for 4 or 6 hours in the wind and sea spray/waves getting wetter and wetter, come off deck and reverse the whole process. Oh, let’s not forget to add, that due to the winds we have we cannot go in the desired direction (lots of East and a bit of South from Rio to Cape Town, so we have to do quite a bit of north and some west with a few bits of what we would like now and again – it takes demoralising to a new level. I sometimes wonder if the skipper made the right route choice as we appear to be last again, but with no passage planning experience, who am I to criticise.
So, there you have it the joys oh the big adventure – yet again I ask myself, which books I have read by any adventurers painted a clear picture of reality? The Clipper brochure certainly painted a different picture – this was supposed to be a downwind sail all the way in sunshine!
And the silver lining… the rain water washes the salt from the oilies, our watch is getting better at singing Christmas carols to keep us amused, there are a lot more sea birds in the south Atlantic than the north (we still call them all Albatross because we all too stupid to know any breeds and don’t want to get the ‘big one’ wrong when he comes by, I have a favourite though – a little black and white fellow who looks a bit like a small flying penguin!) and I’m learning patience and tongue biting.
So, thanks again for the sponsorship and the opportunity for me to have a little rant – I feel a bit better now. Once more into the breach…