Starry, starry nights… Just perfect for some romantic speed dating! The diamonds in the sky were too good an opportunity for Flav to miss as he set out on his romantic evening of finding the best partner. We were all given a full half an hour alone (well at least 8 feet from someone else, we only have 68 feet to play with after all) with him. Just us, him and… the coffee grinder! He made his way through our full watch (what a tart!) before retiring to the nav station, where I’m sure he was secretly deciding who had the best banter between puffing and panting while grinding. [Quick pause in blog writing – I’ve just been brought a piece of Baz’s freshly buttered home made fruit loaf. Yummy, the butter is melting right through it and it has chunky fruit pieces to boot, a real treat from the galley and a huge effort on such a hot day – thanks Baz. Back to the blog;] The reason for the speed dating? We had overtaken New York in the afternoon and had Qingdao in our sights less than 2 miles away. Two people on the grinder and in high gear meant we could trim faster and get more speed from the boat. As usual Flav’s commitment, focus and desire to do well manifested in him getting stuck in with the rest of us, taking more than his fair share of physical effort and leading by example. He drives our standards higher and higher. The result… we overtook Quingdao and have been playing cat and mouse with them ever since. Each time they gybe or we do, we cross paths, one taking the lead over the other for a short period of time and creating cause for celebration or frustration. Right now, in very light airs we are frustrated as they are 5 miles ahead of us but our speed is better. We are eeking everything we can from a very unhappy spinnaker and flogging main. It’s patience testing, especially in the heat but worth it when we see our higher boat speed on the AIS.

The light airs have persisted for days now. We spend a lot of time watching our wind angle and waiting for the right time to gybe. Somehow this always seems to happen at night and we usually have the pleasure of gybing at least twice in the dark. Sometimes we even get part way through a gybe and the wind changes again and we have to gybe back – what fun. I am now so well versed in the snake pit with the process of gybing (don’t forget now, we have one winch less in there due to the crash gybe when the spinnaker wrapped!) that I could almost co-ordinate the winch loading, jammer opening, easing, grinding and jammer closing in my sleep. For the rest of the routine of the gybe (if only it was the Jive, I’ve always fancied being on ‘Strictly’) Flav runs around making sure that everything is co-ordinated, attaches lines to the spinnaker clew and hoisting the inboard end of the pole (I wonder if this is making any sense to the non-boaty people?, probably not – sorry). Shaggy runs the guy and retrieving line and helps Flav. Trinngg and George alternate between helm and bow end of the pole leaving Panda (Anne), Holly, Paul and Bernard (Niamh) alternating between guy, sheet and grinder.

Before I go back on deck I will share with you a little embarrassing moment: Just before my turn speed dating with Flav, which of course I was very excited about and had thought up some good questions for. I was moving from trimming the spinnaker (holding the rope of joy, looking up for half an hour shouting ‘ease’, ‘grind’ to your hamsters on the coffee grinder) to the grinder, it was 12.30am so dark on deck and starry overhead. When, feeling a little light headed (was it the looking up or the prospect of my date, I’m not sure?) I stumbled and placed my entire left leg up to the very top of my thigh, down the galley hatch! The only thing that stopped me from falling straight through (subsequently I have debated whether or not I would have fallen through all the way or become wedged at the hips? I think if I was to go through on the diagonal I’d make it!) was dropping my ass to the deck. What a predicament – nothing to see here, nothing to see, as I pulled myself out of the hatch (try doing that in a gainly manner) pretending that it was an every day occurrence. Demonstrating nonchalance (don’t people do this every time they move from there to here?) I walked over to the grinder claiming to be ‘fine, just fine’ while knowing that I’d done quite a bit of soft tissue damage and that I was going to have the most almighty bruise. About 36 hours has now passed and I do indeed have the most prize winning purple bruise right across the back of my thigh just about in line with my shorts. Good job too as it hurt so much I’m pleased to have something to show for it, had I not come out in a big bruise I would have been getting the crayons out to ensure it looked as bad as it felt. Bernard (who is our on board medic, she’s a paramedic in real life) has since told me that she has a book that she writes down all injuries/illnesses in, I’ve re-christened this the idiot book and have made it in there with my hatch gymnastics, fame at last!

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1 Response to SPEED DATING

  1. SRW says:

    HaHa !! Funny woman….I think we’ve all had our own fair share of “whoopsie” moments where for just a second, you think to yourself “Can I get away with it or is the jig already up?”
    Love the blog entries. Keep ’em up !!

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