Update Tuesday 6th February So it has been nearly a week since my last update…. As a result I could hardly move for the remainder of last week although it did start to settle down over the weekend.
Get home to work. Get out of chair. How on earth does that work? On a completely different note England Rugby had a great result on Sunday. Is this an omen for PSP? Now with a free reign to settle their course direction towards China it will be interesting to see if Matt determines to go it alone again. As I write the boat is on a heading of 4 degrees; so very nearly heading due north.
Santa are heading 24 degrees further west and more therefore closer to the rhumb line and Seattle are heading even further west on a course of degrees, 36 degrees further west than PSP.
With life on lean again the crew will be finding things hard work and Matt openly admitted yesterday how hard it is to do anything when the boat is heeled over in strong winds. I was explaining this to my Mum. If the boat is fairly flat it only takes a few seconds to move from one side of the galley to the other. Getting around our kitchen at home is a positive joy in comparison and especially as the fridge is stocked with wine and the cupboards have lots of other treats in them.
Fortunately Daren came up trumps and allowed me to use his email allowance to stay in touch with home. We take the ability to be in touch with loved ones as a given on land and out in the wide expanse of the ocean this simple pleasure of being able to keep in touch with home can make all the difference when you feel so far away and alone in the world.
Sending positive thoughts from the comfort of my comfy chair with a gin and tonic in hand. Also I need to send some money to the taxman today…. The Southern Ocean suddenly appears to have been a long time ago!
So Leg 5 has had a very slow start and the last thing everyone would have wanted is a wind hole. But PSP are wind hole specialists now and I know Matt and the team will have been making use of every sail to try to capture the smallest of breezes. The sail of choice will have been a Windseeker which is a light sail and has more chance of catching the slightest of breezes. Now there is some breeze and PSP are making better progress and more importantly no-one managed to catch a wind shift out of the wind hole to make any significant break away.
Could this be a new tactic Matt and Trevor will employ for this race? Matt and Trevor, one of the Coxswains and number 2 on the boat, will normally determine the tactics and route for the race. The race standings show Sanya taking a early lead, so no change there. Alternatively, we could be just a great sailing unit and the weight makes no difference…. I quite like that it sounds much more professional….
My original plan had always been to do two Legs, namely Legs 3 and 4, and I had always been comfortable with that and it was exactly the right way for me to approach my adventure.
The second Leg really helped me to consolidate on the experiences of the first Leg and build on these to get the most out of my experience. Plus, and this is a very big plus, my eldest daughter Rebecca will be having her first child in February, my first grandchild, and I have two businesses to run and whilst I feel very privileged to have had this opportunity and the special support of my wife, my family, my friends and my clients I actually want to be home now and get back to my life at home and my work.
Today the crews have made their final preparations and joined the boats for a taster race just off the coast to determine the start order for the beginning of the next Leg tomorrow.
Getting ready to join the boat normally starts a few days ahead of race start day. I would normally take my kit down to the boat over 2 days, just to make the bags more manageable to carry.
The bunks are allocated by Clive who acts as Team Coordinator. On my races I was fortunate to have a bunk to myself although from time to time because of illness I did share with others. On the boat the Skipper has his own bunk for the duration of the whole race. The Watch Leaders share a bunk on the opposite side to Matt and next to the navigation station. All your kit needs putting away in the cubby allocated to you. All my stuff was in dry bags which had been labelled up so I knew what was where.
But even with the best of planning some stuff inevitably goes missing. Having said that I only lost one pair of glasses in my 3 months on board.
Quite an achievement for me! The other challenge is inevitably water and some of the cubby lockers do get water in them and your stuff has a little swim. My credit cards went swimming for 2 days on Leg 3 but I did manage to dry them out and they still worked when we arrived in Australia. The only way to deal with this is to have enough dry bags to store kit in and to bail the lockers out regularly. For anyone interested in human nature then the boat environment is a great source of material.
You could easily write a comprehensive PHD paper if you wanted to as there is so much material to observe and gather on the boat. I remember it well. Race start will be at 2am UK time, noon in Australia. But my thoughts and hopes will be with all aboard PSP and I wish them fair winds and a safe passage for the race ahead…….
Time will tell but for now there is no harm in dreaming! Charitable donations You may recall that I am using this opportunity to raise some funds for charity. Thank you for your support. The guys on the previous watch have done a great job in keeping up the pace. As the dawn breaks we are treated to a lovely sunrise. The islands just off the coast are visible through a murky light. As the morning progresses Matt appears on deck.
Later I will find out that Sanya thought we were flying a larger spinnaker and decided to make a change to match our sail plan. Could we catch them in time if we can keep the pace up?? Well what an achievement. After a great race start we chose to head out into the ocean to hopefully catch some current to help push us northwards.
With wind on our nose most of the way and an elusive chase for the favoured current we went from top of the rankings to the bottom fairly quickly. But with perseverance and clean sailing and a final wind push from behind we once again proved just how fast our boat is. Somewhere in there if we can get the right mix of speed and route then there will be no stopping us. Another picture of me with a beer….
Update Monday 15th January Well finally it looks like the end of this leg and part 1 of Chasing the Albatross is in sight. We should be in tomorrow now as the wind has finally backed to give us a push. Last night we hit the eye of the storm and then the wind got up as the front passed over us from 8 knots or so the suddenly Lightening all around but mainly sheet lightening.
It went on for hours but when we came off after 4am it was settled. So very exciting, exhilarating and……wet!!! Got swamped on the bow several times and whilst the sea was warm the rain was cold! Have a spinnaker up today and with good winds at 25 knots we are having a final opportunity to surf the waves. It really is the most exhilarating thing about sailing and it puts the biggest smile on our faces. Imagine looking forward to that in January!!!!
Well this morning I managed my first injury. Several of us went forward and I went to the bow. The swell was quite strong and so the boat was rises on the waves and falling into the troughs behind.
I had wedged myself into the pulpit area when Mike suddenly called for me to get down. Unfortunately there was no where for me to go so it was just a case of holding on. As we hit the bottom of the trough I was thrown forward and bashed my head into the metal forestay which holds the sails on.
I caught my left cheek and forehead very hard. Fortunately no serious harm was done and I only suffered a mark on my cheek. On the race front we have Liverpool and Sanya in visual sight just ahead of us. The next 24 hrs are going to be a bit tense especially for those watching on the viewer. All to play for so could be an interesting night ahead.
I dont think skipper Matt is going to be getting much sleep. The PSP night stalkers are back on the prowl tonight for a final push! Update Sunday 14th January Today I thought to give an insight into how food is going on the boat. Lunches are particularly creative opportunities for our Mother Watch. Yesterday it was a choice of hot baked beans, cold baked beans or a mix of the two with frankfurter sausage and ryvita. Today it was surprise coronation chicken.
Potato salad, mixed with boiled egg and curry powder. The surprise was the chicken…. Not ideal in a hot galley. Fortunately I bought some Gatorade mix in Hobart to make up some juice from. All the fresh veg and fruit is gone now. Breakfast is essentially weetabix now.