A Silver Lining

Saturday 28 September 2013
CATEGORY: Expedition
TAGS: Sailing

A silver lining to our suffering? Since yesterday afternoon southwesterly
winds have started blowing, which has allowed us to steadily increase
boatspeed. From a mere 1-2kts we are improving to 5-6kts, however still
interrupted by violent squalls which let the boat literally figure of 8 for
a few hours with zero progress.
Its still uncomfortably hot – the thermometer in the Nav station recorded
39 degrees yesterday – and the water rationing does not help. I don’t seem
to have too much troubles with keeping proper household with my allowance
of 2 liters per day , so far always ending up with leftovers at the end of
the day. But some fellow crew members clearly are struggling with scarce
liquids. For my part, I am mostly battling with the heat, which makes it
practically impossible to sleep. Even if you manage to get some sleep, its
usually full of feverish dreams (the one about wooling the Spinnaker is my
recurring nightmare) and upon wake up I feel more tired and exhausted then
before. Alyson has recently branded our living quarter “The Furnace”.
Whoever designed these boats clearly didn’t think how they should be cooled
– latest rumor is that Clipper had actually fans designed into the boat,
but then left them out due to cost cutting πŸ™ I have now quartered myself
into the forward sail locker – lying between sailbags provides for better
quality sleep, as the hatch allows for fresh air to flow down.
In order to conserve energy and prevent overheating, Vicky allowed us to
put up our suncover for the deck and take off lifejackets as long as we are
in the cockpit. Frequent bucket showers of saltwater provide the best way
of cooling off (see picture).
Yesterday evening we celebrated the 2000miles mark on our way to Rio– our
first deck party. Dress code was a part of the boat (I dressed up with a
winch handle) and we had a few rounds of carrot cake (excellently prepared
by Roser using Yam instead of carrots, which we have run out of about a
week ago), sadly no GT or cold beers, these still have to wait until Rio.
The evening took a funny twist, when the wind blew Karina’s hat overboard –
the hat being the funnel we use for pouring our water cans, a highly
critical item. A Man over Board maneuver was called – a chance to rehearse
our technique. Just as we lowered Gordon into the water to pick up the
funnel a group of dolphins appeared out of the water and starting playing
with it!! Too hard to believe! Eventually we recovered it and it is now
forbidden to be used as a party decoration.
Our race has turned into a matchrace with Team Garmin, Mission Performance
and Invest Africa. These four boats currently occupy the last four spots in
the race and unless a massive change of fortune happens, will also be on
these places in Rio. The leading boats seem to be already exiting the
Doldrums today, and the much stronger trade winds they have now will mean
its unlikely we ever can catch up. The biggest surprise has been Jamaica.
Just six days ago we were racing them towards the Doldrums, eventually
overtaking them as they steered off into an easterly course. This proved to
be a Phyrric victory as Jamaica went further east then any other boat –
almost to the shores of Africa. Despite sailing a much longer route than
us, the much better winds they found let them to overtake the whole fleet
and have now taken the lead in the race to Rio. A salute to Sneaky Pete,
their skipper.
Again our skipper Vicky has decided to stay on a more conservative route,
following the shortest route to Rio. She doesn’t really seem to care about
the progress of the race and so far has been hiding her competitive side
pretty well – quite a disappointment for a racing skipper and also more and
more a frustration for myself. Some fellow crew members, in particular
“leggers”like me (people that only do the race to Rio and don’t sail around
the world), are getting upset with our cruising style….
Today I am mother (yet) again – hopefully the last time in this race. I got
up at 2am to bake about 3kg of bread for our horde of hungry sailors.
Serving food is getting more and more a motivation exercise as well, as
more and more ingredients are running. Today was the first day without jams
– so only Butter or Marmite with the bread – what a choice! Thankfully they
don’t know yet whats for lunch: Baked Beans and Hot Dog (out of the can) –
clearly gourmet style cooking on board πŸ™‚

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