An audience with Queen Neptuna

Thursday 3 October 2013
CATEGORY: Expedition
TAGS: Sailing

Seamen are a superstitious folk(who would otherwise forbid whistling as it
apparently causes storms!). Crossing the equator without a sacrifice to
King Neptune is therefore a big no-go! Hence Team Switzerland celebrated
its equator crossing in style. We counted down the minutes until the GPS
showed 0°00’00″N- then Skipper Vicky showered the crew in a bottle of
champagne (where did that one come from? I thought we had an alcohol free
boat 😉 and pored the rest of the bottle over our bow spread. We finally
have reached the southern hemisphere (however I cannot yet see any evidence
of water going down the toilet bowl the other way)!
The festivities continued a bit later with our Neptune party – the
initiation ritual for every sailor that crosses the equator the first time.
As only one crew member had done so before, it was clear who will be
Neptune. Mona was dressed up with Crown and Spear and as Queen Neptuna held
court on our deck. Every novice (in sailor lingo a pollywog) had to appear
before her. His sins were read and a baptism received, upon which the
sailor becomes a shellbag.
The baptism consisted of a mixture of Mayo, Ketchup and mustard that was
smeared into the novices face! For heavy sins a Wheatabix dunked in
Mustard had to be eaten… yummy! Indeed lots of fun and a welcome change
from the every day slog towards Rio. The news of our ETA being pushed back
towards 9th October wasnt really helping crew morale. Thankfully the
weather is starting to ease a bit as we go more south into spring, with the
nights getting more bearable.

Its upwind racing towards the Brazilian coast, and a lot depends on helming
– to make it more interesting I came up with a cunning plan. I would use
the board computers statistics to evaluate who is the best helmsperson on
the boat and hence create a top helm competition. Especially Paolo was very
enthusiastic about it tha plan! So guess what happens when a physics
professor and a wannabe statistician generate an Excel spreadsheet– well,
in short we created a model thats now so complicated that we don’t really
understand it ourselves, but the output it generates are very interesting.
It definitely started up a massive competition! The fact that “The Model”
determined that its two creators are the two worst performers caused a
round of laughter.
As we are about to enter the ocean sprint – a competition for additional 2
points in the Clipper race, I believe that the data on boat performance and
helming will be very useful. More on that shortly.

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