Equator – here we come!

Monday 30 September 2013
CATEGORY: Expedition
TAGS: Sailing

Its fun sailing again, as we have finally hit the long expected trade
winds. Since yesterday morning steady southwesterly winds are supporting
our ride towards the equator and then hopefully onwards to Brazil. Its fun
upwind sailing and our life is tilted again πŸ™‚
The boat is permanently keeled over between 25 to 40 degree and that
impacts everything on board – bunks need to be adjusted to sleep
horizontally, moving around on the boat is more exhausting – not to speak
about the difficulty using the heads (toilets :-). Also buckets have made a
return, as a few crew members have yet again succumbed to sea sickness.
Knock on wood I have been spared that misery so far!
Last night I had the pleasure of taking the helm for two hours – its
amazing to sail the boat in these winds, as we rock over big waves with the
wind in your face! It feels like driving a Porsche Cabrio on a German
Autobahn – far away from every speed limit.
That feeling is a massive reward for the hardships that we have endured in
the last three weeks – Its unbelievable, but we are already 21 days out of
Brest. The clearest sign of our long journey is the shrinking variety in
our kitchen, the absence of fruits and snacks as well as the sweaty smell
of people that hadn’t had a shower in so long:)
During the last four hours we have taken a course correction, that should
now bring is in one straight tack straight towards the coast of Brazil – we
expect to hit it in about four days – Rio a few days afterwards. Sadly the
maneuver has cost us another few precious miles on Team Garmin, which are
still in ninth spot just ahead of us. Its very frustrating as a mere
48hours ago we could see them sailing ahead of us on the horizon, 6 miles
separating us. Shortly afterwards we hit a massive squall, our last test of
the doldrums, with no winds for a few hours. Garmin sailed around it and is
now 130miles ahead of us…. luck doesn’t seem to be with us on this
In about an hour my watch is back on deck – “Jaegerbomb”watch – our name
derives from a special incident in Brest, which involved way too many
drinks of a special mix (I might have had some dealings in ordering them
:). The Jaegerbombers are a good bunch – our watch leader is Jonathan – aka
“Dartagnan”, he is a student from France, who will do the whole journey
around the world and knows tons of about of sailing (and is a great
teacher). His biggest sufferings occur currently due to his distaste of
porridge and baked beans, two items on our menu plan that have become more
and more frequent in the last few days. There is also Antonio, aka the
“Italian Stallion”. As mentioned in one of my previous blogs he works with
me together on the bow. Its was funny to find out that we have common
friends in HK!!!
Professor Spectra, Paolo, our navigator is a Physics professor from Oxford.
Beside plotting our optimal course together with Skipper Vicky, he spends
most of his time with his obsession – sail trimming. Also on the watch, are
Lindsey and Greg, our two Vitellers. They are responsible for buying food
and supply for the ship and journey – too my shame I am making way too many
jokes about the stuff that has run out and the menu plan. Its by far the
toughest job on the boat, and not enough rewards can be given to them! They
are already working super busily on lists for the next race towards Cape
Town (I guess there will be more olive oil and kitchen roll on it this
Dave, a retired Pharmacologist from South England, is named Cookie (or the
Cookiemonster) as he is the first person to raid our snack box every night
watch. There is also Karina, nicknamed Rocky (due to a incident with a lazy
sheet, that left her with a blue eye), who is a never tiring bundle of
happiness. Marlis and Mona are completing the team. Marlis, German, works
in a motorcycle repair shop in Shoreditch– hence she knows everything about
the tools and repairs on board. Mona from Norway is sailing around the
world – she is actually the only person on our crew who has crossed the
Equator on a boat. More on that next time!
I have to admit that it is this diverse group of people, who I have been
sharing the last five weeks with that are the main reason that this trip is
special – there are quite some characters and everybody has an interesting
story to tell – too much for this blog.
As we race towards Rio we are doing our best to enjoy every mile of this

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