Hello intrepid armchair sailors!
Herewith some news from me. It my be somewhat discombobulated as I’m currently working off 1 hour’s sleep in the last 24 so please bear with…
Noteworthy news to start things off:
We have run out of gas. Which means no more cooking of meals, no bread baked nor tea/coffee unless you like it cold. As this boat runs on hot drinks and snacks, there is some obvious consternation. At least we have enough snacks to keep us going for the next day or two! Mothering shifts have become an exercise in how to combine cold food in a palatable way. On today’s menu is tinned chicken mayo and ritz crackers for lunch.
Dinner is going to be corned beef with pickle and some wedges of cheese. Yum yum. Thank god we’re in port soon or we may start burning kit to get some hot food in us! (Ps – we have not quite worked out how this happened. We should have had plenty. We have ruled out leaks and are leaning towards someone not filling them properly. There will be some hard questions asked in Sydney….we’re lucky we’ve only a day and a half left. Had this been a 5 week trip….it hardly bears thinking about. Raw eggs and milk anyone?)
So we had a lovely run of beam reaches coming up to and round Tasmania. Made the first two day’s beating a lovely distant memory. Then 36 hours ago the wind shifted and steadily increased. Our shift yesterday was a busy one putting reefs into the mainsail and hoisting and dropping various sizes of headsails.
True as god, at 20 minutes to watch change, it became necessary to completely downgrade our headsail to the smallest and toughest. I volunteered for the bow work (duh). I love being up on the bouncy, splashy end at the best of times but last night took the biscuit. We needed 6 people to get the sail down (my job to pull it down and flake it – fold it at the very edge – so that it didn’t fly off in the 40kt winds.
Also to take the fastenings (hanks) off and get the new ones on) and all the while massive waves were smashing into the bow as we bounced maybe 10-15 feet up and down. I did not have my full foulies on because the day had been lovely and sunny. Suffice to say I looked like a drowned rat when we finished.
Ah well, I had planned to change my pants today anyway. Got to it early. Lots of concern for my welfare by the rest of the crew which confused me until I realised it must have looked quite scary from the back of the boat…But I bloody loved every second of it! It’s like trying to do crossfit on a rollercoaster combined with a log flume. Happy days.
– Bloody wind holes:
We went from screaming along last night and this morning to sitting in dead wind within about 15 minutes. We had hoped to get in tonight/early tomorrow but if this keeps up, it’ll be a while still. That cold beer and shower will have to wait. Harrumph.
Last leg, I was quite lucky. I had the bottom bunk right at the back on the port side. Even at 45 degrees it’s easy to get into and hoik up for a comfy snooze. It’s quiet and cosy. This time, I have the top bunk immediately to the right as you come into the accommodations. There are no footholds or anything to climb on. Essentially, at an angle, you have to climb the wall and launch yourself in. So yes, literally climbing the walls. And doing a flying squirrel impression. It’s also sodding noisy as you hear everything happening between the deck and galley plus it’s the main thoroughfare for the nav station.
– Dolphinus Phosphorescencis:
Ok so the other day we were treated to quite the display of acrobatics from a pod of what must have been 50+ dolphins…and their babies!! So special. And then that night one little guy came back and was crisscrossing our path for about 20minutes. What was particularly beautiful about this was that his/her movement through the water painted her a bright green under the water – you could trace every flick of her tail – and she left a trailing green wake. She looked like a torpedo flying through the water. Amazing!
– Any other business:
I’m sure there was more but I’ll be buggered if I can remember what it was. So on to reflections…
Someone in the Clipper office told me that “crossing an ocean changes you” and I thought of it all starry eyed and expecting some sort of epiphany. That is not what has happened. Maybe it will by the end but for now I still like feel myself and there has been no “aha” moment. What I have noticed are very subtle changes and shifts in both my character and my emotional responses to situations. I think all the therapy and mindfulness/meditation training I did before I left has helped me not only cope when things get tough but also to help me notice and reflect on the changes that are happening.
Ocean racing gives you the time to do that too…in between the moments of frantic activity of course 🙂
Probably the most notable is my lack of hand-wringing if I upset someone. I mean, I don’t go out of my way to do it but as an example, if someone’s not happy with the way I cool a rope then frankly, they can suck it. Or do it themselves. If I make a mistake, i don’t agonise over it and get upset with myself, I fix it and it’s fixed.
I used to agonise over making other people happy…even to my own detriment. When you’re in survival mode, that becomes less of a consideration and leaks over into your normal existence I think. So…I will continue to be the cheery me and if my optimism annoys some…we’ll look away, son.
I’ve also had a lot of time to consider the purpose and direction of my life. I have no real solid answers yet but what I do know is that I want it to be guided by love. Love for what I do and the people I live and work with. I think that’s been a big part of my life anyway but I have been distracted by trivial things that do not really matter. Anyway. This is probably the subject of another blog and so will have to wait. Because I’m sodding tired and I still have to plan our deep clean. And “cook” lunch.
Until next time, party peeps: have a shower and a glass or three of wine for me.
Love and hugs
Shona is being supported on her Clipper 17/18 adventure by the campaign and social media marketing team at Goodman Fox, a digital marketing agency based in Buckinghamshire