The Twelve Days of Christmas!

I think one 24 hour period makes for tough times on the boat, two becomes a chore and three, well that’s just taking the piss!  It has been a brutal few days with the strongest weather (when you take into account the sea state and the fact we’re going upwind) we’ve had on the race so far.  If you remember out of Cape Town we had a storm for a few hours that my brother mentioned had uprooted trees?  This is the same but days not hours.  When I was unhanking the storm jib in the early hours I was amused to see that one of the hanks had bent almost 90 degrees! Anyway, enough about that.  Unlike Cape Town, there has been no fear just perseverance, strength and where possible enjoyment.  As we are the furthest south we have been (and are likely to go) in the race it is cold too which makes for long night watches.  Thankfully Christmas carols have helped pass the time and we may make use of the cameraman onboard to come up with our own twelve days of Christmas (a Greg Miller on the helm, 2 watch leaders, 3 maids are milking [the reefing pennants], 4 grinders grinding, 5 seal skin socks, 6 bowmen bobbing, 7 ladies lunching, 8 round the worlders, 9 leggers leaping and so on…)!

Today is ‘mother’ again for me.  The watch leaders asked if I would stay on
deck and skip the shift but my muscles are grateful of the rest, my clothes
the opportunity to dry (haha), me the opportunity to sleep.  I can
understand why though as today is likely to mark the first use of the
spinnaker this leg as the wind has started coming around and that will be
tough for a crew with little kite experience.  In fact, while on this subject
I think that it will be hard to crawl back from 4th now.  We have dropped
south of the rhum line and the wind has already allowed the first three to
raise their kites meaning that they’ll not only be pulling away but we’ll
have greater distance to make up.  The race isn’t over yet and we’re not
going to hand it to them so watch this space!!

Exciting that we may pass Tasmania as soon as tomorrow.  It will be an
imaginary waypoint as we are too far off the coastline to see it. After that
is north and onto Sydney.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about that
arrival given I have always dreamt of sailing in that harbour since seeing
the start of the Sydney-Hobart in 2001 with my brother.  The recent weather has meant that it may take longer than initially guestimated to get there so maybe another 5 days from now.  Doesn’t sound long when the last leg was 26 and conditions should improve from tomorrow.

Interesting that the more time I spend on here the more normal it becomes. Despite being dunked a foot or two under water on the bow multiple times my hair is giving me little grief.  My body is also coping better as I have been supplementing my diet with protein bars.  I was alarmed to see when I took my 4 layers off down to the skin (first time in daylight since Albany) that I have developed the start of a man-like vein protruding from my arm.  WTF.  Hands are looking worse than ever.  You know the pink bit that attaches the nail to the finger?  Mine is receding at a rate of knots so I may have mini nails for the rest of my life…  I laugh about it now! Salt blisters, swelling etc is there as a matter of course.

Richard and I are trying for the Delia award with our efforts today.
Home made poppy seed rolls for lunch and the chocolate brownie has just come out of the oven.  I hope any visitors to my home on land don’t get any ideas!

Anyway, best go.  As the wind has now dropped it is time to maximise life at a less severe angle.

Love to all.  xxx

The Twelve Days of Christmas!

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