Cabin Fever!

Hey ma!

Pain is much better thanks but I’m getting cabin fever.  Sea state is such
that it is not sensible for me to try to get up the companion way onto deck.
I lie in my bunk watching the water weave its way over the hatch, down the companion way and into the bilges usually via an unsuspecting victim stood in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I’m not sure I will ever get bored of someone who has spent hours trying to stay dry on deck get a soaking in their pants.  So much for champagne sailing.  As I type it is peeing with rain and my watch are starting the evolution to change down from a yankee 2 to a yankee 3, something I’d normally be waist deep in water for.  Our first use of that sail in this race.  The wind must be steadily north of 30kts. It seems the wind hole that we were expecting may have moved inland.

I took a stroll down to the nav station last night richocheting of the bunks
en route (my technique is no different to everyone else’s).  I saw what
looked like a greg shaped shoe sticking out of it so seized the opportunity
to familiarise myself with where we were.  It seems like we’re in the middle of the pack holding close to the rhumb line.  A tactic that has worked for us in the past.  We’re chewing through the mileage with 930- ish miles to go as I type.  I think things will slow as we draw closer to Airlie as we have the small matter of a reef (great barrieR) and some islands to negotiate. As things stand I may get an extra cocktail on my sun lounger.

Greg is taking a more sidelined approach for this race in the hopes in
kickstarts everyone’s competitive energy and enthusiasm for following legs. Something has to change. I had to bite my tongue on race start when starfish spoke of what a relaxed and enjoyable start it was…WE WERE LAST!!!  When things aren’t going well everyone has their 2 pence worth although we’ve not yet had a happy hour for that to be publicly aired.

Happiness in my parallel world is remembering that on boat prep day you
bought one too many ice-creams.  I had to plan my mission to the freezer
meticulously and prepare myself for the potential disappointment of finding no ice cream nestled between the beef chunks and vegetarian sausages.  I waited for the end of dinner time when most had taken to their bunks and pounced in darkness. IT WAS THERE! Beats morphine tablets any day!

I started to write my land to-do list yesterday. I shan’t do that again for
a while.  I’m in the Pacific, who cares about the car’s MOT! Can’t wait to
see you ma and J&G&E&K&D.  Its going to be a massive family frenzy when I get home in time for our January Christmas. Presents are on the to-do list that I refuse to write let alone action! 😉

Lots of love to all xxx

Cabin Fever!

Popping pills

Hi!

Turns out that life at a good heel in choppy seas CAN be more uncomfortable than previously experienced.  And there was me
thinking I was a tough cookie, well times have changed or I have met my match with broken ribs.  Hard to believe I raced Cowes Week with a broken leg.

I was up on deck for race start dragging myself across the deck with as much enthusiasm as I could muster.  After we had crossed the line in a rather upsetting last place and the sea state started to build I retreated downstairs for a quick 1 hour nap before my official watch started.  2.5 days later I am still down below catching up on sleep and popping pills.  Quite the boat druggie.  In my brief spell on deck it was desperately frustrating not being able to lend a useful hand but I simply had no choice.  A couple of times I found myself easing lines but that was/is really my limit.  We had a brief spell with a kite but the majority of the time we have been under white sails which helps to take the pressure off the crew a bit who are light handed to say the least. Much to the frustration of others and to my complete delight the wind is due to drop to nothing in 24-35 hours mid ocean sprint.

The crew are being very understanding, some more so than others.  Until today I have not even been able to attend to my role as chief confectioner (along with senior sail tie manager, global head of Missi enthusiasm and head of sympathy absorption).  I have now located Port Watch’s maltesers, tim tams and skittles and will administer shortly in an excessive dose.

I have booked accomodation that is worth waiting for in Airlie Beach.  There is a sun lounger with my name on right next to the Marina so that I can get maximum rest before heading home (oh Jesus I’m not ready to say things like that).

Please be very clear that whilst I hurt I am still enjoying myself.  There is one HUGE perk… my hair is down and knot free!!!

Love and peace to all (this morphine is good!) xxxx

Popping pills

The final run

The beginning of the end is here! Tomorrow morning we leave for the beautiful beaches of The Whitsundays, Queensland.

A metal bar tried to stand in my way but with a brave pill and a few tabs of morphine I’m off.

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Sadly I won’t be occupying my usual office but will be doing all I can in my little way to help the crew.

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Fingers and toes crossed for a smoothe passage, a run would be nice, otherwise it’s going to be painful.

xXx

The final run

some admin

Ok, so with my track record some may say it was a matter of time. I personally prefer ‘it goes with the territory’.

As most of you will know I trained hard to be strong for this race. It did the trick as I made my way to the centre of the action on the bow. It is therefore Sod’s law that I got injured doing the bloody bilges down below!!!

The picture tells you all you need to know…at least 2 broken ribs.

 

When I heard that my pressing concern was whether I could sail again but that has been superseded by the fact I can’t drink on the medication. It’s New Year’s Eve, I’m in the party capital of the world (who knew!) and I’ve just completed the Sydney Hobart!!

 

…and yes I’m signed of for light duties to the Whitsundays. The most expensive taxi ride of my life.

image

 

some admin

What a welcome!

The warriors have just been blown away by their Hobart welcome. Thousands of people lining the quay, beer in hand whooping and cheering every boat that passes by. Quite a standing ovation. Thank you!

The race itself had so many phases; the start, the storm, the still bass straight and the kite ride home and super-close finish. It was a dream of mine and now I completely appreciate why. An epic adventure that neatly summarised all 10,000 plus miles to get here.

Now for the party. 2 crates of beer in return for our personal EPIRBs. I’ve nipped off to do some admin in the form of a trip to a & e but given I’m a lightweight I can easily join in on my return. My only worry, the precarious ladder down to the boat. Still, probably easier to negotiate after a bit of Dutch courage and pain relief.

 

What a welcome!

Sunrise over Tasmania

It’s our last day of this race with less than 100 miles to go. The question I have it whether this is my last day of this two year adventure. Writing that makes me quite sad. I’m still convinced that my ribs aren’t broken given I’m pretty mobile and can breathe deeply but an X-ray later today will confirm. Greg has made it quite clear that if they are, unlike Barry, I won’t be able to continue. Just in case, I have now cancelled my accommodation in the Whitsundays as I can do without any unnecessary expense.

I went up on deck again this morning to see the stunning rugged coastline of Tasmania lit in the pink hues of the sunrise. You question why we’ve raced 700 miles when peppered all around is the clipper fleet! I couldn’t help but beam a smile from ear to ear. We’re so lucky and privileged to witness this.

The fleet seem to be doing 10-12 kts under their code 1s heading direct to the waypoint due south just before the right turn towards Hobart. We’ve made a couple of overtaking manoeuvres in the night (I heard a gentle dig at UNICEF) so I think we’re now in 3rd or 4th.

I’m struggling to stay awake, I managed 4-5 hours throughout yesterday, but when I am I’m catching up on kindle time. It’s nice to have been able to make it past chapter 2 and there’s no one quite like sir ranulph fiennes to make you feel like a complete wuss! I have also assumed the role of confectioner supplying the watch with an array of sweets and chocolates. At one point I passed up a box of dried fruit feeling quite guilty about their diet…it was poo pooed!

Sunrise over Tasmania

200 miles to Hobart

I am making a steady improvement which is great.  Don’t think I’ll be going on deck today though as we are heeling and its that bit harder getting around.  As time passes I’m increasingly convinced that I have just bruised myself although no visible signs (as usual!).  I can see through the ventilation window next to my bunk that there is gorgeous blue sky and a decent breeze.  Slightly deceptive because full foulies still required.  The Bass Straight is proving to be a beautiful place this time around.  Ironic that the wind is due to come around to the north for our third crossing of it so once again we’ll be beating into wind!!  What is going on with the weather this year!??!  In the night they dropped the code 1, raised the code 2 (via the yankee rather than a peel) and are now flying the yankee 1. Technically we should be on the 2 but we’re pushing the sails as hard as possible.  We are trailing Visit Seattle and Telemed having caught them in the night.  With 200 miles to go there is still time to claw back the podium.

xxx

200 miles to Hobart

The Big Man

The big man (whoever he may be) is doing me a huge favour.  No wind and
calm waters in the Bass Straight are making for quick heeling.   made it up
on deck for the last 1 hour of my watch late yesterday which was a little
victory in the sunshine.  I wasn’t there for work, I’m not allowed nor
could I, just the company and change of scenery.  Turns outs I was useful
though as I noticed the spinnaker sheet was wrapped around the guard rail
just prior to hoist and Sally understandably couldn’t man the cockpit
alone. That was me done though.  Back to bed for a snooze. Sadly due to
light airs and a heavy boat we are slipping a few places nut it remains ver
close.  We must be in an ok place as we are ‘next to’ Wild Rose, a previous
winner under the Wild Oats banner. Still dreaming of my new years day run and you never know, it may happen. Providing of course that we make it to land in time…  Just gybed and speed is slowing picking up.

I’ll be one of the few sailors well rested fr NYE..always a silver lining!

Love from a fast improving wannabe sailor xxx

The Big Man