Bob

Well – at least it was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining and there was hardly a cloud in the sky. What will today bring one asks oneself?

After the usual 7.15am breakfast, we started the morning with a “tack a thon”. After I had put the Yankee Sail on the very front of the boat, climbing up on the guard rail and having to lean forward as there was only water behind me. Scary! Then I had to climb down into the lazarette – a little room below deck at the back of the boat – (also very hard) and get a bucket and stirrup pump – then had to use it to get a foot of water out of the galley bilge. Sweating before we even got out of the berth! There were ten positions, and we had to move to a new position after every two tacks (change of direction). There was only a small breeze out, so that made it very much easier. Some jobs were easier, and some physically harder. I was beginning to think that I wouldn’t want to get stuck on a round the world boat with someone like me.

The hierarchy must have been talking last night, and decided that they didn’t want to see £45k walking, so they were a bit more lenient with me today. Or maybe I was getting used to doing the things that needed doing. Or maybe a bit of both.

We had lunch on deck in the sunshine – this was good. And then we did a man overboard so the two front sails had to come down, The only problem with that was that they had to go back up again. “Sweating” is one of the jobs that, through winches, the sails are pulled up the poles. That is a really, really hard job. One I have done about three times now, and that one doesn’t get any easier. It is a two person job, and again, I pity the person that gets to do it with unstrong me. I still haven’t landed the job of going up the mast yet – oh boy, am I looking forward to that one!

A few more tacks and gybes, and it is my turn on dinner duty. I am paired with Rick, an American from Virginia who is very pleasant and polite. But doesn’t know one side of the kitchen (or the galley) from the other. At last – something that I am better at than someone else! The menu is pre planned, so we are making sausages and mash. Two bags of potatoes, one cauliflower, two broccolis, one bag of carrots and three packs of sausages later we had finished the prep. Never will I comment about kitchens again. This one has room for one person between the cooker and the sink, and you can brace yourself against one whilst using the other when the boat decides to go full steam ahead at a 90 degree angle. Looking from above, it is probably like peeling potatoes laying down, about a foot above the floor, wedged in between two objects to stop yourself from going flat on your face. Hmm….. It was very hot in there, and I hate to admit I did feel a little woosy. I had to go up for some air, just in time for another man overboard drill. I do choose my moments. Another person had to be hoisted over the side to get the “casualty” – it will be my turn one day in the not too distant future I feel!

Back down to see how dinner was going, and it seems we have ran out of gas. Everything had turned itself off. Thankfully, the job of changing the gas bottles didn’t involve me, as it involved hanging through a hatch. Back on, and dinner was back on track. This was cooking for thirteen people – twenty two on the actual race boat. How many potatoes would that involve??

By ten o’clock we had finished dinner, and I was ready for my bunk. Pyjamas just went over the clothes today. Not sure I am even going to bother with pyjamas in the future!

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