Today started at the usual 7.15am – but there was very little wind forecast today. So we started with three lectures on navigation, weather and rules of the road. Now we all know where we are going, what to wear and which side of the road to drive on!
After that was another exercise in port. The mast is approximately 90 feet tall, and at various points in time needs to be checked and / or repaired. The skipper was hoisted up in a harness to do the weekly check, and then we all had the chance to go up to look at the view. And obviously to see what it is like because we may need to be doing this on the race. Several went before me – all with very good instruction on how to get up safely and securely. Easy peasy. Until Mrs Bean came along. The first technical hitch came when my feet wouldn’t reach the ropes to guide my body up in an orderly manner. Not a problem – just hold on with my hands. The first few feet were fine – after that it got a bit of a mess! I had my foulies on – and so glad I did. The ropes were biting at the inside of my legs as I couldn’t reach with my feet to keep them off. Then came the stanchions – everyone else so gracefully lifted their right arm and leg over to continue on. Not sure how it happened, but my left boot seemed to get caught somewhere, and my body went on without it. I did shout to stop hauling – but my voice must have got lost in the wind. When my foot came out of my boot (and I am glad it did otherwise my foot might have come off!) I seemed to be very close to becoming upside down. The boot was stuck in the stanchion – must remember to pick it up on the way down. Various other objects seemed to get in my way and wallop some part of my anatomy that weren’t there when the others went up. Then when I got to the top those grinding me up from the bottom didn’t seem to notice, and I thought I was going to be sucked down the little rope hole. View was good though!
Going down must be easier than coming up – mustn’t it? Not really. I did hear a few shouts from below but no splash – my boot landed on the deck not in the water or on someone’s head. Saves me collecting that then! Then came the inner forestay that everyone else just glided by. Not me – I was on the wrong side of it, and it was like climbing Everest to haul myself over to the right side. Good god! I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!
Everyone was rolling around the deck with laughter when I eventually got back – this morning’s entertainment I think!
We then put out to sea – and we weren’t due to put back into port until Wednesday evening. We are going to sail until midnight, and then anchor off The Needles at the Isle of Wight. Well – that was the plan anyway. After we had been going for an hour or so, and got all the sails up, the skipper announced that Alex (the Russian) was not well and we needed to go back to Gosport so that he could be decamped to a doctor. So, sails down, engine on, and an hour backwards to Gosport. Alex left, and there was a mass exodus to the toilets. No-one likes to use the toilet on board then!
Fifteen minutes later we were setting out again, and then we had to put all the sails up again. Exhausting! Muscles are aching where I didn’t know there were any muscles. We were a good couple of hours behind schedule, so after a sail change (for practice – felt sure we didn’t need it!) we were sailing around to our home for the night. Well – quite slowly as the wind had virtually dropped completely. It got dark, and we then had to sail in the dark. Another few ups and downs for practice. My god – I am exhausted. By the time we had dropped the sails and got to the anchor point it was gone 1am. Way past my bed time! Then we had to be split up into watches for the night. Mine was from 6am to 8am. Oh goody – a whole four hours sleep!