Even an earlier start to the day today, as my anchor watch involved sleep, getting up and then going back to sleep again. My anchor watch was 12.30am to 1.30am. One from our crew, and one from Dan’s crew staggered, so I was on with Paul from 12.30am to 1am and then Gary from 1am to 1.30am. The moon was full and beautiful. We were anchored off Osborne Bay, as were the other six boats. Peace and tranquillity all around – for now! Because of the tide, we were now facing the opposite way to the way we had “parked” before I went to bed – that confused me slightly!
When I got up for the second time today it was raining and horrible – Great British weather! A good day to try out the foul weather gear. With all the grumbles coming from the ladies about their design, I was mighty glad I went back and got the male version. I also stuck with “large”. I wanted to order medium several months ago, thinking that my diet would have kicked in well and proper before race start, and large would be just too large. Paul persuaded me to stick with large – he knows me too well. The top is a smock variety this year, and quite difficult to get over the head as there is rubber seals at the bottom, top and at the end of each sleeve. The large size was perfect to wriggle in and out of. I have lost a little weight – but nowhere near the amount I had planned to. Same old, same old!
We had bacon rolls for breakfast – excellent start to the day. Or excellent second start to the day.
We have several manoeuvres we haven’t yet practised to get through this week, and the first was a transfer of goods from one boat to another. We received some homemade flapjacks in the flare box that was thrown over, so it was decided that we ought to send my Nanaimo bars in return. They only got a few! This transfer is used when one boat runs out of something, or one boat has a spare that another boat requires. Seemed to go quite well when we were both standing still and the water is calm!
We then did a couple of practice race starts – one Le Mans and one normal. The Le Mans involves the Clipper Committee Boat in the middle of a line of all the other boats, all going at the same speed with their engine on, and only the main sail up. At the end of the one minute warning the engines are turned off, and everyone who has to be behind the coffee grinders runs forward to get the head sails up. The first one Daniel decided to give the engine a little throttle before turning it off – this was noticed and we all had to do it again! No cheating allowed!!
We got away cleanly the second time, and we (that is the royal we) were quite quick at getting the sails up. Needless to say, the jobs involved here either required strength or speed so I was one the ones without a job. We then did a normal race start, having to go through two points after the gun had gone off. We did that one alright too.
We then did a Le Mans race start for real – the skippers had been given some race co-ordinates a few minutes earlier, and we were in a real race situation. We set off very well, and managed to lead at one point. Off to France!! One of the boats pulled out – we later heard that someone had spiked their hand and had to be taken back for medical treatment. Dangerous sport!!
We then started our watch system – 3 hours on 3 hours off during the night, and 4 hours on 4 hours off during the day. One watch would be lucky and get two lots of four hours sleep a day, and the other would get only one. But this would change day to day. We split into our respective teams at this point, and Team Wendy had the 6pm – 9pm watch to start with. We were sailing upwind from this point, and so the boat was heeling at a 45 degree angle constantly. At 9pm it was time to go below deck to get some sleep. Getting down from the deck was an issue, the ladder was not in a straight line with your body. Your body wanted to hang into thin air – not a good idea. Once you were down there, I then had to grab onto things to climb up to the side of the boat where I was sleeping. The life jacket and the smock came off – but the foulies and the boots were staying on. It was just too difficult – and this was just in the English Channel. Try as I might, I could not get into my bunk. Gary was passing, so I quite politely asked if he could unceremoniously make sure my body got in the bunk. He obliged! The bunk had to be tilted at quite an angle, and the lee-cloth pulled tight to stop me from falling out. Oh what joy! Brian had a top bunk that he couldn’t get into, so when I got out he got in. Team work!