Washing up on this tiny boat is not the easiest of tasks. There are two
sinks – one bigger than the other. The big pan will go in one only. Fresh
water is at a premium, so all the washing up has to be done in salt water
(and phosphorescents I presume!). To wash up after twenty people have been
fed is a somewhat endless task – but necessary as some of the bowls and
cups have “disappeared” so we don’t even have enough to do everyone in one
sitting any more. I know of a couple of occasions when something has been
accidentally dropped over the side, so I assume Neptune has had his fair
share of our dinnerware!
When it is freezing cold in the kitchen – it is directly at the bottom of
the companionway hatch – the last thing you want to do is wash up in cold
water. But cold water it has to be. The only way to get hot water is to
boil a kettle on the gas, but no one wants to put salt water in the kettle!
I sometimes sneak a kettle full of boiling water into the washing up bowl
when no one is looking! At least my hands can warm up a bit then. And it
helps to get the things clean – but this is not everyone’s priority! Many
a night I will have a cup of coffee that smells like tea – obviously the
last drink to have been in the cup before mine. On a really bad night the
coffee will taste like minestrone soup!
We are getting to the stage where everyone shares cutlery and cups etc. If
a drink comes up on deck, four cups will accompany it, and you take as much
as you want and pass it along. Less washing up. Haven’t got to doing that
with dinner bowls yet, but you never know! No one has been ill yet, so the
hygiene can’t be doing us any harm. I have crossed my fingers when I said
The weather has actually taken a turn for the better today. The sun has
been shining and the spinnaker has made a return appearance. It has been
up for a good fifteen or so hours, and so far no wraps. It has withstood
my helming, so another reason to be thankful.
The gloves and hat, foulies and boots have dried out – things always seem so much better when the sun is shining. But not for long – there is a pretty bad weather front due to hit around 6pm tonight. Getting boring!
My foulies have withstood the battering they are getting remarkably well.
I had been advised not to get the ladies version, as the design was prone
to leakage. I took that advice (and Paul’s advice to get a large and not a
medium!) and that was the right decision.
Those that have ladies salopettes are reporting damp bottoms – and that leads to scabby bottoms! Mine have been water tight – as long as I take the care and attention needed to make sure all the seals have been done up correctly. Not always happening, as it takes ages to get dressed with several layers and I don’t want to be late for the shift start.
Some have bought very expensive dry suits, in a very becoming yellow. For
those on the bow of the boat, it seems a good purchase. It has kept them
dry from the constant crashing waves whilst hanking and unhanking sails.
But there are minus points. It takes absolutely ages to get on, and is
very difficult to get in to. The zip goes some way down your back, so you
need another pair of hands to help you get in and out of it. The feet are
sealed, so you have to put part of the dry suit in your boots. My boots
are designed to allow no water in (and they haven’t so far – Dubarry
Crosshavens I can recommend!). My foulies go inbetween the boot and the
gaitor, so any water that goes in the top is let out the valve at the
bottom and doesn’t go up my trouser leg. With the dry suit, there is
nothing to go inbetween the boot and gaitor, so the water would go straight
into the boot. No problem when you have the dry suit on, but the boot
would be wet if you didn’t wear it.
The other problem with them is that they are like a sealed unit. With two
of three sail changes people are beginning to overheat. Craig was ordered
twenty four hours bed rest by Harry (a doctor from South Africa who has
joined for this leg only) after almost collapsing with heat exhaustion and
throwing up over the side.
The dry suit was somewhat to blame, but for the most part it has been the relentless bad weather and hard sail changes this leg has delivered. Michael has done something to his back, so Dr Harry has been kept busy! He is now on a course of painkillers and reports seeing pink elephants on deck!! Michael, not Harry!
The wind that has been coming up from the Antarctic is reported to be a
lazy wind – it doesn’t bother to go round you, it goes straight through
you. I can attest to that! I am sure we have not seen the last of it,
although I cannot say I wouldn’t be glad if we had. We have now sailed
over 3,000 miles so far on this trip, although we still have 2,000 odd more
to go. Probably means we have been sailing a wobbly line! I hope the last
2,000 go faster per mile than the first 3,000. I would like to get to
Albany before we are due to leave again!!