The champagne sailing around the Australian coast has arrived at last –
minus the champagne of course.  It is now absolutely boiling hot, and very
very sweaty.  There just doesn’t seem to be anything inbetween. That would
be too easy!!

We are at present off the coast of Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.  We
have dropped back quite significantly in the rankings, after leading for
most of the first few days.  As, in the words of Wendo, she dropped the
ball and made a couple of bad calls re gybing or not gybing.  That’s life.
We haven’t finished yet.

The weather significantly improved as from the afternoon shift yesterday,
when the shorts and tee shirts finally made another appearance.  Not only
that, Amanda appeared for the first time since leaving Hobart from her
bunk.  She has been struck with sea sickness for the first four or five
days at the start of every race.  Unfortunately for her, this particular
leg has had three starts – so three lots of five days in bed.  This is the
second of her two legs – I think she is quite pleased that she hasn’t got
to endure another one.
Several others were also sea sick at the beginning – including me.  Luckily, every time I needed to be sick there was a receptacle handy to throw up in.  Once in the rubbish bin, once when I was serving porridge and I grabbed a bin bag (sorry for all those that were having breakfast!) and once when I was cleaning the toilets.  Perfect place!!  But it was only a brief moment every time – nothing debilitating. Anyway, we have a full crew again now.

The sun does seem to put a whole new perspective on going up “over the
trenches” as it sometimes seems when the weather is doing its worst and I
come up the stairs to go on deck.  I always think of the Blackadder episode
when I stick my head up, and think of the trenches in World War One.  Not a
real comparison, but I somehow think the feeling of dread may be similar.

I would like to thank everyone who voted for Danang in the Stormhoek Social
Spirit Award once again – it is a real honour taking the prize as we have
done for the second time in a row.  This time, however, my request would be
for you to vote for Mission Performance.  They answered a mayday signal
from a yacht with someone stuck up the mast.  It was on a delivery back
from a boat race (not the Sydney/Hobart) which means that there are only
one or two professional crew on board, with others that need to get “sea
miles”.  Mission did a person to person transfer with one of their round
the worlders, who went up the mast and helped to get the man down.  A truly
heroic act by both the skipper who made the call, and all the crew that
helped.  They deserve everyone’s vote this time.  But you can go back to
voting for Danang next time!

So, the sun was up and out at 6am for our shift this morning.  We came out
to seeing Qingdhao about one hundred feet in front of us.  We overtook them
quite quickly, and set off for Garmin who was next in line.  There were
about six boats all around us – amazing after over a thousand miles that we
are all so close.  Except the two that had stayed well offshore, and are
well in the lead.  About three hours later we gybed, and came so close to
Qingdao we could have passed over a cup of tea.  Everyone waved – it is a
very friendly race.  We just need to keep making the right decisions, and
get back to the front.  Now we know that we can do it.

Back to the frivolity.  If you remember in the last leg, Sergej won £100
for our crew fund for having the best photograph.  It was a fantastic
photograph, and very well deserved.  Anyway, there has been a debate as to
what we are going to spend the money on.  We had already purchased a bilge
pump that we had not allowed for, so it was suggested that we put it
towards this.  We also thought that we could use a steam cleaner for the
mattresses, so there was a list up that we could choose one or the other.
Not everyone voted, but Wendo decided that she didn’t want either of those,
and added her own choice.  A male stripper, preferably a fireman.  Valerie
checked the accounts when we were in Sydney, and announced today that we
could afford the bilge pump, and Michael had purchased a steam cleaner and
donated it, so we still had the money to spend.

So, the stripper issue came up again.  Previously, David had suggested that
he may be available for £100.  He often wanders from his bunk to the toilet
in nothing more than a tee shirt and budgie smugglers, with Ugg slippers
completing the outfit.  He decided to “try out” round the companionway
pole, and gave us a leg kick as he went into the toilet.
david graney

Anyway, at lunch today Wendo had a big grin on her face as the fact that the £100 was still available, and she asked for a vote.
She was the only one that raised her hand apart from David (ulterior motive), and Marc on the helm.  He reckoned he didn’t hear what he was voting for, but as it was a vote thought he had better put his hand up.  Wendo looked at him, and said they would have another vote for Marc to be the stripper, to which March innocently raised his hand again. He couldn’t understand why everyone was falling around laughing – until he was enlightened.

When we went downstairs, Wendo was sitting on the fridge by her bunk down by the nav station and Marc’s bunk is the next one along.  I was sitting at the crew pc (which is now working momentarily) when I heard Marc say “is this worth £100”.   It seems his backside was out of his shorts – but thankfully pointing Wendo’s way and not mine.  Not sure whether there was a sensible answer amongst the groans and the shouts.  Now that wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been over eighty degrees.

We have had a very delightful lunch of carrot, orange, apple and raisin
salad with a very delicious vinaigrette.  What could be better that sitting
on a yacht off the Gold Coast, in the sunshine, eating a beautiful lunch?
If only it was all like this……

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Bridget only has basic email facilities on the boat. Editing and the choice of images on this blog is entirely by Paul Keevil!
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