The day before the knock down.

We still have well over 1,000 miles to go.  The lead boats look as if they will make it a couple of days early. That sucks.  Everyone is beginning to feel the strain of this long, gruelling leg.  It has taken the spirit of most on the boat.  Out of seventeen on board, we counted today that only six do not carry an injury of some sort. I am one of those six.  Although a couple of days ago I managed to tweak a muscle in the back of my neck/shoulder.  Not debilitating, but quite painful at times and a dull ache at others.  But I do not feel it appropriate to add to the growing list of casualties – morale needs to be upheld!

Yesterday Marc and I were sitting on deck, (we have a very limited crew on deck at the moment as it is so cold, and we are doing minimal sail changes)  and he was showing me a very cheap pair of sunglasses he had purchased in Airlie Beach.  He has lost several expensive ones over the side, as well as an expensive pair of skiing goggles.  We were then both transported from where we were sitting, and washed as far as our tethers let us go. I actually felt that I was floating on the water, there was so much of it.  That is after Marc had got off me – I was one that gave him a soft landing!  Lo and behold – he still had hold of those cheap sunglasses.  That is the way to go in the future.

That did mean that my extremely damp clothes and boots were now extremely wet.  I could actually feel water in my knickers!  No amount of wet weather gear would have stopped all of that. Even those with dry suits were getting slightly wet, as most of the dry suits had seals go around the neck and sleeves.  Very dangerous if you were to fall in!

My bunk buddy was on mother duty, so it was technically her bunk for the night.  As that is the only bunk I can get in to, she very kindly moved herself on her last mother watch so that I could keep it.  She moved to the upstairs bunk.  This time, we were on the wrong tack for the upstairs bunk.  She had said if we gybed she would go there, but we didn’t.  So I said I would sleep on the sails.  I have done it before, and it wasn’t too bad. She was horrified, and insisted on sleeping in the top bunk.  I wouldn’t have any of it – that really isn’t fair.  Nobody else has to give up their bunk when they are on mother duty, so why should she.  I went for the first of the two night watches on the sail at the bottom of the companionway.  It was really cold.  I had my full foulies on, hat, balaclava, gloves and was still freezing.  Why didn’t I take up her offer?  At some point Wendo came and covered me with a blanket, and taped the seat lids down, as they had been known to pop off in bad weather.  When I woke up, I was soaked through.  Because I hadn’t taken off my outer gear, the inner gear didn’t get a chance to dry in my sleeping bag.  This was going from bad to worse – and I still had another shift to sleep.  And then we gybed – bugger!  After the next shift, I was advised to sleep on the other side, as it was slightly less cold.  And Wendo found me a yoga mat to lay on, as the sail there was wet as well. Didn’t make a lot of
difference.  It was still very cold and very wet.  It was one of the most uncomfortable nights I have ever had.  If she offers to go in the top bunk on her next mother watch, I am taking it!

Question:  How strong is the string on an Earl Grey teabag?  Answer: Extremely.  One was in the toss pot of food that we throw periodically over the side, and got caught on the guard rail.  We were taking bets as to how many minutes it would last for.  Bearing in mind we have had two inch ropes snap in the gusts we were experiencing, the tea bag held on for hours.  Until someone cut it off.  I think it would have lasted until Seattle.

David pointed out at one point how the ocean had turned into pools of colour – there were patches of turquoise and aquamarine all around.  No idea what they are, or how they just come to be randomly positioned in this great big ocean, but there they were. It was on one of the rare occasions that the sun was shining, so maybe that had something to do with it.  It didn’t last long – they aren’t there any more!  It was beginning to look a little
tropical – look that is, not feel.
Tropical doesn’t have minus temperatures.

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Part two to follow in 30 minutes.
Editing and the choice of images on this blog is entirely by Paul Keevil!

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