Since Bridget has had to step back from the boat for medical reasons after our LLD (little lie down), she has asked a couple of us RTWs on the boat to take over and try to get a few blogs out about the continuing journey of Flo around the world. This is Valerie signing in to cover the first couple of days.

It’s Day 2 of Leg 7 on the boat and things are finally settling down into some sort of routine, after a fairly disjointed race start. Our departure from Seattle involved a lot of motoring up and down and I spent most of it down below trying to get everything stored away.  The victualling for this leg fell largely to Rowena and Chewie (who is back with a vengeance and on great form after his medical hiatus). They have done an amazing job, and I think everyone on the boat has a new-found respect for the amount of work that Bridget put into victualling so well for us all.
Rowena has already made very clear however that she will NOT be taking on the job again in New York. Eek!

I’ve always helped Bridge with the packing and stowage on the boat though, and since the boat was having various repairs done in a local shipyard for most of the stay, and since I was away in San Francisco for most of it, visiting family, it was left to the last day or so to get everything on board and properly packed. So I only got up on deck in the evening as we started our long overnight motor up Puget Sound and back out the Straight of San Juan de Fuca towards the North Pacific again.

Having a load of new crew on board is always quite weird for the first day or so, as people get to know each other a bit. We have a lot of new leggers on board this leg, plus a couple of people returning for more fun and games on the Good Ship Flo, and the boat is more crowded than usual, with 20 people. Along with Kat leaving the boat to go and fill in numbers for IchorCoal (who are very short-handed), we also lost Matt at the very last minute, as he agreed to temporarily transfer to IchorCoal as well, as a way of honouring the memory of his friend Sarah Young. This leaves my watch short of a bow person, so I am desperately trying to remember how to do things like plugging in and jibing kites, so I can try and fill in this role during Leg 7.
I am praying for good weather so conditions aren’t too bad up on the pointy end, and so far we have had a day of beautiful sunshine and great downwind breezes, which promises to continue for at least another 24 hours. All the boats are also bunched up pretty close together, with the exception of Teletubbies, so the racing is more fun since we can match ourselves directly against our competition.
It makes a nice change from the Le Mans start yesterday, where we spent a good 8 hours motoring up and down outside the entrance to the Sound, waiting for Telemed to arrive (they had some sort of problem with the mast track and were very much delayed). Eventually the race office agreed to let us start racing while it was still light, but it meant that we lost the large part of a day of really good wind which would have pushed us in exactly the right direction – something which seems to be very rare in sailing. This stuff happens though, but it caused a lot of frustration. This was compounded by a mistake on the bow when we did start – a sail tie was left on the yankee and when we tried to hoist it stopped the sail from going up properly. Especially frustrating since we had had so much time to make sure everything was ready to go for race start. Happily however, we did very well over night and caught up with and passed several boats today. Going fast in the sunshine definitely lifts the mood on the boat!

For my part a day of champagne sailing has got me back into the swing of things after an emotional, family-oriented stopover, so I’m looking forward to burning through the miles going South, and finally getting my shorts and T-shirts out again after far too long in wet and cold kit.

Guest Blog by Valerie Saint-Pierre.
Rise from the ashes – “To make a comeback after a disaster”

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