I am not altering the spellings or fixing typos in these great blogs from the boats as it would take me far too long and we’re not trying to win the Booker Prize! Needless to say, these lovely diary entries are for fun and information so we can share the experience of these guys and girls:
The beginning of a new week and we are making good head way, today was my turn for a shower and it was possible the best thing on this trip so far even if only very short! Another warm day sailing with light winds , so yet again another day of sail changes and working hard in the heat. Expecting these conditions to continue as we head closer and closer to the equator so plenty more time to burn or tan in the sun, the sail changes always seemed to land on my watch (green watch) but its all good practise especially as we are learning as we go, on that note we are getting rather good at sail changes and folding sails away. Today some of the crew saw a whale in the distance but he didn’t stick around too long so no photos of whales yet. Just finished off and nice spicy chicken cous-cous and apple crumble for tea, the good food is keeping people happy as we are getting bored of the light winds. Hopefully the wind will pick up and carry us along a bit quicker.
Doug says hi all the family and hopes everyone is ok.
Derek sends his love to Lesley, Sophie and Oliver, and says read my email message!
Discoverer Day 8 uploaded Thu 13 Aug 2009
Sunday should be a day of rest but not for us on Discoverer, the crew were all working hard with many sail changes required as the wind kept changing its mind so the crew had to respond. It was again another hot day and we had to keep covered with the suncream, also it was a good chance for people to do some washing which was badly needed in many cases, myself included. Another good day had and mother watch provided another good hearty meal with cake for pudding, even if the wind is still yet to pick up! Another pub quiz hosted by the navy this time but the winners I believe were the army but we are sure they are cheating. Another quiet night had again apart from the fly fish.
Discoverer Day 7 uploaded Thu 13 Aug 2009
Saturday came round and it is Ian’s (red watch leader) birthday and not just any birthday, no no he turned 50, yes the five zero and what better way for him to celebrate his birthday doing what he enjoys…sailing! We did our best to make the best of the day being on a boat out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Presents and cards were opened and a party atmosphere appeared on the boat, we even made him a no expense spared card (paper and felt tip pens) and all the crew signed it. It was a glorious day however we the wind was much lighter so we only bumbled along but still making good progress. For dinner we were treated to a beef stew made by mother watch who were rather warmed down below deck working hard for the rest of us up top. They even managed to make trifle and a birthday cake, which was scoffed up quickly. Still in the party mood we had a scheduled pub quiz via VHF with adventure and challenger, with the winners being on adventure. All the crew in a jolly mood we settled into the night watch, over night was quiet apart from the occasional attempt to board the boat by several fly fish, most of which failed and were found on the foredeck when the sun came up.
Challenger 11th August – BLOG
Probably a good time to explain to you the way the watches work on board and also how we are split down on board. Basically we’re in three teams (watches) of 4 with the skipper and mate overseeing their own shift system. Each watch does 24 hours as the mother watch and then 48 hours either on, or off, watch.
Mother watch brings with it (supposedly) an uninterrupted night’s sleep and a shower but the price paid is high. The mother watch are responsible for cooking and cleaning for everyone onboard. Doesn’t sound too bad? Try making chilli-con carne for 14 when the temperature outside is around 30 and you’re trapped in a small galley (kitchen) with one small window for ventilation. The heel (tip) of the boat doesn’t help and neither do the waves!! The heat is compounded as for safety reasons when cooking at sea you have to wear waterproof trousers (oilies) and welly boots for safety reasons. Cleaning the heads (toilets) is another one of the choice tasks that keep ‘mother’ busy through the day; along with baking bread, doing the dishes, folding sails, general cleaning, brew making etc etc.
The other two watches spend four hours on duty and then four hours off. The four hours on can be uneventful or follow the following pattern: Reef the main sail (make it smaller, change the Yankee (front) sail, release the main reef, drop the staysail (smaller front sail), put up a new yankee, along with filling in the log book every hour. Certainly works up a sweat and an appetite in this heat. Heaven help the watch that forgets to fill in the log – Skippy and matey don’t take no prisoners……………..
As for the day itself we met up with the other two boats and held the third inter-boat quiz. It was our turn to host and whilst we tried not to upset our Royal Navy and Royal Air Force friends too much, below is an example of some of the questions we set them:
– Name the golfing term (for a shot that falls short) that in called after a famous RAF fighter pilot?
– What is the name of the Royal Navy Destroyer that ran aground off the coast of Australia and, for a bonus point, what was the name of the famous rock that it hit?
They seemed to take them in good spirit and haven’t abandoned us yet but we await the backlash in the next quiz! (Answers will follow in due course!)
Before closing everyone onboard (especially Dave) wish Brian MacKay a very happy birthday!
Adventure August 8, 9 & 10th – BLOG
Sunday (09/08/09) saw us bring out the spinnaker again to take full advantage of the apparent winds. Once the wind dropped, and as the crew had worked so hard in the consistently hot and sunny weather, the Skipper had the crew haul down the sails. This allowed us to take full advantage of our surroundings by providing an opportunity to go for a swim in the Atlantic. Super Ted is still to get a bite, although something did eat through and steel one of his lures! We are still inundated with kamikaze flying fish which strangely only attack at night. Talking of night, now that the sun sets sooner and the moon rising takes longer, the night watches are really dark. However no light pollution means the clear nights produce the most fantastic array of stars I have ever seen. There’s something to be said about the gentle sway of the yacht rocking you to sleep coupled with the quiet slush of the waves whilst looking deep into the heavens above. It is a truly memorable experience.
Red Watch was the mother watch for Sunday’s dinner. I Richard Parsons (Ricky P) and Red Watch pulled out all the stops and produced the most fantastic spaghetti bolognaise which was well received by all the crew, with all vying for seconds, thirds and scraps from the pan. Needless to say it was said to have been the meal of the trip so far. Dessert saw the union of pineapple rings and squirty cream, Mmmm. I would like to confirm the temperature in the galley (kitchen) is normally about 40 – 450c, cooking with gas then gets really hot. Then imagine cooking in a jumper and full length water proof trousers. Yes, it’s a nightmare which saw me down about 3.5 litres of water in 2 hours. However seeing many happy faces with filled stomachs and compliments a plenty made Red Watch’s effort worthwhile. With high morale, the crew seemed to have settled into a routine which should keep us occupied until we reach Rio.
Yesterday’s weather (10/08/09) was cloudy all day but remained exhaustingly hot and humid. We were North-East of the Cape Verde Islands by about 60 nautical miles. In the morning we sighted a whale off our starboard side and were still in convoy with Discoverer; Challenger was only a short distance ahead. We are keeping good course and speed despite the wind dropping off on some occasions. Ian Gill took it upon himself to use Andy’s head shaver, the result is something you would not see normally, lets just say it’s patchy. Lunch was hotdogs and squash and for evening meal, Ian and the rest of white watch produced a great stew with angel delight for pudding. Yesterday saw Red Watch have a well earned shower (1 every three days). One thing to note, now the fresh bread has been depleted, its time to become bakers and make our own.
Today (11/08/09) saw dawn breaking over a sea that was so tranquil, it seemed almost fake. I can only liken it to a disused swimming pool. The only water disturbance was the yachts cutting through. Today so far (it’s 11:30am) has been magic, calm sea, the clouds have receded and the sun is out stronger than ever, we have spotted a whale, a large sea turtle and a shark. We are nearly passed the Verde Islands now and are steaming fully ahead to the equator (the wind has died so using engine not sail power).
A note to all the family members and friends reading the blogs, thank you for all your support and best wishes for a good passage to Brazil. All the crew are fine, no more sea sickness, we are doing well and are becoming more bronzed each day. A personal mention for my two girls, Lyndsey and Rae, I love and miss you both so very mucho and can’t wait to give you a shnuggle when I get home. Mum, dad, bros, sis and friend’s, I’m OK, really enjoying it but would kill for some properly laundered clothes, air conditioning and ice cream. Please spread the word about the website and support all the yachts, but especially the Royal Navy.