We’re here!! After spending 11 hours on a plane and arriving at 01:00 UK time (20:00 Brazil time) we welcomed the stretch. The first thing we took note of though was that even though we’d left UK during high summer, it was much warmer here. Our journey through night time Rio was spectacular in its sights. The lights were dazzling. Imagine what it’s going to be like during the day?!
I have never sailed before, and being able to take part in this expedition and gain new skills is a great privilege for me. Seeing our yacht, that we’ll be spending the next 4 weeks on, all we could think about was bed. After general introductions and a welcome from our Skipper we headed to bed, even though there was a party going on in the back ground.
30th August – Provisioning the Boat and Cramming food in every nook and cranny
Alongside in ‘Marina da Gloria’ – in central Rio.
First day onboard. A glorious sunny clear and bright morning. 24C today. Vistas from the yacht to Christ the Redeemer to the west and Sugarloaf mountain to the south. A pleasant light SE breeze is a welcome relief but still warm below decks where most of the days work has taken place. A very busy day – early morning briefing where the Skipper Jon showed us the passage chart, three and a half thousands miles of open ocean, explained the overall plan and the crew were allocated secondary duties: such as engineer, sail maker, communications and medic. The crew has also been allocated into watches which we will remain in for the rest of the passage. Red watch is Jerry, Grace, Ross, Tim & Joe; White watch is Dave, Paul, Rob and Jess and Blue watch is Mike H, Mike P, Chris and Becci. The work for getting the boat ready for our trans-atlantic passage then started in earnest. The crew was divided up – half went ashore to buy the non perishable food we are going to need for a 20 or so day passage (with no chance of going back to pick up something you have forgotten to buy! so a detailed plan was made by the Mate Jerry), the perishable food will be bought on Tue night just before we slip on Wed.
Dave was detailed as ‘pusser’ and with that came the thankless task of taking the money and turning that into our 23 breakfasts, lunches and evening meals. The rest of us got on with the task of working out how we are going to cram everything into a relatively small space – she may be a 67 footer but there is so much safety kit and spares for everything already onboard that we are going to have to utilise every inch of remaining stowage cleverly.
Once this was complete we were given briefs on how to work and complete routine checks on the engine, generator and gearbox and how to work the heads (loos), showers and instrument panel. Cabins were allocated and life jackets fitted. We then set about carrying out some routine maintenance tasks and fitted some spares we have brought out from UK (the charcoal filter in the water maker – vital kit to have enough water for the passage). The complexity and amount of kit, switches, valves, electric circuits and the like is daunting, and we haven’t even started on the myriad of ropes on deck or the sails in the forepeak yet! In a week I am sure we will all know our way around the boat in the dark. Stowing personal kit was fun – trying to squeeze all your belongings in a box 40 x 35 x 25 cm was a challenge in itself.
Dinner on board was provided by Grace, a veritable feast of mustard chicken, fresh salad and pita bread! However, once we get off shore and are heeling over at 40 degrees – it won’t be quite so simple…… (Salad too – a treat we had better not get too used to).
Everyone is slowly getting used to our new hot, cramped, moving, noisy home and looking forward to learning and seeing how it all works to make us into an efficient crew.
31st August – Doing ‘The Tourist Thing’
Sight Seeing: The Army unleashed on Rio De Janeiro
The whole team set off to see the most famous sight in Rio the Statue of Christo Redentor or Christ the Redeemer. This statue symbolises Brazil’s strong religious heritage and today’s Brazilians still hold very strong beliefs and Religion and football hold equal sway on the streets of Rio. The site was very impressive, the sheer logistics of building such a large monument so high up are mind boggling and we were glad to have the chance to see the site before we set sail. We were joined at the top by tourists from all over the world.
Lunch time gave the crew the first chance to try local cuisine at a Brazilian buffet, while the less adventurous among us managed to find a ‘traditional’ KFC or MacDonalds in the city. Lunch was followed by a few hours on Copacabana beach, and a few renditions of the Barry Manilow Classic. Regrettably we weren’t able to visit the Stadium Mericana, the largest capacity football stadium in the world and the symbol of Brazil’s other great passion football. We were given excellent views of the stadium from the hills and even in this great city it stands out as an impressive monument to Brazil’s football legacy. After a few beers on the beech and a dip in the ocean it was time to head back to the Marina.
This evening gave us all a chance to get together with the Navy crew for a meal at a local restaurant. The selection of food was impressive and the locals really seem to love their meat as there was a constant supply of all kinds of roast brought to the table and everyone left the place ready to burst. The evening ended in an all round early night in anticipation of our first sailing practice tomorrow morning and the first chance to see who will find their sea legs and who will spend the day leaning over the guard rail.
1st September: Training Day
Initial Crew Training: The Army sails out of Rio, and then returns.
A long and fruitful day began with the now usual mugs of tea and selections of cereal washed down with copious amounts of milk – of which we have a copious amount. The Skipper and Mate took the crew through early morning lessons in basic sail rigging. Grace and the girls were diverted somewhat by squad of young Brazilian troops jogging by the marina – they appeared to be somewhat unnecessarily shirtless. Dave was winched up the mast for the best view of Rio which he hugely enjoyed. He also checked repairs to the windex and the general state of the mast apparently.
By late morning we slipped lines and headed out into the Bay. Rio and the surrounding area and islands looked stunning in the increasingly sweltering heat.
Skipper soon had us hard at work – tacking, gybing, luffing up, bearing away, raising and lowering a mad assortment of sails – Yankees and Genoas raised by halyards, the main sail lowered by a Cunningham. What infernal language is this?
Lunch time was a wolfed down assortment of salad sandwiches prepared by Rob, Ross and Dave. Yumm! However, Skipper Jon soon had us hard at it again with fender-attached-to-canvas-bucket man overboard drills. It gave us all a warm and lovely feeling we were back the Solent on a Comp Crew course. Except it wasn’t raining. Or cold.
Ross decided late in the day to have a fight with the mainsheet pully block – unfortunately it ended with a TKO for the pulley and Ross nursing a sore thumb in cold water in the galley and dreading the next few day’s jokes. At least he wasn’t there with Becci or Jess who had developed a sudden aversion to belowdecks. They were soon on anti-motion sickness tablets.
And as we came back into the Marina much better educated than we were before we encountered a flying ‘skate’ to our port side – trying to escape a shark, onto our boat perhaps.
Back to the Marina late on where Grace whipped up some more top grub for the crew – she already leads the galley slave competition.
Adventure Leg 3 BLOG Sunday 30th August
From Red Watch: (Paul Briant, Norris Moore, Andy Porte and Paddy Babington) After a long flight out from the UK, our first morning in Rio saw us waking up to unfamiliar sights and sounds, getting used to the snoring is certainly one task to undertake. The crew were split into two working groups, one stayed behind to play with the sails and stuff the other ‘lucky’ half went out to do the ‘Big Shop’. Think supermarket sweep meets the Krypton Factor. Four and a half hours, eleven trolleys full and nearly £1500 spent and we had managed to buy and store most of the food required to feed the crew for 3 weeks.
Monday 31st August
White Watch (Simon Wright-Cooper, Jen Taylor, Adam Whitehouse, Ryan Hayward) sends: Monday was spent sight seeing in and around Rio de Janeiro, this means we don’t start our epic journey until 12:00 local time on Wednesday. We began with a drive up “Pico Do Corcovado” to visit the big “JC” himself, followed by a few hours soaking up the rays on Copacabana beach, body surfing and socializing with the locals *(some more successfully than others). Sight seeing in Rio wouldn’t be complete without taking in the awe inspiring sunset views offered by Sugar Loaf Hill overlooking the sprawling lights and iconic background of Rio.
Look forward to getting to sea and into sea routines. Now ready to get going and to do some real ocean sailing. Catering for 14 for 21 days instead of just himself for a week has been a ‘Baptism of Fire’. Luckily there are no Vegetarians on this ship!
Tuesday 1st September
Blue Watch (Ian Barrowclough, Pikey Pike, Leon Wood, Marcus Barrett) sends: Today was the first day at sea training for the passage and a very steep learning curve for those without previous experience. However, after a very busy day we had all managed to master the art of how to bend on sails, how to take in a reef and shake it out, how to tack, gybe and heave-to. The duty fender and bucket came out and simulated a man overboard requiring rescue and we even had to rescue Simon’s baseball cap for real after it blew off his head and landed in the sea. It was a tough day for many as this was our first time on a boat of this size. But morale stayed strong and the team pulled through! All are now looking forward to getting started and getting into the WATCH system.