[ THE WIRE ] Salt, sweat and suncream

Busy busy as the ocean keeps us on our toes, chasing progress.

As I start to the write this we’ve just done a watch change, with Renaud and Henry sitting next to me winding each other up about who smells the most, and generally poking fun at each other for being Frexican and English respectively. It’s funny how quickly things change – this time yesterday everyone was too exhausted to speak, let alone have a sense of humour. For the record, they both stink.

Last night continued with us bashing into a strong breeze, it starting to soften early this morning. The boys spent the night tag-teaming 2 hour, 2 man watches, as it’s not really safe to run solo watches in these conditions, as if anything happens it can be tricky to deal with unless quick action is taken to prevent breakages. I dozed between my favourite two places of curled up next to the engine room hatch or at the nav station, each location best suited for starboard and port tacks respectively. One thing is for sure; it’s definitely a good thing we didn’t bring the dog. Unless Cookie was even more awesome than we already think he is, he really wouldn’t have liked last night, and I don’t think we would have had the resources to deal with an ill dog as well. Might have had to chuck him into bed with Alex, let the two of them hug it out.

First light saw us haul the Yankee 2 up on deck, hank it on and get it hoisted. The next hour saw us shake both reefs out back to full main and chuck in a tack. Our angle is much improved at the moment, and we might go to the Yankee 1 if we’re feeling really keen. The sail locker is still a bomb site though, and I really need to find a way to get to my toothbrush. We all now have a wonderful blend of salt, sweat and sun cream across our faces, which makes it impossible to tell if your sunburnt, just covered in abrasive dried salt, or both. It’s probably both.

There were a couple of firsts last night. We cracked into the freeze dried food rations which has never been done before. Only 5 people running a fully manual boat in those conditions doesn’t leave much time for cooking, so sporking instant rations into your face is definitely a good solution. Some of the packs Seb bought us as supplies even self heat, so all you do is add water and watch as your meals bubbles away warming itself up to perfection. Not bad at all, and I have experienced some seriously bad freeze dried before…

It was also the first time Renaud had experienced some ‘proper sailing’ conditions, as we’ve had a relatively easy ride since he jumped on in Antigua. With three of us crawling up to the foredeck last night, slowly working our tethers along the jackstays as we went, I turned around and asked him how he was doing. He responded that he was half excited and half afraid. The perfect answer, as the first time you experience those kind of conditions it’s very important to gain a healthy respect for the fragility of our situation, but also relish the challenge and excitement it brings. I told him as long as he stayed clipped on and kept himself safe there was nothing to worry about. We all the know Disco will look after us, and we can look after her, as long as we all stay safe and look after each other, which is exactly what we do, all day, all night, all the time, above and below decks. Once you get comfortable with this, it’s all about enduring the discomfort and enjoying the rid

A few hours ago I had a most enjoyable moment, when I got what I believe to be one of the worlds biggest cruise ships to move out of our way. The Norwegian Jewel was trucking down at us doing a speedy 20kts and going to be much to close for comfort, given our relative sizes. A quick chat on the VHF made sure we were both happy with how to pass each other, and we all waved as we crossed over, hoping for a blow on what must be a very loud horn. Disappointingly no horn, but it’s always fun to pass big ships that close.

That’s all for now. I’m off to break my toothbrush out of confinement.

Date: 21st March 2017
Time: 1742z
Position: 23-05.4N 110-34.0W
COG: 270T
SOG: 6-7kts
Wind: NNW 4
Swell: NW 3-5ft
Sky: 8/8 stratus/cumulus
Weather: Still a bit gusty but settling down now.
With the support of our partner Weather Routing Inc. 


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