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[ THE WIRE ] Skipper’s Report

20th January 2017
Time: 1807z
Position: 18°13.9N 036°50.4W
COG: 285°T
SOG: 9kts
Wind: ESE 5
Swell: NNW 4-5ft
Sky: 7/8 cumulus and altocumulus
Weather: Good with occasional squalls.

This is proper tropical sailing now. I don’t mean the weather; I refer to the lifestyle that sailing in these regions entails. Lea and I had a conversation about the sometimes-perceived glamour in sailing. We both resoundingly agreed that this concept was false. There might be the rare moment here and there, but overall it is far from it.

Life is hot at the moment. Sleep is difficult. Drinking only water is boring. Shade is in short supply. Lifejackets are annoying. All these relatively minor things add up to the definitively non-glam life that is sailing these latitudes. Still it could be worse. We could have wrapped the spinnaker 5 times during the night.

Oh, yes, we did.

The crew must have read my last report about how all the drama was in the hoist and drop, and decided it would fun to even that statistic out a bit. Most people had a go at what I shall term the ‘spinnaker origami game’. As a basic overview, it’s where you try and turn the spinnaker from a perfectly shaped and flying sail, into as many different twists as possible. The rules also permit using other bits of the boat, such as the mast or associated rigging, to widen the variety of these shapes. The final part of the game is when you challenge the skipper to try and turn it back into the perfect flying spinnaker again, without having to drop it. It is best played at night, for full effect.

Nothing we couldn’t handle, but it certainly vindicates my approach of not going to bed when the kite is flying at night! Everything on a boat is harder to deal with at night, so quick action can be the difference between drama and disaster. We don’t like disaster. Last night even saw the first ever appearance of my beanbag on deck, which has been loitering in my cabin, waiting for the right moment. It’s out the bag now (so to speak), and will be a regular feature in my nightlong kite watches. And yes Mark Burkes, it’s that very same beanbag, still going strong, and lining up for another 40,000nm of sailing!

Kenzie Kosmala will be pleased to know that his Little Man of Bravery is still adorning the top of the nav station. Big thanks to Kenzie for letting us hold on to him for a little longer. I might even have to take him on deck with me tonight to see us through another night of spinnaker origami.

Also, an introduction to one of our project partners; Medical Support Offshore (MSOS). They have provided us with our extensive medical kit, supplies, and telemedical support for both this trip to San Diego, and the rather more complex solution for the 6-month expedition that will be The Longest Swim. Both Paul and I were lucky enough to do some specialist training with them, and thoroughly exploited a well-intentioned offer to drop in for coffee if we were ever passing, by regularly dropping in for coffee and doing our best to clear them out of the best biscuit supply. This must have been notable, as when the med kit was delivered to the boat it came with a fresh supply of biscuits…

Refreshments aside though, it is a great asset to the boat and project to have both their tailored medical kit and advice on hand should it be required. While we have had nothing of significance so far (and intend to continue that way), it’s been a huge confidence to have Dr. Spike on the end of the sat comms for a couple of pointers with the more run of the mill issues that crop up from time to time. Spike’s updates on the Vendee Globe race along with medical advice prove that there can be no better service with anyone else!

Final mention of the day goes to Henry’s Grandma Anne. She has unintentionally supplied us with a rather lovely tablemat, which became adopted by the galley after arriving with cake on it one day in Lymington, I assume in what was meant to be a temporary fashion. I would like to reassure her that it has gone to an excellent new home, and is used daily to serve the fresh bread that emerges from the oven every morning.

We’re off to play another night of spinnakers. Bonsoir.

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