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Crew member on GBR9793T Cheeki Rafiki

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We have just had another watch change following our 'blue watch' 0200 to 0600 stint.

This saw an early lovely sunrise turning into a grey cloudy sky promising stronger winds.

The medium heavy number 1 was used till 530 with the wind gradually increasing from below 10 knots to a better 13 knots. This was getting too much for the ,m/h1 so the number 3 was raised at 530.

The change went as follows, aiming to keep the boat speed with a head sail working at all times. We set the 3 ready on deck, tacked and raised it inside the m/h1, tacked again and dropped the m/h 1.

This sail change followed a quiet discussion about the options. With the wind building against a dark grey horizon and the number 1 approaching its upper limit, and most important,the reputation of blue watch to make the right sail calls at stake, the decision was made. All went smoothly or seemed to from my vantage point on the helm. Gary was on the bow (and managed to keep dry). Gareth on the mast and calling the shots in his clear calm no nonsense way. Greg in the cockpit. Me (Ken) on the helm trying desperately not to screw up the tacks for the guys.

Two big successes through these strange early hours were;

We've found Steve's fastnet jacket, mysteriously arranged in the form of Gareth's pillow in the aft port bunk!

And the really really good news, I found the gorilla tape in the winch pocket on deck.

The bad news, no-one believes me, they think I had it all along. Especially Gary and he's got big Nick, red watch leader, on his side!

Hence, the lynch mob (Gary's mates) are gathering at the Anchor in Cowes. They'll be well tanked up by the time we get there so I'm stuffed!

Now we have red watch on duty with Nick as watch leader, just made the drinks. John's on helm with Martin on the main.

Steven's keeping a general eye out as usual. He's co-owner and co-skipper of Cheeki Rafiki and a very experienced sailor. He's done lots of work with Skipper Gareth. I first met these two last year when we started training for the fastnet. Speaking as a novice sailor I couldn't have found a kinder and solid pair of tutor's and mentor's.

Now we are in the Forties oil field, with the huge rigs dominating a view that would otherwise be sea forever. Sad memories of a school friend who died in the Piper Alpha disaster.

All our attention has moved to getting to the Orkney s, well that and what to eat next! Nick's just checking the race instructions. Would a solicited offer of 'whipped cream for our hot chocolate' from the nearly oil rig really be a fatal infringement?

Ken Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device

-----Original Message----- From: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2010 05:36:50 To: RBI RORC BLOG Reply-To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Cc: My hotmail Subject: Re: GBR9793T Cheeki Rafiki

It's 615 and we're off the Thames having changed watches at 6. Nick's now on helm with John on main. Steven on Nav with Martin in the cockpit. Gareths brewing up with Brett, Gary and me already off for a kip.

The night went well with the Jibtop doing its job. Wind on the beam around 15knots, building to low 20's from 430am. Gary did lots of helming, and being a tiller man, he is quickly sorting his nemesis otherwise known as 'the wheel'. Gary also handled the Nav getting us through the tricky stuff after the huge spooky windfarm.

Gareth's huge joke book came out at 5. Its a cheap one and not for sensitve types. There's a scottish section for later in the week. Like the one about........

Now for a snooze while Nick, Steve, John and Martin reach us up the Anglian coastline. The big questions for today are 'do we go to the number 3'?, 'can we be bothered to catch Encore!'. And 'will the joke book survive?'

Ken Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device

-----Original Message----- From: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2010 02:36:23 To: RBI RORC BLOG; My hotmail Reply-To: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject: GBR9793T Cheeki Rafiki

Well we are 2 miles from Ramsgate. Now on the two watch system, 66444hrs.

Nick, Steven, Martin and John having a snooze.

Brett's on the helm with Gary on the main. Gareth getting the weather update and doing the nav(thank fully) and Ken (me) doing the blog.

Bearing 20degrees ish.

Wind has dropped to 11 knots, clear starry sky with the full moon behind us.

The run along the south coast was great with 30+ winds and some good surfing.

Were all suprised to hear leopard has retired, it's one less to beat!

Ken Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device

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