Crew member on GBR9793T Cheeki Rafiki
Blue shift were off from 0600 till 1200.
Around 1000, Nick from Red shift was heard on the HF seeking weather advice. The only response came from a bored sounding brummy from 'W100' presumably a rig. He didn't have a forecast but was kind enough to look out of his window and tell us how it was. He described exactly what we could see. W100 was clearly the huge monster of a structure on the horizon.
We were now some 60 miles east of our rumb line. This is the line from our way point off the Norfolk coast to our way point off the NE tip of Shetland. we had chosen to sail 'best to wind' on a port tack accepting we would gradually head east of this line. The gamble was when to make the required tack to the west. If the wind came round to the west or south it would bring us back on course, but most likely the tack would be needed eventually on the 500 mile leg.
At 1630 following numerous short discussions, weighing the odds, interspersed with humour, food, and general trimming stuff Gareth decided it was time, so we tacked. 60 miles to the rhum line meant the next strategic decision (wind and tides permitting) would be at least 10 hours away, and more likely 15 hours as we would need to over shoot to make Shetland on one further tack.
This tack to the west brought us between huge oil rigs, looking like something out of a science fiction nightmare.
Then came the squall with the wind picking up instantly, out smarting me on the helm, spinning the boat to port until it eased and we settled back our routine of beating as close to wind as possible whilst keeping up the boat speed. Bret was by me on the main sharing hints and tips gained from his racing experience in Australia.
Sleepless Steve once again did a marvellous job, producing hot pies at the start of the shift and cheese sandwiches at the end. Gareth slipped in a pot noodle in the middle.
Gary did more helming, and is clearly overcoming his phobia of the wheel. He is a great guy, full of jokes and really keen on the sailing. He has his own J boat on the Solent, which he clearly loves .
After lots of 'crac' the end of this shift seemed to come quickly with the arrival of the dolphins, at least four including a baby and a big male. Hopefully the photos will be good.
'The Orkneys are north of Shetland', I insisted to a bemused disbelieving Gary. He was right and I realised how tired I am. I expect we are all the same and there's another Week to go!
Going well so far, this bizarre life at 45 degrees. Wonder where the other boats are?
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