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Crew member on GBR8308T Playing Around Logic

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Hi everyone!!

It's Iain here on Playing Around!!

Thought I'd escape the cold for a little while and fill you in on what we've been up to, while i wait for the kettle to boil. i must say that this is probably the oddest angle at which i'd ever tried typing. I've got one foot on the kitchen counter and a leg wedged against the chart table seat, but i'll see how i go.

Our sailing yesterday afternoon and evening can only really be described as inshore racing. Weight out on the rail, constant tweaking of the sails and rig setup, it was impressive stuff. I was on main and i have to say that the levels of concentration that Roger demands of you when you're trimming for him are extraordinary. I literally can't talk while I'm doing it, as Rick found out when he came up on watch only to chat to himself whilst I completely ignored him.

The news that we'd pulled back 6 miles on Encore as we neared the Shetland Islands was great to hear, and along with that and our first sight of land for 3 days spirits were high, even if the temperature was heading ever lower. Getting ever closer and with Unst in full view the tacticians were working out strategy to get round the outer stack and into the Atlantic. A few icy rain showers later and still trimming hard in inshore mode, the wind yet again dealt us a frustrating blow and delivered shift after shift trying to take us away from Muckle Flugga (or Muggle Flugga, Fluggy Mucka, Mucky Fluggle and a few other combinations as its been know aboard) which was now tantilisingly in sight. After having tacked maybe 6 times since we passed the kent coast 500 miles ago all of a sudden we were tacking on every shift to make the best of wind delivered to us, there must have been 20-30 tacks as we came up past the last of the Islands. The frustration was immense feeling all our hard work undone as the tide picked up and we could feel Encore slipping away from us again. By the last few calls from the skipper of "this is definitely the lay line for the outer stack" we had

2.5 knots of tide ripping us back and huge tacking angles that made it feel like we were going nowhere.

By the time we did finally lay the outer stack we were sailing in heavy overfalls with the boat was being thrown around and being slapped by the waves so hard that Jolly Roger at the helm thought we'd run aground!

Still the wind was teasing us as we slowly plugged the tide in that final approach as its shifts left us wondering if we really would make it. The skipper still coolly telling Roger to pinch up as though shooting a mark at Cowes week. So just which part of the Island did he plug into that GPS of his was the question on all our minds as the outer stack slid blackly past our port side not 50m away. A glance at the instruments by me happened to notice the depth gauge reading 1m. With internal alarm bells shrieking i (apparently) managed to tell the skipper in a very calm fashion only to be reassured that it must be just the instrument as if that was indeed the case we'd already be aground.

Eventually the depth gauge agreed and shot back up to the 40+m that should be there. Finally we were past! The most northerly part of the UK rounded, we said a goodbye to the North Sea and hello to the Atlantic with a welcome toast of finest Glenfiddich (a big thank you to whoever smuggled that aboard)...

Into the Atlantic we eased the sheets and headed off for Sula Sgeir, not quite the A sail blast we were hoping for but at least not close hauled any more. Or so we thought!! Rog's comment that "the wind cant possibly come round any more to the left" came back to haunt and straight after the watch change a 20 degree shift saw us back on the wind and having to tack out to avoid rocks, but for me it was time for some badly needed sleep as most of us had skipped our off watch to see the Shetlands.

This morning we've finally got the fast reach we were after, the Jib Top is up and we're flying along at 8.5 knots, just need those few more degrees so we can hoist the big A and start taking some big bites out of Encores lead....

Hope everything is well back at base!

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