Crew member on GBR9793T Cheeki Rafiki
Red watch came on 0600 - 1200hrs
We were now well and truly in the centre of the low and the boat wallowed as one by one Steve, Nick, Martin and John did their best on the helm, with others balancing the boat to gain some forward motion.
As for blue watch down below, (gareth, ken, gary and greg),we were now so tuned to the chaotic noise and motion of the recent days that the peculiar silence and stability of the boat made it difficult to sleep!
By 1000hrs concentrations drifted with occasional spontaneous gatherings in the saloon to exchange jokes, leaving the helm to win the race single handedly!
Blue watch came on 1200 - 1800hrs
The Watch change was a ceremonial exchange of the helm and the uneasy but relaxed atmosphere prevailed with Gary's jokes now well off the pc scale!
Concern mounted that the boats behind would soon appear and that even letticia and lolita may be overtaking us in the trawlers on the horizon.
Gareth instilled some limited discipline by instigating a clean up of the boat. Before long the heads were a haven of shiny porcelain and fittings, with a strangely familiar fragrance of flowers bringing memories of the visit to the gents at the anchor in cowes. We now know where the fresheners were lifted!
The floor boards came up, the bilges were cleaned, and food was repacked and arranged to be ready for the days ahead.
A serious shortage of pasta has been revealed. This is thought to relate to suspicious miscount of the crew numbers off Harwich, briefly resulting in mega pasta helpings for all, with Steve and Ken helpfully and unselfishly pigging out big time. We can best explain this cock-up, given the stress induced having to count the crew on both hands.
Unfortunately yours truly is in the frame and when the food shortage arises on day 18 in the wind hole off the azores we know who will be toast!!
At 1330 our fortunes improved with Bret at the helm doing his Aussie thing, the breeze picked up and the trimming was taken seriously once again.
A brief analysis of the previous day's exploding kicker incident, suggests the reefs were tightened but the kicker was not released. Luckily, our previously weakened kicker popped, otherwise the extra tension could have trashed the main. This could so easily have been our fatal error of the race. Let's hope our luck holds. Lesson learned - when tightening reefs, let off the kicker
The wind continued to play with us into the afternoon offering lift of up to 9knots giving 7knots COG at times. We push progressively towards the far side of the high to our south, determined to pick up the stronger breezes on which to push on to Ireland.
Red watch come on early for their 1800 - 2200hrs shift. John decides it is time to raise standards and introduce a culture other than now thrives in the fridge.
A strong dose of Elgar's opera, 'Sea Story', blasts from the cockpit speakers and our peculiar expedition continues towards back rock. The optimists convince themselves the breeze is building.
Ken Allison, Blue Watch Leader,
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device