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Crew member on GBR7383R Visit Malta Puma

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Eddystone, North or not?

Here we are, approaching our last night as we pass South of Eddystone Lighthouse on a beautiful Indian Summers day. Last time we went North of it and that caused a few problems, but we promised Allie we would go South this time. Secretely Philippe and I harboured hopes that the wind would favour a Northerly route, but our hopes were dashed as Schumy held fast to the helm and took control.

So, we're on the Final Countdown to the finish at Cowes where we're all looking forward to meeting up with our families and friends who must be mad to come down and hug and snog us. Do they not realise we haven't had a shower for two weeks and the baby wipes ran out 5 days ago? Anyway, we'll enjoy the hugging and snogging, then a glass or two of Champagne and a few cheeky beers. I just hope someone is there to catch us as we then fall over from exhaustion and self-imposed two weeks free from the sauce.

Everyone on board agrees that it's been a fantastic trip. One I can recommend to other offshore sailors. Just be prepared for everything that can be thrown at you. The pinnacle of this trip is that it appears someone forgot to load the chocolate box on board, absolute sacrilege. We've been searching high and low for a 35L box but all we can find is more of those pesky apples and carrots that I mentioned in my last blog. I guess we might all be a little healthier for it, but there's a lot to be said for 35L of chocolate, after all if I wanted to be healthy I'd go to the gym. The guilty party is keeping very quiet about it. That is, assuming it's not the other watch who have eaten them all. I have my suspicions as they feign mock shock at the lack of chocolate, but those guys pack away a lot of food. So it's either them or skipper. Tricky call, as he's usually to blame when things go wrong. A prime example is that he always notices when the boat is slow or is going in the wrong direction, but it was just fine until he looked. A little like Schrodinger's cat perhaps! Perhaps unsurprising with his two weeks of facial growth. Fortunately for the crew he's been showing other cat like tendencies, such as sleeping a lot recently, and next time I'll definitely be slipping sleeping tablets in his supper.

It's difficult to describe the living conditions on Visit Malta Puma as, for many of you, it'll be a foreign world. There are many rituals, for example a strict daily cleanse and wipe around with anti-bac that keeps us all physically healthy. Mental health was never up for debate. Cooking is even managed by those who claim no culinary skills and we humour them by making noises of appreciation as we swallow the lumps. Beating to wind offers its own challenge. With the boat heeled over at 20 degrees, we've all regressed to our ancestor's habits and swing around the cabin like monkeys hanging off bars, some more gracefully than others as indicated by the bruises. Maybe that explains the bananas and lack of chocolate? I won't even go into tacking whilst using the heads!

As to our fellow yachts out there, it's hard at times not knowing where they are. Not that we want to follow them, but we want to know whether we've made the right move as this tactical game of chess on water unravels as we enter the endgame along the English Channel. Can we catch Playing Around, will we stay ahead of Cheeki Rafiki? Only time will tell.

Peter (Burwood)

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