FRIDAY LUNCH TIME
My morning watch was an interesting one... Giles & I spent our time
lifting floorboards to find a very very wet boat. Its all looking a
lot better now but we must of been carrying an extra 500Kg. It just
gets in everywhere.
What's noticable is the crew are really settled into the watches now.
We are running 3 groups (oldies, mids and kids) of 3 people. I ended
up in the Oldies and not too sure how I feel about that. So Giles,
Donald and I do 3hrs on, 3hrs Standby and 3hrs off and started at
12pm. The Mids (Ollie, Dave & Rich) do the same but with 1 hr later,
starting at 1pm. Then the kids (James, Antoine and Will) do the same
from 2pm. This means that one person up and one down on each hour.
We were all a bit confused when Giles dreamed this up, but it has
worked so well. All sail changes have been done leaving the off watch
asleep but they did have to bounce across when we tacked.
Feeding them has kept me busy though as you can't get everyone in a
short period - cuts down on the washing up though! Sleep is now
extremely deep, refreshing and rewarding with many talking about
extremely strange dreams (maybe that's the food???!)
Will has generally been up every hour to check the weather & Nav. His
background in Oceanography and his passion for sailing show in the
intensive way he studies every grib, satalite image and chart. Every
call so far has been perfect. I hope that he gets his dream of a
IMOCA 60 campaign as I think he'd be great.
We're honoured to have 3 Class 40 sailors (Dave & Antoine & the boat
skipper Ollie) and Will who is a Figaro sailor. You can really see a
difference in the way they push the boat and drive the waves. After
doing the RORC transat on this boat with Donald in 2016, I'm a real
fan of Lombard's design with the twin rudders and heavy chine. The
boat drives so well and for the first time in 3 years I saw it broach
on this trip. The control is incredible and the way you can kick it
down the waves means you catch more than a normal boaMO.
Now approaching Outstack so I'm signing off till through the storm.
Get the feeling we are going to be getting very wet. Photos are us
getting the Jibs ready for the turn whilst doing 17 knots... James and
Will up the front!
After the 30 knots- I've got back on the keyboard at last. Fair to
say since getting around the top, its been pretty grim. We were hard
on the wind in upto 30 knots of wind, 2 reefs and the J3 with the
worst cross swell of the North Atlantic meeting the extremely choppy
north sea. This resulted in the boat literally taking off many waves
and going through others, bringing further challenges I'll mention
So several had their freeze dried dinner washed with Salt water, and
as the night drew on it got very cold. This was because a depression
system was moving over us and in true tradition, later on it gets wet
with rain, gusts and the temperature drops. Due to the intense
slamming going on as the bow free fell out of the air, the interior of
the boat makes the most loud and angry noises. Just think about being
inside of Phil Collin's drum... you're ready for every note but they
come much more powerful than you ever expected.
I've not been able to get near the nav because of this, but also
because of the incredible amount of oil rigs out here which have to be
avoided very carefully. Each installation with it's guard ships,
carefully circuling their domain ensuring you don't get anywhere near
them. This means at time having to route through very narrow gaps
between fields and frequent adjustments to the Course to Steer, along
with dialogue with the guardships ensuring we will keep to the 500m
Now whilst real diligence was going on between the nav and those on
deck, we discovered a major issue. We were taking on A LOT of water.
After significant pumping, buckets and lifting boards, every ingress
was checked. Eventually the culprits were found. 1) the water was
still pumping through the power socket from the chain locker into the
boat... Now filled with sealant, which has slowed it and will be
re-engineered after the race. 2) because of the aforementioned
slaming, the water maker had departed from its mounting, sheered the
exhaust and was then letting free flow into the boat.
Just like appolo 13 that then brings a new set of challenges.... we
do have nearly enough liquid to get back, but it would be nice not to
restrict the crew. We therefore figured out if we run the bildge pump
in the compartment the water maker operates in, we can drain the flood
as it makes us fresh water.... which we did... but....
After making about 50 litres of water into the bladder, we've then
found that the bladder has also suffered and is leaking.
So the plan now is just to put the feed tube into bottles to keep us
going, but we still have to pump as we make fresh water. Good news is
that this means the freeze dried is off the menu tonight and spag bol
Credit has to go to Ollie Heer, the boat captain, who has worked so
hard over the last 24 hrs, sailing, fixing, clearing and only getting
2 hrs sleep.
Forecast routing updates are now getting very frequent due to a
difficult low coming across the UK over the next day which causes Will
much gazing at the screen reviewing the options ahead of us.
I think today really demonstrated the statement at the race briefing
that this is RORC's toughest yacht race... my body is in full