Crew member on GBR9793T Cheeki Rafiki
Written by Crew member on GBR9793T Cheeki Rafiki Sunday, 05 September 2010 18:44
Red watch 0600 - 1200
Blue watch 1200 - 1800
Brief discussions are now breaking out about life after the race. Questions like what next? We haven't finished yet though. There are unruly beards to be parted with too.
Life has levelled out to a relatively sensible 25degrees.
This penduluming tilt is amplified in the tiny toilet/shower(the heads). The future is unpredictable in the heads. Patience combined with a mild dose of constipation can be an advantage.
At some stage, every sailor's sense of self respect and decorum can be lost in the 'heads'. This explains the long pause in sea borne invasions of Britain since William gambled on his bowel holding out, back in 1066.
The beneteau pumped flushing system inlet is cunningly placed such that a crack crew with Martin on the helm and Steve on tactics, pushing the racing envelope, render head pumping ineffective.
Nick, red watch leader, will testify, as our the most recent victim of this Gallic design feature.
Puma Logic and Monsieur Philippe gain several more boat lengths as Cheeky Rafiki is 'luffed up' (levelled) allowing Nick to bring business in the heads to a close.
Skipper Gareth with his reputation as a hard core racer is not impressed by luffing..
We are pushing hard now and progressively tack towards the Isle of Wight.
All goes well in the morning with the wind gradually building but withing the range of the light nr1.
In the afternoon the wind keeps building and the nr 3 goes up. Then the first reef goes in as we reach force 6 with gusts up to 25 knots.
I look up and indicate to Gareth the metre long tear in the main at the back. The tape has torn off leaving the sail at risk of ripping apart in the strong winds.
This is serious and the jokes stop as we keep sailing and options can be seen speeding through the skippers mind. Characteristically, it is simple. We put in the second reef, drop the main, sow it and re raise it. The boat never stops racing with the head sail alone providing the power while the big main is out of action. Gary Grimstitch does a marvellous job.
We have lost time and as the sea builds we race on. At 6pm we are two tacks from the Isle of Wight and the race up the Solent to Cowes. We have been half way to France today too.
The watch changes again.
In the bunks the boat can be heard crashing on through the heavy sea under red watch.
How will this end?
Ken Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device