Sunday, January 19, 2014

Clipper Race day 7

Heather E-Mailed us yesterday asking for a dry suit for the northern Pacific run.  And she said she is very happy.

Here's are 2 amusing blogs about life aboard the boats;

With such a short stopover in Brisbane and such a long leg to prepare for, I knew there might be a few provisioning issues which are now starting to materialize.  Firstly there was margarine-gate.  A gross over order of margarine has been enthusiastically stowed by the crew in Brisbane in what we discovered to be a haphazard variety of places.  This margarine has a melting point of around 92 degrees and we first noticed the signs that this had been reached when dribbles of yellow liquid started to run out of one of the stowage cupboards in the top of the galley. 

On further inspection a capsized tub had leaked its entire contents into the locker.  “There's more!”  Came a distraught cry from a crew member peering into the locker where the crew laptop was stored.  Like a good Hitchcock movie, by the afternoon every nook and cranny of the boat was oozing yellow gooey liquid.  Complete disaster!  Especially when we used up the last of the washing up liquid trying to combat the yellow grease.  The entire front line crew, wearing Rambo-style kitchen roll bandannas to soak up the sweat were sliding around the boat, covered head to toe in margarine.  “Don't worry”, I reassured them “after the battle is won there will be plenty of Huggies baby wipes for you all to degrease with”.  Victualler#1: “umm, about the huggies...
Blog # 2

Typically on a racing yacht, the conversation of degrees is in reference to physical position of corresponding points of latitude and longitude. But as our degrees of latitude increase and we head towards the Equator, our minds cannot get off of the degrees of heat we have been and will be suffering.

Imagine waking up in a pool of your own sweat.  Now multiply that by four times daily.  Oh yeah, and no cold shower to wake up and refresh.  Morning, midday, evening, it doesn't matter, below deck is an absolute sauna... and not in a relaxing way whatsoever.  While training during the UK winter months,  retreating down below for a cup of tea was a saving grace, but here in the tropics, approaching the doldrums, the least amount of time you spend below... the better.
We've managed to rig a wind scoop in the fore-peak, allowing a steady flow of air to rush down below, and now the former no-go-zone of the boat has become the top sleeping commodity.  Yesterday during our dog watch, we had a proper slumber party in the sail locker with all four bunks unoccupied and essentially dead bodies sprawled across the sails.

We heard from the skippers' blogs that Qingdao reported 32 degrees Celsius below deck at 0400 hours.  There was a conversation about us not having a thermometer, and it probably being a good thing not knowing exactly how hot it is; we can feel it.  Jo has installed small USB plug fans in a majority of the bunks, and I have no shame in clutching it to my chest as I fall asleep.

"You know how to wake up the other watch, just unplug the fans," Jo commented, as John sprung out of bed asking what was going on within two minutes of us briefly unplugging the port side fans to plug in the electric bilge pump.

When you are living in the deepest depths of Hades, high tempers come with high temperatures.  Luckily our crew has tried our best to maintain our cool as we know that crossing the doldrums with hot temps and little to no wind will be a true test of our will and team spirit.

I would write more, but I think you get the point.  Now I need to get on deck quickly before I melt even further from the heat radiating off this computer screen.

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