Escape from Mother Watch

It is Monday morning – welcome on board Jamaica.

I am sitting here in the Nav Station with Skip Pete and fellow newby crew
member Jenny sitting behind me studying SeaPro (the on-board navigation
information system) poised to start the first ocean sprint of Race 11 – and
we’re off! Not that it will be too much of an actual ‘sprint’ – the wind
speed is 6 knots at present but that is 6 knots better than nothing and we
are definitely making the best of the conditions we have so ‘Go Jamaica’.

The conditions on board are what might be described as ‘hot’ (actually
‘distressingly hot’) – yesterday was an absolute scorcher with an cloudless
blue sky + temperatures that make you feel you are melting (especially if
you are on Mother Duty).

Being a troglodyte (ie. on Mother watcher – doing the cooking + general
housework) is like being in a sauna for 24 hours. The highlight however is
that you are allowed a shower – my first for 9 days! My shower was bliss +
I was tempted to stand in the ‘heads’ (toilet) + just let the water
evapourate on its own to cool the temperature of my skin. However, as it
was the middle of the night instead I went up + sat on deck + just
luxuriated in the feel of the cool air without all that condensed sweat
which makes you feel like the sticky strip on the back of a post-it.

During the day the view is one of empty blue skies and an empty darker blue
sea. It is SeaPro and the ‘schedules’ (position reports) every 6 hours –
and the intermittent sighting of Mission Performance (CV23) on the horizon
a day or two ago – that tells us we are racing. But racing we are. We are
doing our very best to squeeze whatever can be squeezed out of the wind –
long may it remain our constant companion! Our race tactics will have to
remain a mystery (because they are to me!) – but suffice to say that on the
schedule from yesterday evening we were ever so slightly gob-smacked to
find ourselves being rated as in the lead. Jelte’s (data whiz, experienced
sailor + fellow Leg 7 joiner) sophisticate + probably more realistic chart
has us coming third.

This morning the slight haze + thin cloud-cover has rendered the
temperature more bearable –  although still a balmy 33 Degrees C in the Nav
Station. There is another clipper boat on the horizon, well just the top of
their mast really – Garmin maybe?/GB? – Chad (fellow crew newby) + Pete are
sitting here studying our progress. ‘Citing! Are we progressing faster than
the competition? When should we gybe next? Couldn’t tell you!

However for me the highlight of the morning definitely has to go to the pod
of 50 of so dolphins who were gambling + generally enjoying life around our
bows. The international judges definitely awarded top marks to the dolphin
who executed a magnificent leap well out of the water with five twists + a
perfect entry. Makes you glad to be alive.

… meanwhile those 90 miles of our ocean sprint are being eaten away.


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