Are we nearly there yet?

It is Saturday lunchtime + we are about 100 miles south of the finish line
(give or take a tack or two). I have just had pasta for lunch with a
liberal helping of seawater dressing!

We have 23 knots of winds + there are waves with white horses as far as the
eye can see. The view could not be more picturesque – pale watery blue sky,
candy floss clouds + a deep blue sea generously decorated with those waves.
We have had these conditions all night + now set for all day – maybe good
for racing but after 6 hours on deck just about every muscle in my body now
wants a rest. The going is quite frankly ‘rough’ although in the ship’s log
it is officially recorded as ‘slight’ – the guy (+ it almost certainly was
a chap) who came up with that scale was clearly made of tougher stuff than
I am.

Sailing at such a steep incline (the middle wire on the rail is now
permanently in the water) generates two emotions – excitement when sitting
tight and fear when required to do any manoeuvring round the boat or
execute an evolution (sail change). At the moment fear + muscle fatigue are
my default setting.

Unlike the young bucks I am not up to lithely leaping round the boat under
these conditions. My principal fear is that I will fall – onto/into
something hard + uncompromising – followed by being washed over board + I
have no plan to sample either of those delights. So instead I am attempting
the ‘move only one limb at a time’ option – although when you find yourself
in free-fall from one winch handhold to the next this is not always

Fear aside, sailing like this is undoubtedly life in the rodeo lane + lives
up to the anticipated challenges I thought this adventure might throw up.
You just have to accept that if nothing else you are going to get wet. So
although ideally as crew we are supposed to sit up on the high rail up by
the shrouds (‘first sea-breaker’) we have all migrated down the boat
towards the helm + even there we are not spared a soaking.


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