Today we have Ivo, one of Rene's old school friends. Read below to find about the moment where the crew finally experienced what it was like to have some proper sailing wind.
"I started off the afternoon shift today saying “what do I have to write about in the blog today, nothing has really happened”, which serves me right really.
Starting from yesterday afternoon, the wind hole that we found ourselves in for the previous few days had started to fill in and breezes were beginning to pick up. This was welcome news indeed, especially considering that the instruments were gloomily extrapolating from our sea snail pace that we were likely to still be bobbing around in the middle of the ocean come Christmas time.
Traditional greetings such as “Good morning” or “Hey how’s it going” were slowly morphing into things like “10 knots mate, 20 apparent” as people emerged from the hatch onto deck, normally accompanied by a grin and a smug brag about the top speed of the boat surfing down the swell.
Whilst daylight prevailed the mood kept up, and the unsophisticated predictions of our arrival time dramatically improved. Night time, however, lends a whole new set of challenges to what are very similar conditions during the day. The horizon disappears, the winds can be more changeable and the contours of the sea vanish leaving the helmsman to steer by ship’s compass and feel alone.
The store of rest built up by the crew during the quieter days of the race rapidly dwindled over night as rolling swells and some nervy helming forced many out of sleep and in one case Miki out of his bunk.
We were beginning to appreciate the toll that these favourable trade winds would extract from us in return for a faster passage and could now look forward to 8 days of surfing through the swell rather than 15 days languishing without wind.
It is at this juncture that I made my rather ill conceived comment about the uneventfulness of the day. We had opened the package given to us by Global Yacht Racing for when we reached our half way point at lunch and had happily donned the animal face masks, tooted listlessly on the party tooters and scoffed the mini toblerones and haribo contained within.
After lunch and the festivities subsided the off going watch descended to catch up on their sleep and my watch clipped in to begin our shift which started very promisingly indeed. The skipper was asleep below, the first mate was helming and we were making good ground over the undulating waves. Seemingly tired of this excellence we then managed to silently contrive between us to break some sort of record for how many times we could broach the boat in an hour. At the end of an hour and a half of helming that anyone would have been proud of, I crested a larger than usual summit, caught a gust to the beam and was blown mercilessly down the back of the wave sideways, all the while heeled over to an alarming extent and veering some 60 degrees off course in the process. In a matter of seconds, I had gone from being totally in control, to wild panic, to handing over the helm back to the first mate for him to sort out to finally sitting on my hands motionless and wide eyed in the cockpit trying vainly to pretend that nothing had happened. Downstairs in the cabins, the stunts on deck were being keenly felt and some admitted that they had been hanging onto the walls with drastic thoughts in their heads.
Not content with just one terrifying interruption to their rest we changed the helmsman and repeated our accidental aquatic buckaroo 3 further times with 2 more helmsmen before the hour was out. Dan was keen to avoid his turn at yacht ballet so went below to make a brownie tray bake for dinner. Alas Poseidon had it in for the humble tray bake as well, and the most violent of the broaches shed liquid brownie mix all over the gas ingress at the back of the oven and rendered the resulting dessert a contiguous wedge of biscuit-brownie-cake.
As I write this we have handed the ropes over to the other watch, have just finished dinner and are waiting to see if our newly discovered chocolate gradation pudding might just be the thing that will propel us through the week to a podium finish in St Lucia..."