94. Message in (South Atlantic) Bottle

The departure from Punta del Este was exciting and emotional. I finally reached the stage when I just wanted to get on with it and get started. Have moved all my kit on board on October 22nd and weighing in very comfortably inside the target for multi legged crew members all my kit to last me until Fremantle not just Cape Town came in at 13.4kg including my bag!

Just  a few highlights from departure and first few days. Firstly we were happy with our race start. First across the line and a close run race particularly with Quindao who just pipped us to the first mark. We “finished” third but of course none of that counts. We then had a bit of a tactical slow patch while we sorted a few things out and watched the fleet divide.

Since then we have been racing hard and have watched ourselves claw up the leader. Board from 9th, through 7th and 5th to the morning of 25th when we were 2nd. We still have over 3000 miles to race. The weather has been sporty to say the least and we have been clipped on ever since leaving Punta. With the wind and sea on our starboard quarter we are surfing and rolling quite a bit and 3 of our number have been laid low with seasickness. Sadly 2 in my own watch. We are giving them every encouragement and support.

Life on board has settled quickly into watches and a sail, eat, sleep, repeat routine. Sunrises and sunsets have been beautiful and my first night watch was under spectacularly clear skies with the entire Southern Hemisphere star system on display. We had a dolphin escort in bioluminescent trails on night one and have seen plenty of bird life including albatross.

Our watch system runs fairly simply. Typically I would be shaken at 22.30 with just enough time to put on socks, 2 layers on my legs and 3 layers on my top followed by Musto sailing sallopettes that go over both and then my UNICEF jacket and sailing boots. These have waterproof gaiters that roll up over my sallopette trousers and stop seawater getting into my boots. My life jacket goes on over this. Add a hat, gloves, knife, headtorch and bingo- there you have sartorial elegance Clipper style. Probably best to brush over the fact that I haven’t actually changed any of my clothing yet!

The watch runs from23.00 until 0300 with the next watch being woken at 02.30. I then get some sleep before being shaken at 06.00 to dress and have breakfast before going on watch again at 07.00. I am then on watch until13.00 with the oncoming watch being called at 12.00 to dress and have lunch. I get my lunch at about 13.15. I’m then off watch until called again at 18.30 to go on watch 19.00-23.00. And so it continues this time off watch from 23.00 to 03.00 and on watch 03.00-0700.

3 thoughts on “94. Message in (South Atlantic) Bottle

  1. Thank you for this account – you bring the situation to life for me. I am cheering Heather on GotoBermuda, since we were at school together but I am following your journey through her connection. I have discovered today that the race viewer on a chromebook rather than a phone displays winds, tides and temperatures so I will be exploring those features soon too.
    Kind regards and smooth seas with fair winds to you
    Myra Dipper


  2. Go Keith – thanks for the news, night views sound great,all sounds great – from a great distance. Mind if I don’t envy your routine, here it’s 6pm beer & crisps, 8pm wine and dinner, 10pm wine & rugby and celebrations – wait a week – repeat


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