Hard to believe it’s been just over a week since we set sail… the boat and crew are all getting into a groove. My original intent had been to blog daily, however the sea state hasn’t been conducive to sitting below focused on typing. I need to get better at that, if nothing else to try to remember all the cool stuff…
Le Mans start – first over the line, however we kept the Yankee and Staysails up longer than the others, and also didn’t have on deck like rest of fleet, so took us a while to sort that out, and we then dropped right to back of fleet. The first race day was a bit odd as the day watches all got mixed up. We got some good pics and vids (to be uploaded when we get signal again!)
We got the Code 1 up eventually, for all of several hours, at which point it kind of went kaput, ripped from the head all down to the clew, thankfully on the tape line, so it’s now going to dry. That’s when most of the boat started feeling ill. I couldn’t stand up without throwing up due to a very mixed sea state, more like washing machine, so didn’t eat yesterday have just managed small amount of pasta. I couldn’t move from the galley bench, layered up but couldn’t move to the deck, sorry guys. Whacked a seasick patch on before going to sleep so feeling much better now. Overall the sea state settled tons so everyone’s feeling much better, although still not 100%. TMI warning -urine less cola coloured and more treacle now, it appears discussion on your wee colour is normal whilst at sea😂 The team dynamics are a lot better now at sea, which is fab. The very expensive clipper diet is working!
The mixed sea state continued for a few days, and on board we have a 6 day rotation of jobs: bilges, navigation/engineer, heads, deck, mother & cleaning. Of course I got the emptying bilges in the mixed sea state. Which when you’re laying on your stomach, with your head in the bilges trying to get all the water out, not good. It was a case of empty a bilge, throw up, lay down for 5 mins before moving to the next one. We have 8 bilges to empty -fun fun fun. I’m painting a glamorous picture right?
I’ve been doing some helming, with coaching from Brian (thanks Brains)!! Did try at night, but managed to crash the gybe in mixed sea and wind state, got it back, but it’s one of my biggest fears, can’t let that put me off though. JB (our awesome first mate) and I have agreed he’s going to get me back on and do more coaching during the day, big girl pants on. I’m learning a lot more about wind, apparent v true, very cool and James is going to start showing me sail stuff & rope work, whipping ropes etc. Which is all stuff I’m really keen to learn…
Each day is the same, yet at the same time each are very different. We’ve had pods of whales, dolphins during the day and at night, the night dolphins stayed with us for over an hour, playing alongside us in the bioluminescence and squeaking constantly. Fran & I were whistling so clearly we now think we were communicating with the dolphins. Tons of birds here too, a lot of albatrosses, the brown footed variety apparently! (Jess, who’s editing these for me, thinks that birds with a 2 metre wingspan are very scary and shouldn’t be allowed)
We saw a really cool thing the other day, a 22 degree halo. That’s when ice crystals form and you get a rainbow around the sun. It was perfectly formed, and we’ve all got some amazing pictures of it circling the top of the mast.
The wind picked up massively in the last few days. We put up the Code 2 as we have proper North Pacific wind and waves, so we we were rocking an a rolling for a few days, tearing along, eating up the miles. When in the middle of the night/sleep time for me last night we got an “all hands on deck”, when you wake from sleep for them there’s a panic as your getting clothes and life jacket on that it’s a man overboard, thankfully confirmed it was just hands on. We get to deck to find our Code 2 had also decided to attempt swimming, but had also had a tussle with the halyard, spreaders and everything else that it deemed was in its way before swimming. Head had split in two. Took us about an hour to get the damn thing back on board. James is just starting to try to repair code 2 so we can get a kite back up. Unfortunately needs a sail shop repair, from reading some of the other boats, a fair few have damaged kites.
We’re now just past the California border into Mexico. Another few weeks to go, and we know we’re at the back. The tactics to head out and get the better westerly wind before the others didn’t pan out quite as expected, which is frustrating, but we’ve just been told it’s only 70 miles to the boat Zhuhai so, fingers crossed we can keep eating the miles up and close down the gap. (Jess note: since Jojo sent the email, there’s now only 50 miles to Zhuhai, so they’re doing amazing at catching up!)
Time to dash, pot noodles for lunch before heading up to deck for my shift.
Hope you’re all well, luv n hugs