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Race 4 – Day 4

Derry~Londonderry~Doire - Kristi Wilson

07 NOV 2013 - Race 4

What a difference 24 hours can make. As I am sure those addicted to the race tracker can see by now, the good ship Derry~LondonDerry~Doire are headed in the wrong direction. Well, I can assure you there is a good reason for that, but there is definitely know reason to be panicked. Sean knows what he is doing!

The crew on the Derry-go-round went from being excited about finally making it to the southern ocean for some big surfs, to being quite humbled by this giant sea and the power of waves and water.

About 20 minutes after being on the 6:00 AM watch half of our watch went below to grab a quick breakfast, leaving 4 people in the cockpit and two people on the helm. Those in the cockpit sat in awe staring off the stern of the boat at the large swells rolling under our keel, while dodging the giant splashes of water crashing over the side onto our backs. We double-checked to make sure everyone was sufficiently clipped on and discussed the events that resulted from the rough conditions from the night before (including me falling out of my bunk, luckily I landed directly on my feet!).

Just then a giant wave (white water, as we call it) came roaring at us diagonally from the stern/starboard side of the boat. Those on deck braced ourselves for the typical heel of the boat, having confidence she would roll right back up. Even seeing the boom dip below the waves didn't cause alarm, but then, she never stopped. The boat kept tipping over more and more. Those clipped on to the high side were left hanging by our safety lines, grabbing onto the coffee grinders, and holding onto the jackstay as the mast continued to lean over and dunk into the water. The water was rushing just below our feet as items on deck were washed over the side. After what seemed like an eternity, but was only a mere couple of seconds, Derry~LondonDerry~Doire popped upright again and the boat was left in a bit of a jumbled state.

Those in the cockpit all landed in a heap on the opposite side of the boat, the two at the helm scrambled to get control of the wheel, and below deck people were scrambling to make sure everyone was okay. The floorboards below deck all flew to the starboard side of the boat, the people in the galley were buried in the wet locker. The remainder of breakfast and contents of the galley cubbies were splashed against the saloon walls.

Although there were minor injuries sustained, we all feel very fortunate there wasn't more serious damage done to crew considering the size of the wave that hit us and the seriousness of being rolled. That being, said we are being diverted to Port Elizabeth to drop off one of our crew to ensure the injuries do not further progress.

The event of the day, definitely caused a very somber mood on board, but with the morale we typically uphold, we were right back laughing and playing music by dinner time. After reading books about the Clipper Race and watching the documentaries, we all know these types of things happen on the race that aren't of anyone's control and its a part of what we signed up for, but you can never be prepared enough. Safety continues to be a number one topic of discussion as we continue along the race. We know this means a more gloom end to our Race 4, but we are all supportive of one another and on this race safety and crew health is the number one priority!