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Race 4 - Day 4

Invest Africa - Sylvia Chahonyo

08 NOV 2013 - Race 4

Hi everyone, back again on leg three.

What a pleasure Leg 2 was with Sue who is the most generous person and always has a smile on her face, Fiona who is the epitome of grace and determination, I am sure there is a picture of her next to the word lady in some dictionary, Didi who has been mother, agony aunt and chief of whipping and splicing for two legs, Pricsilla who always does her best at everything she puts her hand to and inspires us all to push ourselves and JD our Gentle giant who is funny, hard-working and caring. We miss you all dearly.

Getting into Cape Town with a podium position on my birthday exactly 14 days after we left Rio was awesome. My Sister Bev who shares a birthday with me flew in from Nairobi on the same day and we spent a lovely week in Cape Town's Pepper Club. Was also good to see my favourite Clipper Race supporters David Cusworth and Sir RKJ (aka Malaika) who always remind me what this is all about when I get the 3am I am cold wet and want to quit and wonder WTF I am doing here. It was also fab that so many of my friends had taken the time to come see me in Cape Town, I am very lucky to know that when this journey ends you will all be there (Andrew, Shaad, Zoya, Ngugi and belieber Carl)

I am back on Thunder Watch with Andrew Cross as watch leader and Frenchie as assistant watch leader. The Golden girls have been replaced by the boys club – Gavin, Bruce and Sean  (South African), Mbongiseni (Sapinda Rainbow rep on Leg 3 also South African) Chris (Canadian), Brendan (Kiwi), John and Adam (Pomme) leaving only 5 girls in the crew...me, Frenchie, Irish, Jonsie and Russian.

Today Skip informed us that we are back in the Southern Ocean... what a ride the last few days have been. Gusts of up to 79 knots with 8 to 10 metre swells. Lesson for the leg, clip on, keep warm and watch out for one another on deck. Without sounding too cliché...the Clipper Race challenge is more than just sailing, its about learning to value your life and to look out for each other because if you don't things can very quickly go very wrong. We are very fortunate to have a skipper who has sailed with the Clipper Race in conditions even worse than this. He pushes us to do our very best and definitely does not call a spade a spoon but at the same time makes sure we are eating well, getting enough rest and keeping warm. Thank you Rich.

Hope to speak you again before we get to Albany in the next 3 weeks or so... we might even get some sunshine before then.

xoxo

Syl

It feels like an eternity since our departure from Cape Town. We are leaving many new friends from a truly beauitful country . They took us to their hearts and treated us like kings.

Sue Leg 2 told us she had prepared a very special party and didn’t disappoint. One of many all equally crazy. Stellenbosch her home where we were entertained was an unforgettable day. 

The food and wine fantastic, as was the wine tour, and the penguins at Boulder Beach.

Our sponsors too entertained us and we met representatives from Sapinda Rainbow Project who are involved with the Nelson Mandela foundation. Who are raising awareness to raise money to build a new children hospital in Johannesburg . Sapinda Rainbow's roll is to sponsor 8 children each doing one leg of the Clipper Race.

On Leg 2 I met Nokulunga who eventually she came out of her shell and used to make fun of me and sing like a song bird. Our daily greeting was WAZ UP.

On leg three we have Hit Man a cheerful character who sleeps above me, he tells me I am a Makhie to you all out there that’s a neighbour. And also Skhokho, that means good man. Last night my self and chief of staff mended his sailing boots with stikaflex and kevla. He was so pleased his little face could have lit up Cape Town.. Boot supplier David Cusworth hang your head in shame. Would you have ever sent your own child to sea in this equipment? Taking time out to integrate and listen to these children is very important, and we can all gain and learn lessons. Some of these children had never even seen the sea before. Full marks Sir Robin.

Back to departure, We have had to say good bye to among others our very own golden girls, Lady Fiona, Lady Yaya and Priscilla queen of the desert. Lady Yaya is now writing her agony Aunt column in the Sun,

These girls have been replaced by French resistance, Irish and KGB, impossible to say who are the prettiest but the latter approximately 100 years younger.

So departure day is with us, and what a specular send off. South Africa

Good bye for now, I will return. On the dock I phoned my Mother her voice elated at hearing from me. Her operation has gone well, but she asks where I have been.

Busy I tell her but leave out that we gate crashed a party held by the British consulate dressed as a nun with a penguin and mini mouse as my companions.

When I left England I bode my Mother fair well and thanked her for everything she has done in life for me, as there is always a chance I would not see her again. Her reply Well you always were crazy weren’t ya.

A fitting conversation .

We are sailing across the southern ocean the new crew are bonding well, but this test will be our toughest to date. In our briefing   the tone of the skippers voice deepens as he stresses safety, safety, safety. As beautiful as Mother Nature is we are now seeing her in her rawest form. This band of brothers must unite and stay safe.

Finally my thoughts turn to one of the reasons I am here, from being a little boy I have always wondered what it was like for my grandfathers in the war. From level 1 training in the English Channel I could only wonder.

Now I truly understand the danger so many brave men and women from many nations had to go through. We carry far more safety kit, but are not in danger of being torpedoed...(we hope ). Lest we forget for our today they gave their tomorrow. God Bless them all.

For the first time in 43 years I will not have purchased a poppy. I will also miss a very proud event for my son who in his role as town mayor will lay a wreath at the cenotaph in Congleton .

Apologises to Martha once more for missing your 18th Birthday, my love and thoughts are with you and George always. Good bye for now xx DAD

PADDY HAYES