After a fine few days in Brest, tweaking, scrubbing, requisitioning, fixing and over indulging, we are now underway again and are racing for Rio de Janeiro, over 4,000 miles away. We waved goodbye to the smiling faces ashore and headed off in our parade of sail towards the start line, making our final preparations as we went.
There was lots of breeze, and we were relieved when we were given the instruction to start hanking on the Yankee 2. We had been let off wrestling on the foredeck with the enormous Yankee 1. For now.
Ten minutes to go and we hoisted the headsails and tried to get back into the ocean racing mindset as quickly as possible. It was not all plain sailing, and Olly's bellowing voice of 'I do not expect to have to tell you to do this again...' was heard many times. I won't go into the detail of the crimes involved, but we managed to pull ourselves together. We crossed the line on starboard tack towards the front of the fleet, short tacked to windward for twenty minutes before leaving our first, and only mark of the course to port, squeezing out GREAT Britain who had not established an overlap soon enough for us to have to give them water. We bore away, changed up to the Yankee 1, raised the code 2, wrapped it and brought it down again, and then raised the code 3 which we have held throughout the night.
We are heading across Biscay towards Finisterre at around 10 knots, with only a couple of other boats still in sight. My watch, the Jets, has just handed over to the Sharks so we can get some sleep after a testing night one. The Jets are gelling into a dream team already, and I will briefly introduce us.
I am Rosie, watch leader, and am rumoured to have 'a good outside voice'. Mark is my assistant watchie and is always there to offer the best advice available on any situation and the safety of the rest of the crew. Nick is our demon navigator, and although very keen to spend more time on deck than he did in Race 1, has also admitted there are benefits of being the nav when the conditions are not so perfect. Then we have De Lage Landen's Tang, the undeniable muscles of the watch, and Steve who likes to get on the grinder with the girls to raise anchors and cables from the bottom of the channel.
And then there is Lizzy, our amazing, if one shoed (someone threw away one of her new shoes before we left yesterday) and ever smiling chief victualler who has done her very best to ensure that we will not go hungry for the next four weeks. Then there is Charlotte, our Bosun, who endeavours to keep everything above deck in order. We also have Arend who loves to take the helm, and steers the boat very straight in any direction required, Gary, who is the first to make us all laugh and feels particularly at home with waves crashing over his head while wrestling with a sail on the bow, or at least he will do in a few weeks time. And last, but by no means least, we have Denise, our chief sail maker, always keeping a watchful eye over any manoeuvre that may result in her having to fix something below deck down below for many hours - our first kitemare last night made her pretty nervous! And that, in a nutshell is the OneDLL Jets.