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Race 2 – Day 16

Invest Africa - Julie Kerckhove

24 SEP 2013 - Race 2

Have we finally passed the Doldrums... Only time will tell, however today we have been sailing! Which is really why we are all here. Though the midday dip in the middle of nowhere was very appreciated yesterday by the crew it had become very frustrated to stand still, alone in the ocean and not getting anywhere, in fact going backwards which is what we managed to do at some point!

So today the moral of the crew is good, everyone is enjoying the breeze on their face and the boat down below feels cooler as well. Not only is it slightly fresher but it is also clean as we managed a total deep clean of the bilges, galley and the accommodation area during our “stopover” in the ITCZ.

We nearly took along an extra crew during the last Thunder watch as a sea gull tried desperately tried to land on our mast. In the middle of the Atlantic this is high-class entertainment! Despite all its efforts it did not land, which is pretty disappointing and even more so that in the whole process it managed to ruin our windex. Hopefully we will be able to send someone up the mast tomorrow to fix that.

Julie K

Thanks Julie, so I suspect that as the resident rig monkey I will be going up the mast tomorrow to fix the windex after the seagull incident! Maybe he was hoping to build a nest up there.

One peculiarity of sailing/parking in the Doldrums is the constantly shifting wind, both in direction and strength - one minute you are happily steering SW and the next you have to steer N to keep the sails flying, so you raise the troops for a quick tack helping the headsails round the forestays (with the Yankee, this is similar to taking a stubborn giraffe for a walk round two palm trees), of course the moment the Doldrums spirits realise that you have tacked, the wind shifts despite not going anywhere fast in the last few days we have been busy on deck.

Besides giving our boat a mini-deep clean (and inevitably discovering some strange items lurking in the bilges...socks, screws, sail repair patch, bright pink wool strands, rehydration packets, lonely peas), a lot of the crew have taken advantage of calmer conditions to catch up on personal washing so our stern guardrails look like an eclectic lingerie store, waterproof sealskin socks hanging alongside polka dot knickers and tea towels.

The gas solenoid is not performing, so today's mothers had to find ingenious ways to produce 3 meals, queue bircher muesli style porridge, rice cooker steamed apricot bread, pasta, rehydrated mushroom, spam and chili salad, three beans salad with rice cooker potatoes. Besides the cold porridge, the rest of the food delicacies were a resounding success. We also found some skittles and Hobnobs in the day bag (a very good day indeed).

On other important news Ozzy, the Ellen MacArthur Trust puppet, has been up to no good, grabbing winch handles with his teeth and trying to grind in lazy sheets on primary winches, brushing his hair body below deck and cavorting with Helen. He is now serving a night of penitence in the sail locker. Read more in his special blog coming out in the next few days.

Also Skipper Rich has finally changed his t-shirt.

Best of all though, the boat has a healthy lean angle, a solid breeze is blowing across deck, so we are charging along and Rio seems less far away now!

Natalia Shoutova