It doesn't seem ten days since my last entry into these pages. Time, if not distance, is certainly flying by in Invest Africa land. Much of the last week has been dominated by the frustration of being stuck in the infamous Doldrums.
We drifted into our first proper becalmed state on Sunday last, and ever since have been getting used to regular helpings of bobbing and wallowing, served up with a hearty side of sail slapping, all washed down with copious draughts of sweat. The occasional squall gives us the opportunity for an impromptu refreshing shower, but within an hour, hot and sticky sensations again predominate.
The guard rails at the back of the boat have become home to wide range of axillary sails, ranging from t-shirts to tea-towels as we attempt to reduce the rankness of our presence. However, it is now entirely possible to identify fellow crew members in the dark using the sense of smell alone.
This must be how a dog experiences the world, I suppose.
How do we spend the time? Natalia has just said that we should break the law as much as we possibly can, as it will not be possible for people to persecute us [sic] while we are at sea. Well, she is a lawyer so ought to know, but I'm not sure I'm convinced. The 'Ents' committee (one finds oneself resorting to the language of WWII British POWs) has tried to organise Friday night deck disco, Keep Sunday Special activities – including air guitar - and a teddy bears picnic. Meanwhile, the escape committee (headed of course by the Skipper) continues its efforts to break out. We are currently on our third tunnel and are running out of places to put the sand.
A great psychological moment has just passed – we are now less than 2000 miles to Rio. Once we start proper sailing again, the next great event will be the Equator crossing.
I am reminded to wish Happy Birthday to Phil, who will be joining the boat on Leg 5. Have a good one Phil, from all the Invest Africa current crew.
Speaking of current crew, I find that there are a few more introductions outstanding. Allow me to bring forward into the limelight the following indispensable persons:
Lee Cloth – thin, but strong. Although he spends nearly all the time on his bunk, he manages to stop people falling out.
Boom Vang – strong silent type, usually supportive, inclined to get tight and hold everything up.
Jack Stay – lean and stringy through constant running up and down the boat. While often a useful assistant, he can sometimes be hard to reach. His brother Bob quietly gets his nose down and keeps out of sight.
Gennie Set – one of the backroom girls, turned on in hot dark places. Said by some to be high maintenance.
Well, that's it from me this diary – and, hopefully, this race...