Hello from the Southern Hemisphere!
So I am writing this to you no longer a 'polywog' (no idea about the spelling of this) but a fully initiated 'Shellback', which means two big milestones occurred on the good ship GREAT Britain today. Firstly we have crossed the Equator and are now sailing in the southern hemisphere, which in turn prompted the arrival of King Neptune and his court of the seas.
Today started great with GREAT Britain back up to full speed and clocking it's first 200+ mile day since entering the doldrums. So at 15:46, at a 45 degree angle and 10+ knots we catapulted ourselves out of the Northern Hemisphere and into the southern one. The milestone of 00.00.00N was counted down eagerly and when reached was greeted with huge cheers from the crew and hugs and handshakes all round.
With the excitement of the crossing starting to fade the crew were then summoned for the arrival of King Neptune, his wife and his bears, yes you did just read bears and no we've no idea why either. With the crew assembled and the king and queen in their places, the judge, Ollie 'the Gob' Phillips, called for order and brought out the first few to be sentenced.
Upon hearing their names the 'polywogs' knelt in front of the bears, heads bowed and awaited their sentence.
This came in the form of a slop bucket which was then unceremoniously thrown over the backs and heads of the victims, initiating them into the brotherhood of the ‘shellback'. The process was repeated for all 'polywogs' on the crew before the Neptune police had to round up a few stragglers that were yet to be sentenced.
Whilst all crew received the same sentence there were a couple of 'special' sentences handed out, cameraman Dan 'the cat' was given the bowl cut by organizer extraordinaire Nikki Banks, while Paul 'squirrel' Hardy got a special slop for crimes against the tuck box.
With everyone, including Steve 'King Neptune' Maybe, sentenced everyone thought court over, but the judge reminded everyone that this wasn't a normal court and that not only were the crew polywogs, but GREAT Britain herself was also one.
Step forward Captain Talbot (pirate hat, wig and sword all in place) to take the sentence for his ship and ensure she was initiated properly with an 'egging' to himself. With everyone a complete mess the fire hose was brought out and the whole crew had a dousing to clean up.
With spirits high attention will now shift back to racing, reeling in some of the other boats and sailing as fast as is possible to Rio. In fact as I write this skip is on deck talking trim and sail plans, so I'd best head back up there being the good watch lead I am and help out.
Chat to you all from Rio!
Neil 'Neo' Bennett, GREAT Britain