From Pollywogs to Shellbacks
We have finally made it! Today we crossed that long awaited line of latitude and left the northern hemisphere behind. About an hour before lunchtime Woolly watch was woken up to join the on-watch Jaegerbombers for the official crossing of the line. We all gathered on deck around the two helms and counted down the minutes and seconds. Right on time a bottle of cava appeared out of nowhere only to shower the crew on deck and to be offered to Neptune!
The celebration of the crossing wasn't until the evening watch handover. And at 5pm we were all summoned to court. Being the only boat led by a female skipper, it seems only natural that the only person in our crew who had crossed the Equator before was (female) Mona... our Neptun-a of the day.
So at 5pm sharp, a happy bunch of people, all dressed in fancy dress (thanks to Hannah and Paul our social secretaries for this leg) made their way to Neptuna's court (our cockpit) and the ceremony began. Each one of us Pollywogs had to face Neptuna for their sins and was 'punished' by being covered in a mixture of mustard, ketchup and mayo... to join the ranks of Shellbacks!
Here are the sins (not to be taken too seriously). Find your loved ones and see what they have been up to on board Switzerland:
Vicky: misuse of medical equipment for intravenous caffeine intake (we have learnt that her caffeine levels directly correlate with driving this boat harder)
Charlie: creation of a footspa money making scheme to distract from the race (his repeated efforts to save our water maker couldn't prevent the flushing of one of our bilges... the water maker must have pumped 10 litres of salt water into our bilges for every mere litre of drinking water produced.... this led to a discovery of that bilge a perfect foot spa!)
Gordon: has allowed his fear of heights to interfere with his bosun role and refuses to service the heads
Aly: arrived as a drug dealer but failed to push and share her habit (she is our onboard medic!)
Heather: having escaped from the nuthouse and spreading her germs of 'nuttiness' around the crew
Roser: draining the generator whilst recharging herself as the Duracell bunny
Hannah: for providing us with crazy fancy dress items for the crossing of the Equator
Ralf: spending the majority of his time in the laz creating his home brew
Mario: the wind seeker, can be found so close to the wind, his face gets stuck in the same smiling position
Carlo: the Italian housewife, who occasionally goes missing on the bow with ants in his pants
Tom: Dr. House for prescribing Whisky
Chris: clogging up our Satellite system with awesome low budget movies
Jonathan: innate ability to answer questions yet remain asleep until 5 minutes before watch change (he is a tricky one to wake up! I've now started trying to shake his bunk after the 2nd wake up call has gone unnoticed)
Antonio: Italian stallion often caught in the act of kissing his own 'guns'
Paul: creator of a data spreadsheet that still chucks him out at the bottom of the leaderboard (Paul and Paulo co-created a multi-formula spreadsheet to calculate helming efficiency taking into account speed over ground, course over ground, wind speed and wind direction! ... and at the end of the day Paul and Paulo came out at the bottom of the leader board!)
Paulo: belief in the outer world to create a warp speed gate to get us to Rio
Lindsey: for hoarding vital items from the galley for 'rationing' purposes (she is one of our victuallers after all, and despite some moans and groans, we appreciate the efforts she makes to keep us well fed - a task I wouldn't want to be facing any time soon!)
Greg: looking far too comfortable in his Huggies baby wipes photo shoot
David: sharing his female weekend dress from a Saturday night
Marlis: for sleeping around the boat (she can be found sleeping anywhere on this boat: the sails, either of the saloon benches, on deck, ...)
Karina: for making sweet things out of the daily slops (yes, we've had porridge biscuits and weetabix cake!)
After the ceremony and a couple of games, we all had dinner as a crew and then continued with our normal routinely dinner-update and watch handover.
Apart from all things equator-crossing, we continue to have great wind and a relatively calm sea state. Helming is fun in these conditions! Everyoneis still sighing their sigh of relief of having left the doldrums behind.
These great sailing conditions are also a good counterbalance to the frustrations (shared by some) of finding ourselves at the tale end of the fleet and an ETA into Rio closer to the 10th of October than the 1st!
We learnt today that the race start for Leg 2 has been postponed by a day. It is much appreciated by all, though we still won't have a very long stopover in Rio. We are mentally starting to prepare ourselves for a quick and intense turnaround.
The tight water rations continue, but with the cooling effect of the wind, it seems to be easier for us to cope and we even had some leftovers last night. So yesterday we saw our first cup of coffee/ tea in a while! What a treat!
Warmest (literally) wishes from the Southern Hemisphere to all our loved ones at home, to friends and family and all our followers! We all look forward to catching up with you once we are in Rio!