The Leg 2 crew members Anne, Fiona, Jean, Nokulunga, Paddy and Sue got their the introduction steps from the parade of sail, start overlooked by Sugarloaf Mountain and then racing along Copacabana and Ipanema beach. Following this Invest Africa headed south and most of the fleet south east.
Day 1 and 2 served to get the new crew working with the experience crew. Day 3 then came as new for both as we sailed into the South Atlantic with wave, swell, wind picking up having to replace out trusted spinnaker with Yankee and main reef. We truly got our Atlantic welcome with spay and wave washing the deck and wetting the sailors true and true.
Day 3, and it feels like we have been at sea for ages now – everyone is settled into their watches, the daily roles (navigation, engineering, cleaning....) are running smoothly behind the sailing scenes, lovely wafts of cake are coming from the galley, male members of crew are showing off new facial hair styles and most of my clothes are soaking wet and salty.
After 48 hours of Rio sunshine, wind and waves greeted us on the Race start day and ever since they have been accompanying us down south along the coast of Brazil. It feels great to be driving hard into the wind, surfing down waves again! Last night I was in charge of Lightning Watch (our wonderful watch leader Simon was on mother duty). To be honest I was a bit apprehensive about it as we were flying the heavyweight spinnaker in moderately difficult conditions with half the watch not being too familiar with its temperamental ways. But despite the green seasickness monster roaming the decks, everyone pulled together to keep us going fast while preserving the kite in one piece and most importantly we all had fun, whooping sounds accompanying every new wave surfing speed record. Big thanks to all the watch for their support!
Just before lunch skipper Rich came on deck to “drive the bus” for a bit. I was on the helm at the time and relished the chance to rest my arms and head (with gusts of over 30 knots, keeping the kite flying while maintaining course required huge amounts of concentration and sometimes a lot of physical effort). I thought I would go up on the bow to take some photos and video (on my media monkey role) and then relieve the trimmer...but with Rich driving I should have really known better. At first the bow was relatively wet, just the usual spray coming up from the waves, next the bow was totally flooded leaving me hiding in the hanked-on staysail folds for spray free air and grabbing onto the inner forestay for footing. I hope the video was worth it! Next I walked back to the shrouds to take the kite sheet from the trimmer, one wave after another hit me straight on, I struggled to see the spinnaker from all the water pouring down my hood into my face. Then came the big one, it was literally like someone had poured a swimming pool of water over my head. I heard a bang and next second my lifejacket was fully inflated with flashing light and spray hood flapping about. Thanks Rich!
By way of recompense for the soaking, the lunch was delicious, vegetable and chorizo stew with lettuce (yes, real green crunchy lettuce, this is a luxury at sea), followed by Julie's amazing chocolate brownie served with coconut milk (absolutely yummy!). In the evening, Craig spoiled us with real Yorkshire pudding and vegetable and beef stew. Thank you very much mothers!
Finally, I would like to report that my rig monkey training is being put to use every watch change to climb in and out of my bunk (it is rather high up and I am 5'1'' and ¼). I have also become much better at tying lee cloth knots - you could probably do a BASE jump from my bunk to the bilge board below and without a parachute rig I am not keen to attempt it!