Yesterday I reached a milestone in my Clipper Race sailing days so far. I finally plucked up the courage to leave my light weight Henri Lloyd foulies in the wet locker to dress up as a proper Clipperati in the Red Pro Shell Gore-tex Gear. I had heard some interesting feed-back from crew mates that 'the pants were leaky' and that the top was impossible to put over your head, so I was filled with dread trying it all on propped up against a bulkhead with a Henri Lloyd Nero mid-layer on underneath.
I am happy to report that the gear is absolutely great, especially the dreaded hood. There is no end to the adjustments and different set-ups of the neck cover, the inner seals, the half hood and the real prize, the dreaded bright yellow Clipper Race hood. Let me assure anyone in the fleet who has not made a similar decision yet, life under the hood is very good indeed. Pull it over your head and you are pretty much locked out from the outside world. Snug, cosy, warm and dry; the only thing missing is probably a set of ear phones and some music.. Needless to say that Skipper Pete hates the bright yellow Hoods. They are absolutely banned during evolutions, I wonder why really as most crew already have problems responding to Skip's instructions without the dreaded hoods! I think it is just his ploy to get his daily dose of crew soakings, always on the hunt to send some innocent soul up the foredeck, but with explicit instructions not to hide under the hood, as this piece of bespoke nautical tailoring engineering beats his intentions hands down every time.
Further evidence of reaching a temperature and soaking milestone as that today, Skip left his only pair of shorts and t-shirt worn the entire race since London in his bunk in exchange for mid-layer salopettes, the brand of which can not be mentioned in this context, but they are obviously a must to wear for him (he does however assure me he is 'on brand'). I see it as a significant change of tack and a sign of things to come, but very few other crew even noticed this distinct change in deck attire of our illustrious Skip. Where will he take us next in his determined drive for podium finishes?
We are closing off day 4 of Race 3, we have been on a tight reach for the last few days on a lumpy sea caused by winds of over 35 knots apparent, and many of the current Jamaica Get All Right crew have been stretched, including the crew members who stayed on after leg 1 and our RTW'ers.
We are on a port tack and this requires special acrobatic skills of the lucky ones bunking on the high port side. Every once in a while the boat falls into a wave and this causes the deep sleepers to roll around in their bunks, it also sends bone-rattling noises through the boat. Cooking and cleaning is another story, I am sure some others will comment on this later. Most notably though many have been unlucky with sea sickness and this has really affected their morale and sense of well-being. We are a tight team though and are digging deep to keep the boat sailing fast and help each other out in the process. Luckily most crew have now gone through the worst and more dinners and lunches are being eaten and are staying down…
We are the most Northerly boat at this moment and lost visual contact with the other Clipper 70s two nights ago. As Jamaica Get All Right, we don't really need the assurance of company to feel OK about where we are heading.
Off to my bunk now, up in 2 and a half hours for the 'Dog Watch'
Chris Vis, AKA as Vilku Morski, or Vissie