Race 3 - Day 14
Crew Diary - Race 3 Day 14: Cape Town to Fremantle
14 November

Patrick Mccarthy
Patrick Mccarthy
Team Dare To Lead
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Day 14 Aboard Dare to Lead

Well, here we are after 2 weeks into our Southern Ocean adventure leg. By now you will have all read about the trials and tribulations of dealing with the current weather and winds. Beating upwind for 10 days is no joy, and the descriptions you will have read about preparing food, getting into bed and general life on board have been fairly subdued. It all seems much harder when you are actually here and living it 24/7!

The actual physical effort that it takes just to get from one side of the boat to the other is often extreme. You wouldn't think of moving a further step until you have two firm hand grips and one foot well placed so that you can carefully move that other foot one step ahead, with care and caution! It does feel like a 24hr core body workout, as you never stop flexing, reaching, bracing, holding etc.

The other major factor that we are dealing with in these heavy winds and seas is the WET factor. EVERYTHING is wet! When we come below soaking wet after your watch on deck, we hang our foul weather gear in a wet locker. This has a drain on it where the excess water drips off and goes into the bilge, and theoretically, our foulies should dry off. But they never do. They are always wet on the outside from the sea and the rain, and often on the inside because of the sweat.

Since the boat has been at 45 degrees for 10 days, the rail and all of the port side hull are buried in the cold Southern Ocean. We have between 10-20 breathing crew below at any one time, and when the warm air meets the cold hull, that makes for a lot of humidity and therefore condensation. Add to that a boiling kettle, some rice cooking, or soup, and you get even more moisture.

All of this moisture collects on the cabin roof, until it pools into larger drops and finds a place to drop. As we sit on the benches in the galley, it often feels like it is raining on us. The water drips into your food, your coffee, onto your clothes and into your face. Dale always manages to get the drips directly into his eyeball for some strange reason! We try to wipe it away, but it reappears in a matter of minutes.

When you go further astern to go to bed, the drips have managed to cover your bunk, and clothes you have inadvertently left laying out, and your sleeping bag. Better hope it's waterproof and that you remembered to zip it up! As you lay in your bunk, you can again feel the trickle of drops break free from the walls and roof and find their way to you. If you take your wet wool socks and put them either under your sleeping bag, or in the bag with you, they will mostly dry out prior to getting up, which is a great help.

After some fitful rest, you then get up, retrieve those foulies that actually never dried, and start your watch by putting on soaking wet gear. Then come the boots. Not a pleasant start to the watch when you put on your mostly dried socks and stick them into totally wet boots. Then you grab your wet gloves stick them on, and head back onto the deck for your watch.

I think you're getting the idea, it's pretty wet out here.....

HOWEVER when you get on deck, you get the experience of sailing in this amazing ocean, in an undertaking such as the Clipper Race, and get to work with some brilliant crew mates and have an adventure that most will never forget, you soon are able to put that discomfort to the back of your mind. Your crew mates are there right next to you, enduring the same thing, soldiering on, and we are racing and going for it together.

It turns out that the wet is just one of many minor unpleasantries one must put up with in order to manage to have a brilliant experience in an extreme environment. And that's okay with me - just for a little longer!

Contributed by Pat McCarthy

PS – A special shout out to one of the most avid Junior Race Crew supporters out there, Ava McCarthy, who turns 12 on Wednesday. Happy Birthday beautiful girl, can't wait to see you soon and celebrate! XXXOOO