Race 3 - Day 16
Crew Diary - Race 3 Day 16: Cape Town to Fremantle
16 November

Shona Davies
Shona Davies
Team Dare To Lead
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Greetings, Clipperati supporters!

You're looking gorgeous today. No, really. Your hair is brushed, teeth cleaned, you're showered and dressed...maybe a bit of perfume/cologne. You look and smell AMAZING (probably).

Not so much us. After 16 days of sailing (as you've read, the majority of which was at an angle that made breathing difficult), we have sweated and mucked our way to a physical state that I'm not sure the wet-wipes are dealing with adequately; and as Pat mentioned yesterday, everything is either wet or damp which adds a certain funk to the air. Thankfully, there are no mirrors onboard and after about 4 days or so, my sense of smell disappeared and thus filtered out all but the absolute worst smells. True fact. Also, I'm doing a raging trade in essential oils to sprinkle on the bunk before bedtime.

Happily, yesterday the winds turned and we are finally downwind sailing! The boat has levelled out and our speed has picked up. We can actually walk from one place to another without bruising ourselves or others in the process. Getting on deck is no longer like having a go at being a Ninja Warrior. Doing our daily cleaning is less of an exercise in stamina that the cross-fitters amongst you would be proud of. Spirits are definitely on the up. Now we just need the sun to show its face and remind us that it exists...keep those fingers crossed!

Interestingly, this has led to a strange phenomenon I shall call Sleeping Beauty syndrome. Here's my theory: previously, sleeping was a fitful state of existence. Balanced on a knife edge of danger (am I going to be thrown over my lee-cloth with the next jolt?), one does not truly sleep....but you manage to doze long enough to make the next watch manageable. Now that the boat is flatter and sleep comes more easily due to the soothing, rocking motion of the boat, we are actually sleeping. Like proper sleeping. And 2.5 hours is perfect time for us to fall into perfect REM sleep; dreaming of burgers and wine (mine's a Stormhoek Chardonnay, thank you!), baths and water on demand, the scent of flowers, etc, etc. And so it has become increasingly difficult to wake people up. Myself, I consider to be a fairly light sleeper but apparently this morning it took 2 people a total of 5 minutes to rouse me. From a bloody good dream too – boo! I hurriedly add that although this is called Sleeping Beauty Syndrome...there is no smooching of damsels by princes going on here. Nope. Refer to second paragraph <vomicon>.

Right...I have reached my regulation 300 words (well, 447 to this point) and so I will think about ending. Only think, mind...I am a gobby git, after all.

So...highlights for me thus far:

1.Phosphorescence in the water...breaking waves sparkling light almost like the stars in the sky. Quite amusing when you flush the loo and the sparkles come cascading down the bowl :)

2.The birds that have been following us. I'm not much of a twitcher myself but I am just astounded at the number of birds – little and large – that are all the way out here. Incredible.

3.The glimpses of the stars that I've seen through the clouds – I love being able to see the milky way with my own two eyes.

4.Mothering with both Malcolm and Christian. They're both very good cooks and quite inventive with the limited ingredients we have to hand. I'm not much of a cook myself so it's been great to learn from the masters. Malcolm has also been a lovely and considerate (and non-smelly!) bunk buddy. Thanks boys!

5.Being out on the bowsprit...that pointy metal bit right out on the front..? It's quite exhilirating (yes, mum, I was clipped on...twice!)

6.Helming and working the bow itself. My confidence in my ability to actually sail this thing is growing. The training has obviously stuck.

7.The camaraderie of my fellow crew. These guys are amazing. When I've had my low moments (and there have been a couple even mentioned in these blogs), they have rallied to help me. Ditto when others are having a tough time, everyone does their best to help out.

8.There are so many more things! But I'm going to prioritise sleep over you lot (sorry kids!)

Before I go, though – big thanks to everyone who has written to the crew via Facebook or via emails to your loved ones on board. It really makes such a difference to hear from you and know that you're out there supporting us. Hugs and squishes from me.

Until next time, intrepid reader, Shona is leaving the laptop.