This morning started at for me at 0230 today when I was woken in time for my 0300 standby watch. In this heat the night time watches are lovely and cool compared to the extreme heat of the days and for the last couple of nights the moon has been spectacular, a huge globe gloriously illuminating the sky. Enough light to read by on deck. At 0300 this morning it wasn’t time for me to head on deck, it was time to bake. It is Izzy’s birthday and a birthday always deserves a cake. So I set to work as surreptitiously as I could as she kept walking into the galley…..go to your bunk Izzy!
Chocolate cake mixture made and the first of the tins filled and in the oven, Josh and I were called on deck to assist the on watch crew in a sail change, it was a Code 1 drop and white sail hoist. The cake had to wait while we helped on deck and then wooled the Code 1. To you landlubbers, ‘wooling the code’ means once the Spinnaker is below deck we ‘run the tapes’ meaning we spread the sail out as best we can. Stretching the tack all the way aft, down the port side through the sleeping quarters, the clew through the galley towards the starboard side and the head all the way forward to the bow in the sail locker. There are over 300sq metres of fabric to organise, untwist and repack as fast as we can ready to re-hoist. Once the sail is spread out the full length of the boat ensuring the luff, leech and foot are all untwisted, then starts the laborious process of scrunching and rolling and careful forming of the sail into a long sausage all tied up with small pieces of wool hand tied at approximately 12” intervals. Sweating from every pore and stopping occasionally to swig from our water bottles, Geoff and Paul started at the tack end and josh and I at the head. Hopefully all meeting in the middle with all the fabric distributed nicely along the roll. Yes, it was a beauty, looking good with a nice even roll we carefully manoeuvred the 95ft long sausage into the sail locker and meticulously folded it into its bag ready to fly next time. Tack at one end of the bag, clew at the other and head in the centre, so that even in the dark, the next crew to hoist the code can find all the working parts with ease. Code 1 back on its bunk in the sail locker and it was time to get back to the important task of cake. The first two layers were cooked and I had enough mixture left to make a 3rd layer. So with 2 circles cooling on the rack I popped another into the oven. Time ticking by, the chocolate buttercream was easy as the butter was so soft in the heat. Just in the nick of time before my 0600 on deck watch and the final layer was ready and cool enough to spread the chocolate buttercream on each cake before constructing a tower of birthday happiness. On board it is the little things that make each day special and cake is one of those things. At 1000 watch change the crew gathered on deck to sing to Izzy and share a slice of chocolate happiness.
Today has been a good day.
Happy Birthday Izzy