Race 1 - Day 22
Crew Diary - Race 1 Day 22: Liverpool to Punta del Este
11 September

John Olsen
John Olsen
Team GREAT Britain
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Now I'm not generally one to grumble but I'm somewhat miffed with our crew medic, Dr Tessa 'Hardline' Hicks. She's simply not taking my health concerns seriously. I've pointed out multiple reasons why I should be excused from further hard work and given a period of enforced rest, yet she ignores them all:

First, the sweating. Just getting out of my bunk down here induces intense sweating. As does getting into it. As does every activity in between. Now everyone knows heavy sweating is the sign of a severe fever, don't they? But she'll have none of it.

Then there's the weight loss. I've no idea how much I've lost in the past three weeks but suffice to say my shorts are now being held up by a string arrangement of which the costume makers of Last of the Summer Wine would be proud. Does she care about this wasting away? Does she heck.

And then there's the general stress that comes from the intensity of concentration required for helming to optimise speed and position. And from listening to Graham Bell's playlist. Again, no dice.

If this carries on I'm going to have to start appearing on deck dressed in women's clothing to convince her that I'm simply not right in the head.

Talking of which, today we crossed the Equator, an event marked by a stunning star turn from the wonderful Ray Gibson as King Neptune. Ray is best known on this boat as the man who can fix anything and everything. I honestly think if I gave him the contents of my garden shed he'd be able to build a Clipper 70 from scratch. But it seems he's also a stand-up comic of some note. He masterminded a superb ceremony, ably assisted by his three maidens - Spencer J Bienvenue III, whose concern about which of his hairbands most effectively set off the rest of his outfit was, in itself, a concern; Phil Gunn, who seemed alarmingly at ease in one of Pip's swimsuits; and Graham Bell whose outfit could have graced a Spice Girls album cover. All crew were inducted as Shellbacks in suitable fashion, and the ceremony ended with a rousing cheer for Skipper Andy whose leadership, patience, coaching, and eccentric sense of humour have played such a major part in us getting here and set to arrive in Punta del Este a happy and united crew. A top man indeed.

(There Andy. I've said it. Publicly and in writing. Now please, PLEASE, will you have a word with Dr Hicks on my behalf?).

Special thanks to our social co-ordinator, Nicola, who works behind the scenes to bring some fun into our lives. Without her help, I would not have been able to conduct our Equator Crossing Ceremony. I tip my hat to you Nicola. Ray Gibson