Race 1 - Day 23
Crew Diary - Race 1 Day 23: Liverpool to Punta del Este
12 September

Jeremy Hilton
Jeremy Hilton
Team Greenings
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What a difference a day makes . . . Being on the other side of the counter, I can only commend Derek for his achievements yesterday. The food he produced was great and very welcome as being on 45 degrees up top isn't easy either. As we have no wind instruments (lost when the spinnaker flew like a flag for a while before I cut it away), we need to check telltales on the sails and the windex at the top of the mast constantly. This isn't so easy in tropical storms. Imagine trying to look up Niagara Falls to spot a little moving arrow, faintly illuminated by the masthead lights.

We're sitting at 45 degrees again, but this time without the waves providing additional entertainment. It's quite difficult to believe we are making around 10 knots as it is so smooth. There is such a tranquillity at times and you feel very connected to all around you as well as feeling very insignificant. We have seabirds around us most of the time because, as we cause flying fish to fly away from us, the birds swoop down to feast. The Doldrums is the powerhouse of our world, which is hard to understand when the sea can be glassy, and wind absent. However, as Fred (Charles Ferguson) wrote, the clouds have been stupendous, constantly forming and reforming. You can see rain squalls all around, and then one forms and decides to visit us.

Greenings Seadragons have settled into a routine and we all still pull together as one, which is a great feeling. As with all families, there is the odd spat but, like all squalls, they quickly pass and are forgotten. We have our daily meeting to air our thoughts and share how we are feeling. Recently we decided to switch our longer watches to the night-time when it is cooler so we get better sleep. However, this means longer watches at night when it can be very tiring steering and sail trimming in dark squalls and moving round on a bouncing 45-degree deck, constantly clipping and unclipping tethers as we move around. Yes, we can put a kettle on and make a drink . . . The first challenge is to get some water into the cup. If you are lucky, you can half-fill the cup in the galley. Then you have to turn to make your way to the companion-way ladder. Ingenious use of small containers has made it slightly easier to carry more than one cup at a time. Using feet, one arm and hand and whatever bit of body is available, whilst also trying to find a non-slip piece of flooring, you traverse the 2-foot gap and get to the top of the steps. Up top, someone takes a cup, probably spilling some, and this may pass through a few hands until its destination is reached. I guess the cup is now one-third full if you are lucky. This is repeated, usually with at least one being dropped and replaced. However, the resulting lukewarm drink is much appreciated and the biscuit barrel does yet another circuit. No such thing as a quick cuppa. You can appreciate the feeling when the cups have just arrived on deck, closely followed by the skipper who calls for some action – trim/sail change//tack, whilst holding his tea. . .

Just now, though, I couldn't be in a better place. We've just crossed the Equator and are chasing down the fleet as best we can.

Love to all, Jeremy