An absolutely beautiful day here aboard Qingdao, the sun is shining, for once, the wind is behind us and we’ve seen both dolphins and whales today. The dolphins were the beautiful type particular to the Southern Ocean – we didn’t see them long enough to confirm if they were Hourglass Dolphins again or a similar species, but either way they looked just like mini Orca as they zoomed past us.
The crew have been excelling themselves and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the team. Gold Watch (my watch – Phil’s watch are Red Watch, after our team colours) changed out and repaired the yankees today whilst also keeping the Spinnaker flying and performing an absolutely killer gybe to set us for the scoring gate. Guo Yangzi took the sail trim after the gybe and flew the kite beautifully, under the watchful eye of “Spinnaker Queen” Donna von Tunk.
At watch changeover, our Qingdao circumnavigator Zheng Yi “Frankie” took the helm and John Leyden took the first stint on Kite trim; John’s only doing one leg but he’s a great sailor and Frankie is one of our best helms (arguably the best helm out of the crew), so I know we’re in safe hands.
The “Qingdao Maintenance Crew” of Phil Siddle, Kevin Brown, Jody Shaw and Peter Gleave have been performing sterling work as always, keeping the boat in fine fettle. Keith Baker has been up to his usual tricks finding productive ways of staying busy – he’ll be sorely missed when he gets off in the Whitsundays.
Bertrand Hould has been prowling the decks with his notebook, making note of any hole (no matter how small) in our sails for future repair. Dr Mr Dr Pip Mills has been entertaining us all as usual, but don’t let his quirky sense of humour fool you, as he’s also an awesome sailor with a keen eye for detail and a double doctor to boot. Donna (heard that name before?) is also keeping herself busy on the sail repair front and as our medical officer – and she’s another crew member capable of having us all in stitches. (P.S. don’t worry – her activities as medical officer today have consisted of stock checking her medical kit, no one’s done themselves any damage).
Paul Maltby has taken a break from spinnaker trim today (God bless all dinghy sailors, his innate sailing ability puts the rest of us to shame) to tackle galley duty with Trish Grainger. They’ve certainly ingratiated themselves by serving a dessert with lunch, always a winning move!
Enough from me for now – if I gave a shout out to everyone I’d be here all day and my bunk is calling!
Love to everyone at home and also especially to my Dad on UNICEF, who I hope makes it to Fremantle in good time after their little detour back to South Africa.