Race 1 - Day 24
Crew Diary - Race 1 Day 24: Liverpool to Punta del Este
13 September

Al Jay
Al Jay
Team Qingdao
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After every party comes the inevitable hangover!

We were celebrating going through the Scoring Gate first and picking up three points last week and then had a well earned rest as we motored through the Doldrums. Annoyingly the forecast was wrong and we had adequate winds to sail but once the engine was on, it was a 60 hour trundle through 6 degrees of latitude before resuming sailing hard into the wind heeled over for days.

The hangover felt very real as we saw the chasing pack overtake us on white sails and begin to pull away. Such a change in the leader board subsequently led to a flurry of sail changes and constant trimming for days and nights for both of our watches, there was barely even time for a celebration or party as we crossed the Equator entering into the Southern Hemisphere.

We finally drew our own conclusion of how the other Clipper Race boats were actually sailing faster than us on the good ship Qingdao. We have once again taken stock, finally had some rest, and put our clocks back to -1 UTC hoping to have breakfast at sunrise and make the most of our near 12 hours of daylight.

We have begun the next phase of our race, The Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint is now underway with another three points up for grabs as we pass through the sprint gate at-5 degrees South. We are once again heeled over hard into the wind, giving it our best shot at the extra points up for grabs over the next two days.

Meanwhile, I am perched in the Nav Station with my feet on the ceiling and my back on a wooden bench typing this blog at 0200, on standby for the urgent shout: "Traveller down...REEF REEF get everyone up on deck!" Reef for the non-sailors (like I was a few weeks ago) means we are going too fast in too much wind, so we have to reduce the size of the main sail. A fairly well practised manoeuvre, but that said, it's hard to embrace it with any optimism when you scrabble up on deck with the rain lashing and the wind gusts increasing in pitch darkness, asking yourself whatever made me think this trip was a good idea? Inevitably we will cope, and later drag ourselves down below decks and clamber along the wall on fours and dry off, then try and find somewhere to lay down. Yes that's right, the Off-Watch crew are hot bunking in our beds and I cant retreat to my usual cave hole I like to call home whilst on standby.

Still looking on the bright side, my Mother Watch begins in a few hours. For 24 hours I can play my own music in the galley, whilst my head is pressed against a cupboard in order for my body to defy gravity and keep me upright, then serve 21 people three hearty meals each, plus bake bread and serve snacks in between ,tending to their wants and needs all day whilst mothering them like small children,. Yes that's pretty much like hangover, but without booze though so its not all bad!

“I cant wait for Uruguay and the opportunity to sleep in fresh bed, take a bath, and sit on an upright toilet.”

Love to my family and friends and my three little girls Nina, Lani, and Annie. Its good to know that whilst we are cut off from the real world, Brighton & Hove Albion have won their first game in the premiership, and the people in our lives back home are avidly following our race.

Hasta la vista, Al x