Race 13 - Day 4
Crew Diary - Derry-Londonderry to Liverpool
25 July

Catherine North
Catherine North
Team Sanya Serenity Coast
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The night is darkest, just before the dawn. This race, Number 13 is proving that with plenty to spare. Yesterday, for me was glorious, why I sail: perfect temperature and just a light 10 knots in the right direction to make trimming a challenging joy. We had left our main competitor behind and did a couple of smooth tacks against the backdrop of the beautiful, wild Irish coastline just visible 5 miles away. On top of all this we saw dolphins and pilot whales AND another beautiful sunset. My heart and soul were happy. Just in the background of all this joy was the expectation of stronger winds in the coming hours. Bunks were made tidy and we reviewed the procedures for putting in reefs. The last time I remember putting in a reef was Leg 7.

I woke up at 9:30 today to begin Mother Watch and the winds predicted had arrived. I believe this was one of the most difficult lunches I have cooked. Almost everything that could go wrong did. The ham for the Macaroni and Cheese took a dive onto the floor. We were on such a steep heel that there were gravity issues getting water to pump through the taps, making washing-up more challenging than normal, and the macaroni was cooked by the absorption method like rice (not enough water for the volume of pasta, luckily, just enough so it was just cooked and there was no water left to drain out). Washing up is now finished, it took twice as long as normal, being on the steep heel and struggling with water volumes. I was caught, having a feeling sorry for myself moment by one of the off watch. Smiles and encouraging words were shared and I now feel better. Dinner won’t be as hard because our wonderful victualler Jan has cooked all our main meals and frozen them so all we have to do is reheat the Chili Con Carne and cook rice. It is quite bumpy still so sleeping tonight will be exciting.

As I said, darkest before the dawn. We have had a few races recently where the sailing part was not so physically demanding. In 3 days we will be finished and this will all be a memory. We will be with family and celebrating our accomplishments and probably wishing we were still going on, not finished. I’ll miss these days, the glorious ones and the hard, ham flying across the galley ones. And of course my new Sanya brothers and sisters who have made the glorious more and the hard, less.

I’ve just been told that all is not bad news from above decks, the competition is in sight and we are drawing closer. Reminder that this boat loves the wind, the stronger the better so I’ll pull up my socks and put on a happy face. They will at least have friendship with their dinner and fresh bread for breakfast.