Race 2 - Day 7
Crew Diary - Race 2 Day 7: Punta del Este to Cape Town
11 October

James Wrightson
James Wrightson
Team Sanya Serenity Coast
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Its Wednesday, exactly a week since leaving Punta, embarking on our next leg of this mamouth adventure. Expectations were high, from the crew, the supporters, that Sanya would do well. Our run of good fortune from leg 1 finally came crashing down during the first night. Accidents happen, we all know that. We also know that if we follow the rules, clip on, keep low then the chances of something happening is reduced. Well let me tell you, things do happen when you least expect them. Let me make it perfectly clear, the entire crew are all well and have learnt a valuable lesson – expect the unexpected. The early morning watch had just started, there was a strong wind and moderate sea, with reasonable swell, all pretty constant and predictable. As watch leader I had been discussing putting a reef in with the helmsman and decided to move up the boat to inform the skipper of our intentions. Clipped on to the high side cockpit jackstay, I moved back along the cockpit until I reached the companionway. I was about to move up to the high side to check the crew sat on the rail were ok. Still clipped on the cockpit I moved up to clip on the high side deck jackstay, as I raised myself up a large amount of spray came over the deck. I stopped and ducked to avoid it. As I looked up again I was hit with what felt like a concrete slab in the face. I was washed backwards. A giant wave from a different direction hit the boat. All the crew bar one was knocked off the rail, the helmsmans glasses were washed off his face. The skipper in the nav area was knocked off the seat. It was a big wave. All I remember was lying tangled in the side netting on the low side, my lifejacket inflated, light flashing and AIS activated. Then the pain and the realization I could not move dawned on me. I was tethered to the jackstay and was caught undere the yanky sheet by the pressure of my inflated lifejacket. I gathered my thoughts and signalled to the crew I was stuck but ok. Then I was underwater, it seemed like a lifetime. As I was on the low side, water was sweeping in and I managed to get a few breaths before going under again and again. Then the miracle, or really a very well trained competent crew coming into action. A team got the boat sailing again, a second team released me and ensured I was ok and moved me below to recover and get medical attention. Some damaged muscle tissue, huge bruises and limited movement in my left arm is all I have to show from this incident. What we learnt was that waves can hit out of the blue, so prepare for the unexpected. But we are also thankful for the quality training Clipper provide and the teamwork that this new family provides, looking out for each other .

A new perspective..... as I have now spent 6 days confined below decks, as my movement is limited, I see a very different view of life on board. It kills me not being able to sail and be above deck. Instead I get to see both watches, seeing them go on and off watch, like a parent seeing your children going off to school, listening to there tales, there concerns when they get home. Not that I miss the cold and the wet!!!! I see the constant work that goes on below deck, the emptying of the bilges, the mothers preparing food, the skipper checking the weather, the engineers doing maintenance and so much more. Its a constant hive of activity. Interspersed with very soggy crew members coming off deck to simply spend 10 minutes trying to warm up. Then there are a few times at night where below deck its quiet. The off watch are asleep, mothers asleep, on watch above deck. leaving just me to ponder how lucky I am to be here with such a great new family, sharing a dream. How lucky we all are.