Race 14 - Day 4
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Crew Diary - Settling into the racing routine
Race Strategy: Today was our first day of exhilaration after the exasperating leg from Bermuda to New York City. Skipper Ian’s strategy hatched with AQP Dan emphasising a course line that kept us in the wind and favourable currents using our white sails (Main, Staysail, and Yankee 1) seems to be paying off. At dawn this morning, we switched up to our Code 2 spinnaker and enjoyed fantastic speeds all day long as we turned northward on a direct course line towards the finish. Our position in the fleet appears to have dramatically improved after consistent speeds in the mid teens most of the day. The boat loves flying downwind with a spinnaker, and she is doing what she does best right now. There are occasional opportunities to briefly surf the 1-3 metre swells. The overall strategy is to be careful with our spinnakers and make sure we still have all three intact at the end of the race. Conservative sail choices will be the rule throughout the race.
Life On Board: We have been on ‘the rotation’ since the first day we left NYC. Known as ‘the rota’ by the crew, it’s a way to cycle the two crews on and off the deck on two 6-hour shifts starting at 7AM and then three 4-hour shifts starting at 7PM each night. It takes a couple of days to get used to for most people, but some longer. Your body’s circadian rhythm fights this adjustment with a vengeance, but soon it becomes a schedule that makes sense. Racing the boat becomes your job and this is how it works. We share bunks with people on the other shift and it is much less of a bother than I expected. This boat has a great crew and everyone seems to get along great. There is somewhat of a rank and order system. The ‘Worlders’ are the most knowledgeable and are always willing to help out with the many duty rotations we have scheduled for each person on the boat. There are no girl jobs or guy jobs, everyone has responsibility for chores from pumping bilges, to cleaning the heads, cleaning the interior surfaces, and cooking. We are a totally self contained microcosm of the outside world that is so far removed from it we don’t know anything about the news, stock investments, or neighbourhood ramblings. Things I miss: showers, ice cubes, my espresso machine, air conditioning, sleeping as long as I want, and my family. Especially by my wife, who reluctantly gave her blessing for me to live a dream she didn’t even know I had.
Upcoming 4th of July: What a fortunate event we will celebrate on Monday with a crew that is mostly Brits and people from the United Kingdom. There are the three ‘Yankees’ from the USA. I will call them Yankee 1 (Holly), Yankee 2 (Tom), and Yankee 3 (myself) as we identify our headsails! It will be really fantastic to celebrate our Proclamation of Independence from our British ‘parent’ with the Brits that gave us so many tools we used to create a new country, yet our countries enjoy one of the tightest alliances in the world. We have a special celebration planned with some surprises for the whole crew that was planned before leaving NYC!