Race 4 - Day 2
Crew Diary - Albany, Western Australia to Sydney
03 December

Tzen Chia
Tzen Chia
Team Unicef
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Port time

Four evenings in Albany

We don't blog while at port, though a lot of race related things happen.

On land. We transform and metamorphose into our land selves, some similar, some a one eighty reflection of our boat selves. How we have evolved from bare necessities to our creature comforts as standard. We are still eager and reliant to get connected and the value of wifi is priceless.

Ocean racing is as much about maintenance as it is about racing. At port, Checking, fixing, mending, improving on our home and boat.

After our first sight of land, beers on board and the deck is filled with familiar faces of family and friends, we have to wrap up and bring this boat back into shape through thoroughly deep cleaning, a rig check and safety check. Taking every floorboard out, cleaning every nook and cranny.

The importance and necessity of every bolt or minor valve that has the potential to lead to a domino effect of accidents continues to astound me.

Filing down a hank on a sail and lubricating it so that it will open and close easily which is a 5 minute job on land, would save confusion, an extra pair of hands and possibly an extended period of time on the bow at night or in rougher conditions. Every effort on land is worth the extra convenience when out in the ocean.

Nothing is for certain on a boat, six hours before our estimated arrival in Albany, our starboard runner deck pulley fitting, burst into mid air, yanking itself off into mid air. Fortunately, no one was within a metre of it and no one was hurt. I was on the helm when it shot into the air with ropes flailing in the air after a loud bang. It took a while to figure out what was flying about in the air, as it was all over the place.

The one loose bolt that led to the failure of the deck fitting, let the runner blow, leading us to have to tack immediately, as it supports the mast and also acts as a guard to flogging Yankee sheets. For the rest of the race that extended another 14 hours for us because of this one weak spot, we could not safely tack and sail to our best point of sail, again increasing our overall sailing mileage.

It seems the default expectations on a racing yacht is that everything breaks. Keep vigilant, checking and maintain. Don't sail the boat to failure, but be proactive about fixing and replacing.

Below deck hasn't been as good with maintenance. In our increasingly on demand, single-serving, disposable landscape, we have accumulated yet another variety of plastic containers on each leg, hoping to survive ocean crossings. Our wish-list of things to improve on keep growing, though unexpected tasks keep increasing in priority. Leg 3 and 4 has seen some successful attempts at fixing our whale pump, electronics etc by our engineer Rex on board, in which we are truly appreciative.

On a personal front, Out of our many things to do in the snap of your fingers turnover in Albany, is laundry. Yet, four legs in and we still make rookie mistakes. With our array of technical gear, not all launderettes might cope with, many of us prefer to launder independently. However, with the time we had, some of us have started the leg with damp gear and sleeping bags that ironically hoping to dry out by sleeping in them.

At our first small port, clipper crew fill the town. We've been so fortunate to have local of each port on our boat so far that have showered us with generosity and warmth. The amazing extent of the clipper race that has brought people together, Special thanks goes out to Albany locals, Jan, Bill & Michelle & Julie who took us out to the Great Southern Region Wineries, Castle Rock Grape Jelly that we now have for breakfast. Kate's friends from home to came to visit in Albany, Linda & Martin who have their own canal boat back in the UK, and helped with transportation and the rope of our reef 2. Neill's friends Russell and family, Meg, Jamie & Angelina and who also ferried some of us about to expedite the mission to mend our medium weight spinnaker. Which gave us another first, wooling the medium weight on land, in a large warehouse, which further put the scale of it into perspective. Not precise with my knowledge on ball sports but, as it is Often compared to a tennis court, the medium weight it is definitely larger than a basketball court. Lastly, all the friendly locals who came to drop by and shared our wonder about sailing around the world.