Race 6 - Day 3
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Crew Diary - Hobart to Whitsundays, Australia
In the flurry of excitement of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race Start, in the midst of 200 other boats under sail; a moments excitement breaks the throttle handle off the engine next to the helm and the mechanism fails.
Three crew down later, commands shout from helm to companionway hatch, to engine room, to inside the engine room where the engine is manually adjusted between gears using a system rigged up with cable ties.
As with most fixes on the boat, an old mucky cloth that has been used to stuff the palm sized hole where the lever used to live for the whole RSHYR is now replaced with a weave of four layers of duct tape in all directions.
In typical weather off the coast of Australia, we are beating upwind, automatically equating to soaked on the foredeck and use of both tether clips to refrain being thrown about on deck.
A constant stream of water flows down from just In front of the mast, down below to the entry of the sail locker. This stream of water realigns itself with each bump and heeling angle of the boat, drawing a plumb line of water across the whole entry. The stream of water continues to swing back and forth.
Back on the foredeck, a brave soul with a thermos cup in hand and duct tape as a bangle clamours onto the deck with toots in their pocket. A vent has come loose. Dismantle vent, and replace with hacked off thermos cup and lots of duct tape. Leak temporarily solved.
At Port, sikaflex is added to the mix, but the thermos cup remains. The leak returns for visits occasionally.
In one of the more memorable scenes on deck off late, our routine of emptying biodegradeable trash overboard is one with trash flying in eddies on deck.
Who knew bucket handling and emptying was a learned skill on the boat. Always empty on the low side.
In the recent installment of trash overboard, on two consecutive attempts, said bucket emptier had not ventured far enough to the edge of the boat and angled the bucket enough. All sorts of paper and wrappers sloshed in food waste flew about the deck, littering the whole cockpit with trash, while also managing to get it caught in all critical parts, winches, jammers, gears and handles.
In a slow but eventual clearing, each piece of soggy paper that continued to dismantle under handling into bits, requiring more than several attempts to get off the boat as other obstacles laid still in its path overboard.
In our usual upwind battle, our cutlery drawer has managed to let itself loose calling for a treasure hunt of all 60 pieces of cutlery in the saloon.
We have also lost our pressure cooker which has flown across one too many times.
Our toaster stills survives.
Brilliant Scene #419
Off the many capes of the Tasmanian Coast, well coming round to Cape Raoul, off watch crew are on deck with iPads and other recording devices at the ready attempting to capture the beauty of
the coast. We may never have the privilege of that vantage point soon again. The rest of us watch in awe and admiration.
"Ready to Gybe!"
We have a spinnaker up, so there's more at risk. Our appreciation gets disrupted as we focus on the evolution.
We gybe successfully. Textbook.
We scurry about the deck, setting it up and as we are ready to hoist, while still rounding the cape, the largest pod of large dolphins swim towards the boat.
Trying to stay professional and focus while dolphins somersault in the air. We hoist and drop.
I'm with Henry at the bow as we switch over the tack lines. Henry on the bow sprit where the dolphins are literally tickling his toes as the bow ride. I'm so tempted to dive in to join them. They continue to swim with us till we complete the tasks.
What a scene, visual spectacle and sequence of events that will only live in our memory from vague perspectives as we successfully peeled the spinnaker at cape raoul in the company of dolphins.
Till the next random compilation of events.