Race 3 - Day 14
Crew Diary - Race 3 Day 14: Cape Town to Fremantle
14 November

Thomas Whittaker
Thomas Whittaker
Team Visit Seattle
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Well another blog from me, and all because I have a dodgy knee. Unfortunately I am confined below decks for the night watch because of a slight problem with my knee. Nothing serious but it is safety first and it is deemed better that I stay below for my own and others safety.

I must confess that at this point we are all wracking our brains to find something new and interesting to write about in our blogs. By now you have heard all about the food, cooking, toilets, sea conditions, whales etc. So what might be an interesting topic to write about?

So I decided to talk about the race from a RTW perspective. That is to say, what is it like being a RTW crew member while most other crew are on for one or more legs. On Visit Seattle, I think we started with 10 RTW and 50 leggers.

We are now on Leg 3 and as the RTW crew have already seen, many of the leggers do their bit, live their dream and leave the boat. At the end of this leg, we will see other 7 crew members leave either for good, or leave until they join us for a future leg. So each time we leave to embark on a new leg we are a new crew, with a new collective personality and a slightly different skill mix. One of the roles of the RTWs is to try to pass on the best practice that we have learned from other legs as well as integrating new ideas and skills from the incoming crew.

So far each of the legs have been very different in both terms of crew make up and the conditions we have sailed. On Leg 1 we were all at the same level and all new to this ocean racing business. The conditions were varied, but provided time for us all to really get to know each other; it was, after all, a 34 day leg. So strong friendships were formed, which we all hope will last into the future. Leg 1 was also the time when we had the chance to get to know the boat, and as far as spinnakers are concerned, learn some hard lessons. This experience is then absorbed by the RTW crew and passed onto the new crew members as they join.

By contrast before Leg 2 had even started, we had already lost 2 RTW crew to injury, and many of the leggers from Leg 1 had completed their own race of their lives. By comparison to Leg 1, Leg 2 was fast and furious from the start and there was much less "social" time. Before we knew it, we were in Cape Town and saying goodbye to more of the outgoing leggers. Some we had known from training, but if they were not on the same watch rotation then there was very little opportunity to really get to know some crew members in the same way as Leg 1. This is a pity, but I suppose it is just the nature of the race.

We are now on Leg 3 and already the RTW crew are feeling like the "old hands". I expect that this will continue as we go onto other legs. On this leg, we have several people who are "only" doing Leg 3. I know this sounds terrible; "only" doing Leg 3. After all Leg 3 is pretty awesome, but from the RTW perspective it is one of 8 legs. The really sad part is that we really want people to stay on with us and enjoy the complete adventure. Obviously this is impossible, but it is a wrench to lose people after each leg. This is something we will need to live with for the whole race.

So the future legs will continue with crew members joining, leaving and perhaps rejoining but the RTW crew, along with Nikki, hope that we can provide a certain stability and continuity of the "spirit" that has become a key aspect of the Visit Seattle family.

Thank you all again for your support and if there is a specific aspect of our life at sea that you would like us to write about then please let us know via the Clipper Race office. I am sure we would be happy to oblige!