"The Sea was angry that day my friend”, as a serious Seinfeld fan, it would be hard for me to not start a message from the South Atlantic without this famous George Costanza quote.
While the sea has definitely been angry at times the last couple of weeks, it is not so much at the moment. In what is defined as a “moderate” sea state, we are currently moving along very nicely on a broad reach under spinnaker in 20-25 knots of wind, just a little over 800 miles from our destination. The trouble is with the definitions of words like moderate and storm on an ocean race. The moderate sea state we are in is somewhere around 15 -20 feet and what is called a storm on this boat is something that we would have long ago given a name to where I come from.
The start of this race greeted us with an anticipated storm that was really impressive. Somehow, I found myself on the helm going upwind in 35-45 kt+ winds howling through the rigging, bow banging into oncoming seas. As I surveyed what I perceived as chaos and imminent disaster, our AQP, Cameron popped out of the nav station excitedly, proclaiming how much this boat loves this weather. He was right, as I was trying to figure out why in the world I was on this boat at that moment, this beautiful boat was doing its job, taking on the seas and charging ahead. There is little doubt that the Clipper 70s are the right tool for this job and in fact, make it look easy.
I am one of 4 new crew members in Washington DC that have joined the salty shellbacks that have already crossed this ocean and the Equator, and they show it. They all have a great deal of confidence on deck and easily thrive in the onboard life of cramped quarters, around-the-clock sailing, and the deep lack of everyday comforts. My hat is off to them, I have great respect for them and seriously appreciate their help, recommendations, and compassion. Now at 15 days in, I am happy that I have worked into some sort of routine but have a long way to go to measure up to their standard.
With the storms and calms, along the way we have seen some beautiful sights. Seals, dolphins, whales, deep blue water, and the Southern Cross. Our first week we had a full moon that greeted our night watches and we have seen some unbelievable sunsets and sunrises. Even with the struggles, discomfort, cold, and wetness, as I live out my few remaining days on a Clipper Race yacht, I know this experience will live with me for many years and the lessons learned will be forever valuable.
To my beautiful wife, children, grandchildren, friends, and family who have shown so much encouragement and support, I love and miss you all, we shall be together soon. And baby, don’t worry, I’ve been clipped on the entire time!
From the Captain, First Mate, and Crew along with our constant Albatross air cover we are off to the Cape of Good Hope, Table Mountain, and Cape Town.