Sailing across the equator is one of the major milestones of Leg 1 and the circumnavigation. An achievement few get to cross of their bucket list, this landmark event is marked with a line crossing ceremony. This is where sailors make offerings to King Neptune to aid their safe passage.

Crew who have not crossed the equator before, referred to as polliwogs or tadpoles are required to air their sins in court whereby judgement is passed by King Neptune himself or other members of his court. After hearing their sins and receiving their offerings a suitable punishment is issued before being blessed, transforming the slimy polliwogs into trusty shellbacks.


IMAGE: King Neptune (AQP Sam Cooper) doused the Imagine your Korea crew with mashed potato as punishment for their sins

This week King Neptune made his appearance as the fleet races from Portimao to Punta del Este. The crew on Dare To Lead were hoping to have sailed unnoticed by the Lord of the Seas however crew member Angie Simpson reported: “The air was filled with bubbles and drum beats announced the arrival of Calypso and the court of King Neptune. Rising from the depths, Calypso, mistress of King Neptune, blew on her magic conch, calling to the great King to arrive and consider our worth to be in his kingdom.”


IMAGE: Horsing around on board Dare To Lead

Many sins were aired on board Punta del Este, varying from munching through stashed away chocolate to snoring and each came with their own verdict and punishment. Crew member Kati Kaskeala explains: “The anecdotes were numerous, with the crew doubled over in fits of laughter – until it was their turn to step in front of the King, and they heard their personal verdict: up to six big spoonfuls of a VERY dubious mixture of baked beans, milk powder and other unidentified ingredients being splashed all over them in the guise of a baptism.”


IMAGE: King Neptune procided over his court on board Punta del Este

Elsewhere in the fleet the GoToBermuda team offered King Neptune a poem with the hopes that it would aid a smooth transition, however, the court had different ideas as crew member Gerry Glover explains: “Sadly King Neptune and our one shellback did not think that this was enough for us to avoid being doused in a concoction of porridge, baked, beans, maple syrup plus other items from the Galley. Spread all through our hair … but it's worth it. Great day on board GoToBermuda.”

Mark Cilliers reported that Seattle had a small party on deck when crossing the equator and the team had a feast dedicated to Neptune. He wrote: “Wow, what a momentous day! The equator crossing celebration. Well, I was asleep at 0230 and was awoken to the cheers of the crew on watch crossing the equator line. Watching the numbers count down until 00º 00' 0000". I couldn't help but jump out of my bunk and go to the nav station to take a photo of our position. There was much partying on deck with glow lights and music.

“We had our daylight celebration this afternoon with some amazing outfits that have to be seen to be believed. Freshly baked chocolate brownies, Lays crisps and some gorgeous mango, peach and orange juices that we had been saving since Portimão.With hardship and adversity one's feelings of priorities change, what used to be so important gets reassessed.”

All crew after crossing the equator will be issued with a certificate which are traditionally awarded after polliwogs become trusty shellbacks. The new shellbacks are racing to Punta del Este and are expected to arrive between 12-16 November. For the latest ETAs see here.

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