After almost a month at sea in a combination of high winds, spray over deck and hot, humid conditions below deck, the ritual ‘deep clean’ is proving even more thorough than normal.

The boats are emptied of almost everything that moves, including the floor boards, and cleaned from bow to stern, sail locker to nav station.

Foul weather clothing (foulies) is hung out to dry, life jackets checked and decks cleared.

The crew is also responsible for ‘routine’ maintenance, including the winches used to raise, trim and lower sails; and to hoist crew aloft to inspect rigging and components on the mast, ascending almost a hundred feet to the very top.

The big job can often be sail repair when spaces on and off-site are commandeered to lay out the vast areas of white sails and spinnakers, as rips are mended with strips of material and the sewing machines each boat carries.

PSP Logistics Skipper Max Stunell was clearly pleased to get the clean completed. He said, “The deep clean is essential, especially after such a long, hot race; in fact we’ve done a Super-Deep Clean here. When you have a lot of people working, eating, sleeping and living in such close proximity it’s also important for hygiene to avoid any build-up of dirt or food that could become a breeding ground for bugs or attract insects. Plus it improves the atmosphere aboard, literally, so it creates a fresh environment again for the next race.”

In the latest episode of our TV documentary ‘Race of Their Lives 2’ currently being repeated this weekend on Bloomberg TV – the deep clean in Cape Town after the South Atlantic crossing is featured to give a brief insight into this stopover ritual.

Louise Thomas, a business travel agent turned sailor aboard IchorCoal, is seen explaining the process: “The deep clean is the most important thing we do when we get into port, together with the maintenance. In your normal home life you don’t realise how much mess you make because you clear it up every day. We clean the galley and floors of course but food can get everywhere, especially when you are at 45 degrees.”

So with the deep clean and initial maintenance out of the way, crew are looking forward to having some time to discover the delights of Da Nang and Vietnam, from organised sight-seeing trips to just relaxing on the beach and enjoying local hospitality. For the more energetic there are activities from a bare-foot beach run to kayaking on the river.

Episode 2 of the Race of Their Lives 2 is repeated today (Sunday 21 February) on Bloomberg TV in Europe, the Middle-East and Africa at 12.00 GMT, mid-day in the UK, (13.00 Central European Time). Bloomberg TV in the UK can be seen on Sky channel 502; Virgin Media channel 609 and Freesat channel 208.

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