Reflecting on circumnavigation

14 September 2014

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After crossing four oceans and visiting and twelve countries, Team Garmin race crew Caroline Marrows reflects on her circumnavigation.

Most Challenging Moment:

Changing from a Yankee 1 to a Yankee 2 in over 25 knots apparent in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Not a hard job normally but we only had three people up on the foredeck, one in the pit and one helming. A little short handed for such a task but with brut force and determination we managed to get the old sail on board. A lot of chocolate was needed afterwards to recover.

Best Wildlife Moment:

A Fin Whale (all whales seem to be Fin Whales!) popping up a few meters off our starboard side in the Southern Ocean and had a good look at us. A little bit scary as we realised he was probably only a couple of feet smaller than the boat. I just wish we’d had a camera quick enough to catch the moment.

Most Unique moment:

Celebrating my birthday on the second day of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. It really was champagne sailing as bright sunshine and lots of wind. The crew made the day special. Kim made the most amazing Tim Tam chocolate cake, accompanied by a tuneful rendition of Happy Birthday. It was all topped off by seeing a pod of dolphins giving a fantastic display with leaps and tail-walking (they must have been Western Aussie dolphins!). A hard one to beat this year.

Biggest achievement:

Crossing my first ever Ocean - the Northern Atlantic. Although circumnavigating the world is a massive achievement, it was a very emotional day when we stepped off the boat in Rio.

‘Why am I doing this?’ moment:

Clinging onto the guard rail on the foredeck, just having been swept from one side of the boat to the other by a wave (clipped on, of course). Feeling the cold water starting to drip down the inside of my foulies, I knew there was no way I had a chance to get my inner layer dry in the four hours before we were due to be back up on deck.

‘This is why I’m doing this!’ moment:

Sailing through the Philippines was like something from the Adventures of Tintin. We passed small tropical islands with active volcanoes. The sea was aqua blue and the night skies were so clear, you could see every star.

The passing squalls added an element of excitement as we reefed down the main, only then to put it back up ten minutes later. It may not have been the fastest leg but it was definitely the most interesting in terms of nature and wildlife, especially with the odd suicidal flying fish hitting the deck.

Funniest moment:

After drifting in the Doldrums for a week, it was decided that positive action was needed in the form of a Wind Dance. With Jim and Carter prancing around like ballerinas with brooms as partners, Fred (one of our youngest crew members) emerges from a sail bag waving a piece of card like a wobble board to try and summon up the wind. Within hours the wind came so we must have pleased the wind gods in some way.

Craziest moment:

A shout from on deck of potential pirates sent the crew scrambling for their team shirts and up on deck. We were meet with four canoe shaped boats with outboards heading towards us. One was waving something, which we couldn’t quite work out. As they came closer we realised they were local fishermen with today’s catch of Tuna. A fair deal was struck, swapping ten Aussie dollars, a Team Garmin shirt and a mars bar, for five fresh tuna. That night we had the best meal on board.

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