Vicky Ellis – Switzerland
What a day on Switzerland!
After Sunday’s truly memorable send-off we started bright and early in the River Medway yesterday morning to a stunning still sunrise over the moored fleet of 12 Clipper 70s, all rafted together. After slipping lines we headed out to the race start location, hoisting main sails on the way and contemplating the first choice of headsails, poled out Yankee 1. When the helicopter arrived, brandishing the letters TV on its underside, that sealed the deal, Switzerland kite it was! It was the first time up on the boat and the coast was free of shipping and the wind direction as good as it could be, so under the pressure of being luffed by Derry- Londonderry-Doire and overtaken by Henri Lloyd, we pulled out a mean hoist!
The first gybe wasn't as pretty though, having decided to go with it earlier than planned and do an inside gybe that had been accidentally set up rather than an outside, however after a successful, well-rehearsed letterbox style drop and re- hoist we held our ground, albeit towards the back of the fleet.
Overnight, a few buckets were in use as the wind increased and tuned to head us as we rounded Dover. Forecast was for it to lighten overnight which it did and the morning has seen us creeping back in with the middle of the fleet.
Dawn came with a spectacular Spinnaker hoist and a knot or two more boat speed so a welcome cheer on deck! That and a pot of fresh coffee will keep us stoked as we turn our thoughts to the comparatively wide open space of the English Channel ahead. The mood on board is excited, optimistic and full of banter; Nina Simone sums it up well, ’it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life...and I’m feeling good!"