Race 14 - Day 11
How are you doing this ‘Ocean Sprint Saturday’, can’t believe that it’s the weekend already, the week has just flown by. Personally I can’t believe that tomorrow it’s ‘Clean Pants Sunday’ again, which also means eggs and bacon for breakfast on the good ship Seattle, now that’s what I call living the dream. Some of you might have picked up from Friday’s blogs, on Capt’n Jones from WTC Logistics comment, that Seattle’s current performance was down to the fact I was in full race mode because I was on a mission. Well Dan, you are correct, definitely on a mission, that's a promise, but I’m not going to go into details, just keep looking over your shoulder.
The crew continue to display fantastic drive and enthusiasm. Even on Thursday evening, when I held an unscheduled team meeting to inform them that there was a course extension of 230 nm, just under a day longer, based on current daily runs. After the initial slumping of shoulders, I pointed out there would be an additional day of awesome sailing, more opportunity to see more amazing wildlife, we reduce the chance to get wind holed on the last 30 miles to the Finish Line based on current weather, and more importantly, there’s another whole day of my jokes. They went wild, jumping around, hugging each other, waving their arms around, rocking back and forth then crying, with delight I think!
Evolutions continue to get better and better, as smooth at WD40 sliding over glass. The early hours of yesterday morning while GoToBermuda were bearing down on us, we needed to switch from the Code 2 to the Code 3, increasing wind and a small tear spotted in the Code 2. The two watches combined and with very little fuss and minimal conversation, only key commands, the switch went without fault and we weren’t ‘bareheaded’ for a moment. It was a shame it was the middle of the night, as it would have made a great training video.
We then spent a period of time in the company of GoToBermuda and WTC Logistics. After 2100 nm of ocean racing, the front three lead boats all a line abreast and about six miles across, shows how incredibly tight the racing is. However, within a few hours the other boats started to slowly pull away. I had a concern that this might have a negative effect on the crew. No, on the contrary, it has fired them up even more. The helms and check helms upping their game. The watches talk through the next possible evolution, so everyone is clear in the position and where they fit in the ‘relay race’. The fighting spirit is very humbling for #1 and myself, and fits in perfectly, with the Seattle chant “Here we are ready for battle; Who are we ~ SEATTLE!”
Now, I mentioned in the last blog the naming of waypoints and how the hours fly by in the Nav Station, while #1 and I chuckle at coming up with what we think are amusing references. When not having to think of names, as sometimes there can be a couple of thousand miles between the waypoints, we play ‘Name the Animal’, which is more a favourite of mine than Hannah’s. This involves using the 1° degree GRID (weather file), then panning out and slowly scrolling through the timeline, while watching the different coloured areas (which indicate different winds) move until an ‘animal face’ appears, among the high and low pressure systems. Currently there is a small bear face, caused by a ridge of high pressure collapsing across the Atlantic, producing its eyes, while the acceleration zone off north west France, near Ile D’Ouessant forms its nose. The pressure gradients around the rest of the Atlantic fill in the rest of the face. The great news is, dear reader, you too can play this at home or work, on something like Windy.
There was an amazing parrot while crossing the North Pacific and disappointingly, a baboon who I called Eric and developed quite a rapport with on this race, has now disappeared as the high pressure ridge collapses. Yes, time to go home now I think and step off the boat for a bit - however I bet a number of Skippers and AQP’s will have a sneaky little play of this ‘hour filler’ between here and Gosport! (Don’t worry ‘L’, it’s not what it seems, I haven’t lost it completely, I’ll be fine after some down time - honest.)
Talking of home, at the time of writing we are the same latitude as Winchester, and getting back to the UK is suddenly very real, with around 950 nm to the Finish Line on this race, then London and Race Finish looms. Right ‘Deep Heat’ rubbed on the legs, the crew have their spikes laced up and we are off on the sprint, see you at the other end.
Enjoy National Sugar Cookie Day, not going to rush to take part in that personally.
Standing by this channel,
David & #1