Well fancy being again, great to see you back, this “Amazing moonlight start” Wednesday. How are you, how was your break? Loads of productivity achieved, due to the extra time on our hands. Not too busy a stopover for us, probably the biggest maintenance task was the repair to the Code 1, which Dawn and Alex squared away fairy quickly in the end. Other tasks included topping and tailing a number of the halyards and some checking and servicing of equipment, in preparation for the big race coming up next.
The lead up to the Le Mans start was a bit of a warm day, after slipping lines at 10 o’clock local time we had till 7pm, for a training day. It was time well spent by the Seattle crew, although the local shipping might have thought we had listened to a strange forecast, as the first exercises we did was to hoist the Storm Jib and Trysail. A strange sight to see all the crew in shorts, ‘T’ shirts, sun hats and sunglasses below the bright orange storm sails. We also spent some time doing reefing practice, as it is a while since we have had to put one in in really harsh conditions, which we know we will face on the next leg. A new record of 1 minute 56 seconds was set by Sounders but it was a tight fought competition as Seahawks achieved 2 minutes 17 seconds and theirs looked neater, but don’t tell them all I told you that.
It was a first for me, with Richie Gould Skipper from WTC Logistics shepherding us together for the Le Mans Race Start, as it was in the dark, never done that before. Richie did a brilliant job given the added challenge of darkness and then a commercial merchant vessel crossing course right at the wrong moment for us. Eventually, we had the count down with added foghorn sound effects thrown in as Richie delighting in his MC role. And under an amazing moon rise the Seattle team hoisted the head sails simultaneously to get us to be the third boat up and running pulling away initially by quite a few boat lengths. Shortly afterwards we were into Dell Latitude Rugged Ocean Sprint 1, a race we had declared to take part in. The crew went into watch mode and we charged off into the night, which was almost day due to the moonlight, in close quarters with the rest of the fleet.
As I write this now 0330UTC, we have slipped back down the fleet but we are still in close proximity to the other 10 boats. The Code 2 is flying and we have been joined by dolphins and some of what I believe are some Swinhoe’s storm-petrels, chasing the flying fish we are causing to break out of the water. My sudden knowledge of sea birds may be mistaken, please note, I am getting used to using the recently acquired “Seabirds an identification guide”. Whatever they are they are quite busy and at times and noisy as they squabble over potential prey. (Thank you Lorraine and Peter C for the logistics carried out to get the book to me in Subic Bay)
We have five new crew for this leg, three are re-joiners and two join Seattle for the first time. I will introduce them to you tomorrow. Meanwhile, why don’t you ever see hippos hiding in trees? Because they are really good at it.
That's all for now,
Dave & Number 1