Clipper Race 2017/18 - Charlie's Voyage - The Final Countdown
Charlie reflects on week four of the Clipper Round the World Race as the Dare to Lead team began their countdown to the finish line of leg 1.
Starting off with the Medevac of fellow crew member Jerry Stokes due to illness as well as losing his brother-in-law Scott to accompany him, due to the authority’s requirements, which saw us say goodbye to two amazing crew members. It's strange how much of an impact losing two crew members has had, especially for the other watch (their watch). Meal times often see the Mothers looking confused and looking for the missing crew, when we remember that they are no longer aboard but with the Brazilians. We are all hopeful to see both their smiling faces when we reach Punta del Este and I am sure they will get such a warm welcome from us but I'm not so sure we will smell as fresh as them!
A hard week of sailing
Since the medevac we have had a week of hard upwind sailing, sailing as close to the wind as possible, which has meant heeled over at 45° and crashing into the waves. Doing anything over the last five days has really taken every ounce of strength that you have, simple tasks such as moving around the boat sees you in the mindset of a climber looking for your next hand/foothold. By the Galley (kitchen) we have set up a safety line which is basically used to pull ourselves from one side of the boat to the other and each time you pray that your feet do not slip from underneath you. Otherwise not only is it another bruise but you have to start your climb again. It’s like the worst kind of game you could think of.
My lowest point
Day 26 – Wednesday, saw me hit my lowest point. It was this day that I was really ready to get off, had it been feasible for me to get off on that day it would have been very hard to say no. With the conditions making life hard, sleep was even more pertinent and for some reason, descent sleep was eluding me and my motivation and strength was almost gone. In desperate times like these, you rely on fellow crew to help chivvy you on as well as a stern self-talking too. I knew that we were due to turn downwind in the near future and at such time life would get better, plus this is what we all signed up for right? To get pushed out of our comfort zone and to our limits, this is just the beginning. “Better a bad day on the water than a good day in the office”. On the night watch, I was also hit by two flying fish within fifteen minutes of each other! If this was King Neptune's way of chivvying me on then he needs a new game plan.
However, on better news, toast. Such a simple thing in land based life yet boat based life proves to be such a challenge. Here my experience with Rona Sailing Project really shows and after years of trying different ways and suffering either; dry, rock hard 'toast' that you can chip your tooth on or really just warm bread, I now have the know how to make the ultimate 'boat toast':
- Take one oven tray and place upside down on either the big round hob or two of the smaller rings, allow to heat for a few minutes
- Place slices of bread on top and dry fry
As long as your slices are not door stops this is the most effective way to make toast taste like land based toast. I must say I do make the best toast on Dare To Lead!
1000nm to go
As this week draws to an end we are less than 1,000nm to go, it really is the final push. With us back to downwind sailing it is all about getting the most speed out of the boat and surfing down the waves, you really can feel the boat pick up and accelerate away.
We have already picked off one of the boats in front so now it’s just a matter of time and effort which will see us claw up a few more places in the final few days and miles. Plus, I think I can remember how to walk on dry, flat, static ground... We'll see soon enough!
This blog was written by Charlie Garratt, Clipper 2017/18 Crew Member and 3Si Ocean Safety Ambassador.