Clipper Race 2017/18 - Charlie's Voyage - Leg 2, Week 1
Charlie reflects on waving goodbye to Punta Del Este as team Dare to Lead and the rest of the Clipper fleet as they embarked on leg 2.
Saying goodbye to our Leg 1 leavers and the people of Punta del Este, Dare To Lead has once again sailed off into the Atlantic Ocean, next stop Skipper's home port – Cape Town.
Playing the joker
While we may have played our Joker Card there will be no joking around, we have our minds and eyes firmly set on the finish line and coming in ahead of the fleet, what with a potential 24 points up for grabs we do not want to let the other boats have a chance at taking the top spots before us.
MOB safety drill
But for now, let's go back to race start. To ensure everyone onboard is competent in a MOB scenario all 12 boats were asked to perform the MOB safety drill before racing commenced. Now picture this, a crowded breakwater full of general public and media personnel, a relatively small designated drill space and 12 70ft yachts all with the exact same dan-buoy and MOB dummy – what could possibly go wrong?! Nothing like a bit of pre-race pressure.
Thankfully, due to the Clipper Race training, we all know exactly what to do and like magic it happens, the only difficulty this time was making sure that you made it back to your dan-buoy and dummy. Keen lookout eyes were needed as it was like a Where's Wally of the ocean. I'm happy to report that although Qingdao looked as if they were going for our MOB dummy we were able to recover 'Bob' successfully.
With safety drills complete it was out into 30+knts of wind, which for those of us with Leg 1 under our belt it was like we had never hit land, for our newcomers...well let's just say they were a little green around the gills for the first few days. The news that we came out leading the pack for the first night certainly helped perk them up. Long may we continue to keep the lead.
Leg 1 was hot, hot, hot and leg two is wet, wet, wet; unfortunately we don't have the band to serenade us but our Ocean Safety life-jackets are providing us with the disco lighting. It's always entertaining for the helm when they manage to get a rogue wave to sweep across the deck and take out the watch sitting on the high side. As the drowned rats emerge from under the pool of the cockpit they are met with the wry smile and glistening eyes of the helm who is trying their hardest not to breakdown in laughter and keep us on a straight course.
Exposure MOB Torch
Of course no point scoring has started and all waves that have hit the crew have been purely at the mercy of Mother Nature...! My watch was also able to see my Exposure MOB torch, provided by Ocean Safety, in action as it dutifully started to strobe when it thought I had gone in and I can tell you now that there would be no missing that strobe light in the water! I think the guys were a little jealous for a change.
Great to be back!
For me, it's great to be back out sailing. Having enjoyed my time in Punta del Este and the ability to have showers and a flushing toilet on demand, I found myself missing the sound of the ocean racing under the keel. To my delight, I have the pleasure of sleeping on the low side this leg and let me tell you it's never felt so good to sleep in a cave locker!
We are back to our usual 45 angle, the sea has been reasonably gentle but large in swell and so far life is good, with a week already gone and just over a week left it feels as if this leg has been a weekend retreat... lets hope I've not spoken too soon!
Until next week!
This blog was written by Charlie Garrat, Clipper 2017/18 Crew Member and 3Si Ocean Safety Ambassador.