Clipper Race 2017/18 - Charlie's Voyage - Approach to Cape Town
Last week I compared this leg to a weekend retreat and hoped that I hadn't spoken too soon... I had
Atlantic 2 – 0 Charlie
Monday was one eventful day. I think I have just about recovered although I still find myself chuckling now and again.
One of my roles onboard is media lead which involves organising all the video/picture footage and crew blogs everyday to capture life on board CV25. And so, It all began with me spying the perfect media opportunity. With plenty of waves crashing over the foredeck continually managing to soak crew in the pit, I manoeuvred myself into what I thought was the perfect spot to capture the exact moment a wave would soak the rest of my watch sat on the high side. Focusing entirely on the victims on the high side, unbeknown to me the South Atlantic was reaching an arm out along the leeward side. Bam...full frontal assault. I found myself against the leeward helm emerging amidst coughs and splutters to find my entire watch untouched by the wave and beside themselves with laughter. Being soaked by waves seemed to be the order of the day wherever I went.
With a wind increase on the horizon, the call to drop the staysail came. I ventured up to the foredeck with a couple of other crew mates. Already at quite an angle and with the staysail refusing to come down, into the folds of sail I climbed in order to grab the halyard and the last of the sail. Climbing up a sail is no easy feat in the simplest of conditions, as it swings with the slightest movement, let alone battling in the South Atlantic. With a sudden drop into a trough, my footing went from under me and down I crashed. Luckily, the only damage was not being able to sit down for a while afterwards! With the staysail lashed to the deck, we returned to the pit like drowned, tired rats but full of smiles.
It's at this point I would like to say my 6 hour watch ended without further incident however, with the score at Atlantic 2 – 0 Charlie the final match point was about to be played.
Atlantic 3 – 0 Charlie
With another bombardment of water rushing towards me I found myself tackled to the deck and swept in front of the working yankee sheet. I stayed here unable to move due to the sheer power and volume of the water. Although I could do nothing but wait for the onslaught to pass, it was rather reassuring to hear the shouts from fellow crew and the comforting firm air cushion surround my torso as my Ocean Safety lifejacket dutifully inflated in an attempt to protect me from the elements. This time, I emerged to the worried faces of my watch and it was me who was attempting to contain the laughter through my coughs and splutters. Needless to say I was grateful when 1400 came around as it meant dry clothes and hot food. I'm not sure my foulies will have dried by the time we arrive into Cape Town.
Typhoon PS330 Extreme Drysuit
On a positive note, getting soaked has meant my Typhoon PS330 Extreme Drysuit has been unpacked and put to very good use, compared to wet foulies, it has been a luxury to get in and out of. As we ventured further South this week we were met with steely grey days filled with rain causing the temperature to plummet. I have enjoyed staying dry and warm in my fleecy Typhoon base layers as well as warm but wet hands in the 2mm Kona gloves, much to the envy of a few crew.
I can hardly believe that as this week draws to a close so too will our race to Cape Town; compared to leg one, it feels as if it was only yesterday we were waving goodbye to the wonderful people of Punta. The last few days we have been battling it out with Greenings and Garmin jostling for first place. Our hopes remain high but with a damaged code 3 spinnaker our speed has taken a knock. As I type this, we have just entered stealth mode which means our position will remain hidden from supporters and the rest of the fleet for 24hours - who knows what fortune awaits us when we reappear?
So far so good
Overall, this leg has been a great introduction to the coming conditions we shall face on the next few legs. Leaving Punta, I may have been a little apprehensive at how I would cope in bigger swells and higher winds but I can happily say that so far so good, my confidence in the rougher weather is gaining in strength as each day passes and I look forward to getting back out in the Southern Ocean!
Until then I shall reward myself with many a hot shower and see what delights await our arrival in Cape Town.
This blog was written by Charlie Garrat, Clipper 2017/18 Crew Member and 3Si Ocean Safety Ambassador.