Clipper Race 2017/18 - Charlie's Voyage - Leg 3, Week 1
Charlie's first week of leg 3 hasn't been quite as expected. In this blog, she reflects on the cold weather, strong winds and Greenings unfortunate incident.
Here we go again
Well here we are again! This time it's Leg 3 and we are currently racing through the Southern Ocean on our way to sunny Fremantle in the land of Oz, boy can I not wait to get there!
This is not as expected
So far, the Southern Ocean has not lived up to expectations of all downwind sailing and surfing waves; we've spent a good part of the week battling upwind and at some stage we were no longer racing instead it was batten down the hatches and survival mode switched on as up to 74knots of wind stormed the deck giving our 3rd reefed main and Yankee 3 a good run for their money. I tell you now that is one experience that I will not forget in a hurry and I was extremely grateful that I have again picked a low bunk, as some of my fellow crew had taken to sleeping on the floor due to the extreme angles. Having said that, we were treated to an absolutely glorious day of sunshine where Dare To Lead became awash with items of clothes and boots in an attempt to air/dry them before the next attack was upon us. Luckily, we've managed to scrape ahead of the depression due our way so for now we can enjoy conditions that the Southern Ocean are famed for; surfing downwind on some great waves watching the speed rocket up.
Feeling the cold
Currently we are one of the most southern boats in the fleet which means the temperature has dropped, day watches feel like they are the temperature of the night, so you can only imagine what night must feel like. Oh wait...You're all in the comfort of your own home...perhaps you can stand in a refrigerated room for 4hours as I imagine that might be close to how cold it gets?
Rather excitingly, for me, is the thought that we might get to see an iceberg! This race has a limit on how far south we can go to ensure the safety of the fleet and to make sure we avoid iceberg territory, but you never know where they might pop up and the further south we go the more we must make sure that we are keeping a good look-out...wouldn't want to have a Titanic moment this far south! We are sailing in one of the most remote but beautiful places in the world, our closest allies are the fleet and the International Space Station although I'm not sure the latter would be much help?
Life is short, so grab every opportunity
Being out here I have a lot of time to think about all kinds of things, especially when incidents happen like the unfortunate grounding of Greenings. It gives you more perspective of life. I am so glad that I can say the whole crew are safe and well and even better yet, some have got straight back on the horse and are currently racing towards Fremantle onboard Hotel Planner.com. As soon as we heard the news our minds wondered back to the Volvo Ocean Race and the boat that ran aground on the reef, so I very much look forward to seeing them and hearing about what it was like onboard. For me, this just reaffirms how short life is and that you must grab every opportunity you are offered, don't leave it until tomorrow – unless it's the cleaning!
Counting down to Christmas
At first 11 months seemed like a lifetime and Leg 1 certainly was long but as we are now one week into Leg 3, 11 months seems like nothing. Time is flying past, and Christmas is just around the corner! So, I shall say best of luck dealing with the Christmas shoppers that shall soon be out in force, that is one thing I won't miss. Instead I shall enjoy the warmth of my sleeping bag and bunk before I'm lured back into the cold with a hot chocolate in hand.
Below are a few pictures from the short stop over in Cape Town
Until next week,
This blog was written by Charlie Garratt, Clipper 2017/18 Crew Member and 3Si Ocean Safety Ambassador.