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Charlie's Voyage - Birthday treats and slow progress

In this blog, Charlie celebrates her birthday at 45 degrees, and the whole Clipper crew experience an unexpectedly calm start in the North Pacific Ocean. 
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The not so mighty North Pacific Ocean

The not so mighty North Pacific Ocean is upon us, after what seemed like a lifetime of bobbing about on the Yellow Sea! Going into this Leg there has been much trepidation amongst the overall crew on Clipper Race we have all heard the stories of 100kt winds, dismasting and helm cages getting flattened. With that in mind pre-race nerves were a little higher than usual on race start day so when presented with an overnight motor due to fog and little wind we were all grateful for the gentle start. However, our gentle start lasted longer than any of us thought with 6 days of teasing from the wind, we all were hoping and praying for the wind to kick in but knowing that as soon as it did we would be yearning for “an easier ride”.

Always look on the bright side

Looking on the positive side of things we have all been enjoying the unexpected warmth and sunshine. This has meant that all crew have been scrambling around in their big kit bag for some warm weather clothes naturally thinking that this was going to be a very cold and wet leg all t-shirts and light trousers were found nestled right at the bottom along with the caps and sunglasses that none of us were expecting to need.
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Birthday treat

When the wind eventually decided to show up, my birthday treat, we were battling wind over tide which brought back the all too familiar crashing motion that we all have learnt to 'love'. The crew did a great job to make this birthday a memorable one. Each watch change, there would be a rendition of Happy Birthday and banners decorated the saloon and accommodation area by my bunk. The Mothers for the day were even able to produce a cake with candles, although they were not so keen on giving me the cake as to look at it, you would have thought it had been made by children. Many apologies were given in the run up and aftermath of me receiving the cake.

Credit where credit's due, to be able to bake in an oven that only has one temperature setting of hot, while at a 30º heel and having to deal with an environment that is constantly trying to throw you off your feet, I'd say they did a grand job as it tasted spectacular! I even got double helpings!
I have also been extremely lucky to receive a few video messages from home. After my iPad throwing a tantrum and deciding to no longer work the day before, thus cutting off access to the onboard emails, this made for an extra special treat. Messages came from family and friends who I've not seen since before the race start, so to be able to see them and have a message wishing me luck and support really means the world to me out here and gives me that extra push to keep going on watch and trying my best even if it’s cold and wet!

4 months left

We are now into April which means there is just under 4 months of the race left, once we have crossed the North Pacific it will feel like we are nearly home and I for one am looking forward to seeing family and friends again as well as giving them all a huge bear hug. However, I not sure the North Pacific actually wants us to leave as its trying its best to keep our progress slow with wind holes and the occasional light winds. Hopefully next week I'll be able to tell some stories of the Mighty North Pacific?
Until then,
This blog was written by Charlie Garratt, Clipper 2017/18 Crew Member and 3Si Ocean Safety Ambassador.

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