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Charlie's Voyage - Which finish gate will it be?

A slight delay in this weeks blog from Charlie Garratt after a fierce couple of days sailing from Dare To Lead, including going in to stealth mode, has given them a strong lead over the rest of the fleet, but here it is.
Justin helms Dare To Lead

The refreshing smell of sun cream

The heat has returned to Dare To Lead. Temperatures on deck before 0800LT yesterday were high 20's - low 30's! A positive of the heat is that everyone is smelling of sun cream which currently overpowers any other smells that we might be smelling by now, unless of course you are below decks and then all you can smell are hot bodies and feet...not the greatest smell I can assure you.

Jellyfish as far as the eye can see

Wildlife has been spotted, mainly by my watch, Port, such as pods of dolphins. Yesterday we must have gone across their version of a motorway, at one point I was not so sure they were not going to end up on the deck as 50+ dolphins kept speeding and jumping towards our beam. I'm also glad that I took the time to have a salt water shower on Friday as Saturday morning we were surrounded by thousands upon thousands of small white Jellyfish, they stretched as far and as deep as the eye could see, they were also accompanied by tiny royal blue dots which according to the other watch were also glowing in the dark. Our Jellyfish invasion went on for at least an hour, there must have been a floating jelly fish convention as I cannot imagine that there would have been more in any other part of the ocean. This has quashed any ideas of swimming while we wallow in this wind hole!

Flying fish and jumping squid have made a comeback, happy to report that so far, I have avoided any interactions. How long my luck will last? I've no idea but I remain hopeful it shall see me through to Liverpool. However, we are yet to spot any of the whales that are supposed to be migrating, I'm starting to think that this may be a ruse by clipper and the Skippers to make sure that we are always keeping a sharp lookout?

Three extra Points!!

Meanwhile in sailing news, we managed to scoop up three extra points in the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint. We were also lucky enough to hold onto second place yet while we have been wallowing in recent days the rest of the fleet, who still have wind, have been able to catch up. All we can do at present is try our best to keep the boat moving along with some speed. Our lowest so far has been one mile in an hour. If we can keep  Dare To Lead  moving we have a much better chance than if we lose all speed.

We remain hopeful that we can finish this race with a podium - race viewer over the next few days shall be interesting viewing. Many changes between our Code 1 spinnaker and our windseeker have been happening as we've learnt that our friend the wind is fickle in nature who likes to change and swing in all directions in the light conditions. Our focus is split in two directions, finding shade on the scorching deck and finding the perfect trim. Often you can hear the trimmer whispering sweet nothings to the spinnaker as they try to coax it into life.

How many finish gates?

As the fleet are coming back together it gives the skippers the chance to catch up with one another over VHF, each full of banter and keen to hear any news or info on their competitors that would give them an extra chance. The main topic of conversation consists of trying to figure out how many mandatory finish gates we shall have to pass through before one is named the finish line.

Until then we shall continue drifting along at our snails pace, trying not to complain about the heat and remember just how nice it is after the last leg!


This blog was written by Charlie Garratt, Clipper 2017/18 Crew Member and 3Si Ocean Safety Ambassador.

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