Tue 22 Apr 2008 19:55

Star Date 19042008 2140hrs


Leg 2 Crew collective blog


Well, it’s 8pm on Saturday evening and we’re glad to be snug (12 of us) in the saloon.  Emma and Louise’s tomato and ham pasta is bubbling in the galley (they did volunteer honest!).


And now for the important stuff of how the day’s sailing went. We felt that we off to a flying start because even Josh was on time (Early in fact - Josh).  Most of us had been on the Easter sailing week, specially designed for team-building the Leg 2 crew.  This weekend Alan from Leg 1, flew down from Scotland, to join us for his first day’s sailing.


Skipper briefs crew


After a victualling (Louise and Andy drove to Morrison’s Gosport branch at the peak of  Saturday morning’s business to buy enough to feed 12 people for all meals from scratch for 2 days),  pre-sea checks and selecting and bending on the No3 Yankee (Radio 4 Shipping Forecast: north-easterly, Force 6, gusting F8 at first ; veering SE F4/5 later),  the warps were prepared for the yacht to slip.  Our destination was the vicinity of the Nab Tower, off Bembridge Ledge at the east end of the Isle of Wight.


The wind was strong and very cold for the time of year.  Notably, the visibility was extremely poor.  For those that know the area, the Portsmouth Harbour entrance forts were invisible until we were right alongside them.  We encountered a large number of huge merchant vessels of all types anchored around the eastern approaches to the Solent, near Seaview.  Only when we were quite close did these loom threateningly out of the fog.


Misty Solent


For this weekend, Sail Training Craft ‘Adventure’, had taken delivery of a new Man Overboard System.  Each crew member is issued with a small sender unit, designed to be worn round the wrist which alerts the control unit on board if a crew member is more than 20 metres from the yacht.  Each wrist unit also activates if it is immersed in water.  Leg 2 skipper, Windy Gale, planned to do an initial test of the system, while we continued to improve the sailing skills learned in the week at Easter. We very soon discovered that there was no signal in the vicinity of the ship’s wheel, so whoever was on the helm set off the alarm! We attached one of the wrist sensors to Ruth and eased her over the side.


Don’t worry Ruth, is a fluorescent dummy!  As she floated away from the yacht we had no alarm at all. Attention was now turned to recovering Ruth; jobs were given out to the crew as Windy was driving. As we approached Ruth everything was going well until the point where we had to get her onto the boat. At this point the plan fell apart meaning we missed her and Mr Gale ran to her rescue diving under the guard rail and grabbing her by the scruff of the neck. We had hold of her at last!! So picture the scene Windy on his belly with Ruth by the scruff of her neck, the next stage of this picture is to imagine Josh climbing on top of windy to attach a more secure line to Ruth. Which he did eventually! Then we could finally haul Ruth back on to the boat. We practised this evolution a good few more times .  Each time the crew drills were getting much faster and better.

 MOB recovery


Louise took the helm for the sail back to the Hornet in continuing poor visibility.  She brought ‘Adventure’ alongside expertly to complete the sailing part of the weekend.


On Sunday we practised rigging the stormsails and triangulating the boom alongside.  Tom and Andy were winched to the top of the mast.


Storm Jib


L/Cpl Allan Macdonald (52 Sqn, 32 Sig Regt).  This has been my first time out on the Challenge 67 at sea since the on side training in March. Let’s just say being in the bow of the boat trying to sort a foresail in a swell concentrates the mind and shreds the nerves wonderfully.  But a real buzz and good fun. Getting round the boat whilst at sea was a bit of a confidence test as well. The team I have worked this weekend have been great and helped to keep me on the right track. I have learned a lot on my first day at sea including dealing with sea sickness and am really looking forward to my next weekend in May and my comp crew course in June. The expedition is coming over the horizon fast.  Sailing the Atlantic is going to be awesome and I am really looking forward to few more freeze frame what am I doing here thoughts in future training.