Wave Surfing

Tue 26 Aug 2008 22:53

Hello out there from Yellow “Ginger” Watch!

Adventure and crew are making steady progress en route home.  Despite a rather
ominous low sitting to the North, the weather has remained good with clear skies and winds varying from 15 to 30 knots.

Waves break under Adventure's boom on a
port tack

Presently Ginger Watch is on deck maintaining course and keeping an eye on the sails, implementing change when and where necessary.  I am attempting to get our blog update in a little early so the Watch can get some of the sleep we all crave. Fortunately we move onto Mother-Watch at midday and whilst having to prepare meals, clean the heads and mop the decks down, there are plenty of opportunities to sleep for longer than three hours.

For the uninitiated the watch system that we are acolytes to might seem a trifle confusing, a basic list is below:

0000 to 0400 - Middle
0400 to 0800 - Morning
0800 to 1200 - Forenoon
1200 to 1400 - PM Dog 1
1400 to 1600 - PM Dog 2
1600 to 2000 - Evening
2000 to 0000 – First

The watches alternate between the three watch-teams with two watches on deck duty i.e helming, reefing, sail changes etc.  and the other watch being on Mother-watch, effectively doing all the admin and feeding that the crew requires.  Each watch rotates from deck duty to Mother every 48 hours which gives a welcome respite from brief three hour sleep blocks we would otherwise have.

                            A little of each watch plus a mate & the skipper

Helming is the main activity for those watches on deck, only one is required to take the wheel in normal conditions and for many of us this is a new experience which requires both conviction and concentration.  It is both mentally and physically draining particularly when the sea is rough and the waves fight against every movement of the rudder. 


Andy helming under the tuition of Stu

On the flip side it is equally satisfying when one has grasped the basic principles. Experiences vary, but I find Adventure will alternate from being somewhat fickle and prone to veer from port to starboard to being quite conciliatory.  Helming at night is even more interesting as visibility is limited and the darkness casts the illusion that the yacht is moving incredibly fast. A fair comparison is to imagine you are driving a forty tonne truck down an unknown road at 20mph, with steering which takes a few seconds to respond, no headlights and random speed bumps.  Mistakes will cause the yacht to heel harder, for the sails to flap or potentially for a crash jibe if the wind gets behind the sail, but even worse a holler from mother watch after everything has rolled off the sides all over the floor!


Andy clocking 13.8 knots / hour

As I complete this blog, Ginger watch has moved onto Mother-watch proper, and has just served an excellent chicken curry for dinner to the crew; clearly proving that whilst our dishes might have a student theme, the quality is certainly not of typical student fare. Andy is proving a dab hand at making bread having learnt the master skills from bread whiz Oz.  Meanwhile I continue on my quest to make chocolate brownies with the rapidly decreasing ingredients in the larder.

The weather is looking somewhat bleaker than this morning, with stormy clouds on the horizon. We'll all hoping that that this won't mean rain but if it does, it will bound to be entertaining!

Mike [Ginger Watch]