High Seas and High Morale

Fri 29 Aug 2008 21:18

What an eventful last 48 hours the crew of Adventure have had.  They really have seen both ends of the spectrum when it comes to the weather and what a Challenge 67 yacht can handle.  They have also seen the after effects.

During a lull in battle two days ago, when the winds were slight and the sea had mellowed, our illustrious leader decided it was time to brave the elements and fix the tricolour, which is at the top of the 80 foot mast!  Once Windy was firmly in his harness and two halyards had been attached (working and a safety), he began his ascent, trusting his crew to take in on the halyards to hold him should he slip and fall!  Now the sea may have seemed fairly flat to those of us on the deck however the angle of incidence 80 foot skywards is quite large, and our skipper is currently walking a bit like John Wayne after losing his grip a couple of times and getting cosy with the mast!  But like the true professional that he is, the tricolour was fixed in no time and Windy was soon safely lowered back to the deck.

Windy ascends the mast!

Our Australian friend on board, “Mr Hovis” or Oz as he prefers to be known never ceases to amaze us and we were treated with hot scones and jam!  Not only is he an excellent hand to have on deck, he is pretty nifty in the kitchen; we are now just waiting to see what scrumptious bake he surprises us with next!

Who says there is never time for tea and scones?

The calm seas were not to last however, and as Red Watch were on deck at 0400 hours, the wind began to pick up, and was soon a steady 25 knots south westerly, and before we knew it we were on the foredeck putting in the first reef.  There were smiles all round as the conditions became a bit “sporty” and our oilies were finally being out to the test!  After about 6 hours the wind had risen to 35 knots and things were really livening up!  Once again it was time to make our way up to the foredeck, now slightly more hair raising with the deck awash with breaking waves (definitely time to clip on!) and put in the third reef.  Red watch have really bonded as a team and this task went smoothly without waking the whole boat up! 

I am really happy my new Musto boots stand up to the test!”

The strong winds lasted for about 24 hours as a low pressure system moved through, and it was good to see people enjoying the testing conditions, and it was also good to see some people being placed outside their comfort zone.  However, even in these arduous conditions, Adventure's fine pedigree and history of circumnavigating the world three times, one could not ask for a safer boat to be in when the going gets tough, she really does hold her own.  The constant noise of waves crashing into the cockpit, followed by cheers and giggles as each watch is competing to catch the biggest surf and gain the highest speed record; Daz now holds the record with 19.2 knots over the ground!  The last 24 hours has been excellent for our progress and we completed a monster 220 miles, when the normal for an average day is 160-180 miles. 

The rollercoaster begins!  Scream if you want to go faster!

The low pressure system has now passed through and the wind has dropped to around 10 knots, and sea has now eased to a gentle swell, life on board Adventure has become more comfortable once again.  This has enabled us to get stuck into “housework” that needs to be done, including a good dry out of the bilges, a complete stock check of the food, getting kit dried and also some yacht and sail repairs. 

Windy teaches Oceans 3 how to replace foresail hanks.

For those of you reading, the boat and the crew are well, and this is where all the time they gave up for the training weekends really pays off.

Emma “Helm Honey” - Red Bay Watch