Balance, Dance & Tuition

Tue 5 Aug 2008 18:28

(Above) Windy and Andy trading stories as the sun goes down.  Fortunately the weather in the background stayed there.


During our watch since the last blog (1600 to 2000) we reached the 1000 nautical mile mark, the previous watch missed it by just one mile.  During the first couple of hours there was much joviality and some questionable dancing.  Below, we were treated to the ultra slick dance moves from Ram while Peter acted out his whipping fantasies.



Fortunately, the dancing didn’t last too long and Windy introduced us to a far more entertaining game.  This is a true balance test.  The idea is to look at the inverted horizon between your legs for as long as possible.  Doing this on flat ground is no doubt sufficiently challenging for certain individuals; throw in the rocking effect from the waves and this is certainly a test of ones balancing prowess.  Below, Andy giving it a try, then it all heats up and Windy strips down to handle the eager flow of victims; the photo is of Linda giving it a go.




Things then quieted down for the remainder of the watch and Windy tutored our watch on a variety of topics required for our competent crew and beyond.  We are really privileged to be sailing with him as he has so much knowledge and experience and we are learning both the theory and getting practical advice from his vast sailing background.  Some of the solutions to safety threatening problems are quite ingenious but Windy has a great way of providing the right prompts to allow us to work out the solutions for ourselves.  For example, when dealing with a hole in the side of yacht that can’t be reached from the inside or by a crew member in the water (perhaps the water is too rough), what options are available?  One of the potential solutions we came up with was to use the sail as a type of bandage.  While this doesn’t solve the problem it does stem the flow of water and would (hopefully) provide time to take further steps.  During this lesson Greg showed that he has a good brain for coming up with some lateral solutions.


Dinner was provided by Blue watch – it was lamb curry.  Very tasty.  The meals have been excellent thus far.  We were all expecting to lose some weight as a result of all the exercise but despite the hard work and play, this hasn’t been the case (at least it doesn’t seem to be).


[On this and that…]


…Whilst Byrne has been doing a sterling job at keeping you all updated of the ups and downs of life at sea (pardon the terrible pun), someone (I forget who) recently suggested that we all write a little piece for the blog. Here, therefore, for your edification (or boredom) is my own modest offering.


At present we are sailing along under a Spinnaker (below). For those of you not au fait with nautical terminology (it’s all new to me!), this is a vast expanse of sail that flies off the front of the boat, rather like a kite. Very impressive it looks too! It is held by ropes from all three corners, so getting it down without dropping it in the sea will be interesting – Andy assures me that it can be done!



In the meantime, life aboard progresses along its merry course.  It may sound like a cliché, but it is in times like these that one really appreciates the little pleasures in life.

Yesterday, for example, Peter treated us to some of his secret stash of Popcorn –greatly appreciated. Pity there was no film to accompany it, but after all, we are quite capable providing or own entertainment as you will have doubtless gathered.

I myself have been contentedly puffing away on a newly acquired supply of tobacco. It used to belong to Windy, but he has given up (“Three cheers that man!”), and he gave what tobacco he had left to me (an eminently wise move, if I may say so!) The third smoker on this trip, Alan on Blue watch, has also given up, leaving me the only remaining social leper aboard! Well, it passes the time on deck at 3am, weather permitting…


Perhaps some of you are wondering what we get up to day to day, aside from eating popcorn, looking at the horizon upside-down and flying bras from the rigging (I ask you!!). Fear not - there are plans afoot for a blog edition from Red Watch covering the topic of “routine aboard”, with such riveting scenes as “pumping the bilge” and “climbing in and out of bed when the boat is on the opposite tack from your cabin”. Watch this space!


Well, Red Watch are about to become “mother” for the next 24 hours, and I now realise that my “little piece” has become rather long. It is time for me to join my hardy companions on deck, heroic seafaring deeds to perform! Adieu.

-- Greg.


Today I seem to have picked up Greg’s need for excessive amounts of sleep.  I think this stems from Andy, our watch leader not waking me for yesterday’s 0800  - 1200 watch, coupled with the extra time we spent on the previous watch helping Blue Watch with sail folding. During the 1200 to 1400 Dog Watch, we had our second time change which further confused our body clocks. I suspect however that the not being wakened was a deliberate ploy to allow the chaps to get their oilies on quicker than me, on account of the fact that with my size 3 feet, I have the advantage of being able to pull them on over my boots.


The Midnight to 0400 watch is always a difficult one to get through, and getting down to some serious conversation helped to pass the time.  Contentious subjects included Creation vs Evolution and Scottish self government.  Needless to say, wildly different opinions led to some very lively debate, and the more my fellow watch members views differed from mine, the more fun it was to play devil’s advocate.


Anyway, as previously advertised I have been dubbed the Helm Hogger, and I need to get back to my post. I’m keeping my input brief due to the Blog Hogging of my colleagues, busting the myth that it’s women who can never stop talking.


Meantime, thanks to everyone out there for the e-mails and keep them coming.

-- Linda


Since typing up some of this earlier blog we have switched to mother watch.  A few minutes in to our watch and there was a minor drama on deck.  A Storm Kestrel was accidentally snared on the fishing line.  Windy and the team on deck reacted quickly and the Kestrel is alive and well. Below, Andy helping untangle the Kestrel and Windy setting it free.




Yours, Red Watch - Andy (right), Byrne (helm), Greg (left) and Linda (standing)