Blog update

EAGER - Fastnet 2021
Chris C-W
Tue 10 Aug 2021 06:27
A lot changes in 24 hours -but some things stay the same!

After the pounding that we took yesterday the winds began to ease to about 18kts on Monday morning. The sea state was still pretty bouncy, meaning a lot of stumbling and swinging around the cabins and full waterproofs (they’re not) on deck. And interesting angles to be calculated for taking a pee! With each journey down below (inside the boat) one needs to be purposeful. Any time spent mucking around is time where the nausea builds. So bish bosh bash -life jacket and harness off, outer coat into cupboard, find a bed or floor space and shut eyes and try to sleep.

Mondays sailing was steady -broadly trimming the sails and trying to hold a speed of 7kts and above whilst sneaking as high to windward as we could. Passing lots of lovely sailing spots -Dartmouth, Salcombe, River Yealm, Plymouth, Fowey, and Falmouth with the constant ache of wanting to turn right and checking into a hotel!
Helming was a case of concentrating on the sails, our speed and avoiding lobster pots! The sailing was interspersed with very heavy rain squalls to keep our body core temperatures low and a constant refreshed soaking down below.

Eager is sailing beautifully, her 20+ tons carving through the swell whilst the lighter performance boats are thumping the waves. That has helped us make up places after our pre-start mishap. One thing that is nice about starting at the back is that no one has overtaken us, and our nights and days have been a steady flow of picking off other boats. I’m not sure we’re on for the win, but we are making good progress. The race is still young.

And the crew? All is well and happy on the good ship Eager. The watch system is working smoothly, and the team are being kept fed and watered. Bruce produced his remarkable Scotch Eggs for lunch -and they are meal-sized. Soft yolks, hot and tasty.

My watch is with Rick and Rupert. At night we swap helm positions every 45 minutes or so in order to keep concentration levels high. We stay clipped on, so there is some choreography to getting into position in a bouncy sea on a heavily heeled yacht, but we’re getting the hang of it. We compare how wet we are -Rick is uncontested winner of this, having gone fully immersed before the needles. Rupert and I feel a little bit smug that some panic purchases have paid off.

The standby watch are typically below, but fully kitted-up and ready to help on deck when needed. For our watch our standby is Chris, Nora and Jonny. So they were able to help us lose the 2nd reef and later on go to full mainsail. Imagine a sudden burst of activity, in red-light, followed by silence again.

At dusk we passed Lands End and made our way towards the Scillies. The waves have flattened and the winds are light. Eager was joined by Dolphins riding our bow wave through the night. At dawn on Tuesday we find ourselves making best course for Fastnet Rock in calm conditions.

Ed C