Wednesday 2nd December
Wed 2 Dec 2009 19:37
After 10 days at sea it is probably time to give more details of the highly talented crew of unique individuals on the good yacht "Fenella".
Navigators are typically scholarly types who wear glasses and Alan Spriggs, our navigator, fits the bill. He is a navigator of extreme skill and forsightedness. His research into the current passage has been extensive; he has undertaken 8 transatlantic crossings (one solo) and his experience in these matters is therefore second to none. Much research has been and continues to be conducted over gin and tonics. Bulky manuscripts are pored over and much muttering is heard from the area of the chart table. After three days at sea we had sailed a creditable 580 miles although one crew member did point out that we were only 150 miles nearer our goal. This remark was somewhat hurtful, I thought, but our brave man would have none of it and pointed out the folly of those taking a more direct route (now somewhat further north). Alan's extra curricula activities include fishing and sleeping. He is steadily amassing "in sleep" hours and he is confident of beating Richard Jenner to the sleeping title. Alan is also a top class cook!
Richard Jenner, known as "Commodore" has settled into the niche of Quartermaster with consummate ease. He and only he knows where that last jar of coffee is stowed or whether we have another bottle of maple syrup. He is an arch stowager (knows as a Dowager in the British Isles) and has managed to fit our significant and plentiful stores into the various knooks and crannies on board without leaving loose items to roll around the saloon (the only loose item rolling around the saloon is the skipper, and we will come back to him later). Richard also brings a new intensity to racing and this morning took part in a particulary tricky gybe without rising from the prone position on the cockpit seats - a true master of the sailing art. Richard has excelled at producing canapies for happy hour, and although on one occasion these were proven to be ready-made from a tin, he took this as inspiration for his next creation. His lunches have been spot on and being an ex baker his valued opinion is sought on the state of the bread. On the extra curricula side, he has started a "Hutch for PM" movement on board and has so far signed up one member. He is competing hard for the "golden blanket" award.
John is the performance sailor in the crew. Having said that, he was slow to make up his mind to join the voyage and the last to arrive in Las Palmas. But he was able to turn even this to advantage by bringing in crucial supplies including 400 PG Tips t bags and a pair of spreaders, to replace a cracked one discovered just a few hours before he departed the UK. John is highly performance oriented and a mere mention of the word "spinnaker" will bring him springing out of bed to immediately start fiddling with sheets and guys. His record from bed to foredeck stands at 45 secs. He also shook a reef out while Tim was cooking dinner a few evenings ago - this lead to a brief exchange of views on performance enhancing activities and cooking enhancing activities across the companionway - the reef went back in and dinner was served. John has been a somewhat nervous cook (just look a the competition!) but has excelled himself providing scrambled egg and bacon for the crew and also cooked a dinner of sausages, mash, fried onions and beans last night. The crew applauded - mainly with relief that the food had actually appeared as it was getting on for 10 pm! John's extra curricula activities include being Chaplain to the crew and he led Sunday prayers. He has heard two confessions (this vessel is multi-denominational) and has demanded £25 for each to keep quiet.
Tim Hagon is the all rounder on board who is able to cook while holding a spinnaker sheet between his toes and at the same time give instructions on how to strip down the engine. His cooking has been superb with risottos, fruit salads, banana pancakes and many other delicacies issuing forth from the galley. Fish, freshly caught of course, are turned into top class dishes. He also understands the black electronic arts and has maintained our tenuous links with the outside world through thick and thin. Being an ex yacht charter skipper he has shown a tendency from time to time to treat the rest of the crew as clients. We have encouraged this, of course, but I sense Tim is now growing out of this habit which is a shame for the rest of us. However he will now have more time to pursue his extra curricula activities of planning his next big trip (round the world perhaps?) by drawing knowledge from the many circumnavigators on board. Tim is an excellent fisherman and is without doubt, our MVP.
Hutch is our gallant skipper and owner. He is generous to a fault and there is nothing that is too good for his crew - as evidenced by Fenella's ample provisioning. With his crew in mind Hutch also has strict standards for lavatory paper and, in Las Palmas, Alan was despatched to buy a better quality and luxurious product (he failed miserably to purchase the required quality first time around). Hutch lives in palatial facilities in the bow but thoughtfully shares his bed with a significant amount of the food and most of the alcohol. He insists on crew use of his extensive showering facilities (a shower every two days for each crew member is one of the luxuries on board). Hutch is never stern, always measured and fairly democratic in his decision making - having had an early warning when he was trapped in the lavatory by a box of fruit (he suspects a mutinous crew but it wasn't us - honest). Hutch knows his boat from back to front and has spares for just about everything. Although this has attracted some comment from the crew it proved to be a very valuable attribute given a failed alternator early in the trip. Hutch is also a splendid cook producing roast beef with roast potatoes and carrots last sunday - a memorable feast. Hutch our skipper - we salute you!