Day 14 Position 15:44.25N 50:52.29W Life at the sharp end.....
Sun 8 Dec 2019 20:01
breezy afternoons and evenings. Squalls in evening and early morning.
Gwenhyfar is now getting a regular bath time late evening and early morning
as squalls catch us up and we enter a rain deluge. We try to dodge them, but
its very tricky. So the inevitable happens - all hands to shorten sail, then
we get blasted by the wind, then soaked, before being spat out at the end of
the storm into bright sunshine.. Then full sail set is hoisted again. This
has been repeated over six times in the last 24 hours.
David prepared luncheon of smoked salmon sandwiches and crème cheese, and
then sets to work peeling potatoes to go with the evening meal of Tuna
steaks. He then prepared the evening tapas of manchengo cheese, jalapeno
peppers and anchovy olives to go with sundowner pre-dinner drinks. Shortly
after tea he retired for a well earned afternoon snooze in the saloon whisky
chair. This is the most comfortable place on the boat, as it is mostly on
the leeward side and it is nice and cool below in the natural surroundings
of the ships mahogany ring frames and douglas fir hull planking. He was
playing a selection of Motown hits through the Gwenhyfar's sound systems.
David accompanies Diana Ross with a full bass snore!
Early morning, and our blogger has chance to catch Tim for another "one on
one" chat. Tim is our Bowman and a dab hand chef. First question: "What's
life like on the foredeck Tim?"
"Bucking bronco, noisy, very windy. Gwenhyfar is fast, she pushes a powerful
bow wave as she surfs down sapphire blue waves, surf bubbles up on each
flank. Its very important to have one hand for the boat and one hand for
you. We all wear life vests and AIS beacons and are always safety conscious.
Before the race we practiced and drilled our "man-over-board" routines. We
each have a job to do and we work as a team. My job is at the very front.
The bow is the liveliest part of Gwenhyfar's deck. Its awesome!"
"We've just gybed onto starboard in a typical 25 knot gust, normally we do
this operation with 13 race crew in calmer waters like the Solent and can
effect the maneuver in a few minutes. Out here, the Atlantic swell is
enormous and we are only 5 crew! So we take our time. Plan ahead. We use
both sets of sheets and guys so that we can keep the pole and running
rigging stable. We are keen to prevent any rope chafe so we've rigged a new
friend, the "Irish Guy", which gives the pole a second anchor. At the
command from Simon the mast man trips the pole free from the spinnaker. The
Spinnaker then flies free in the sky guided by the helmsman who is teasing
the kite round the front of the boat like balancing a big spoon in his hand.
The cockpit man takes in the pressure on new windward sheets, and then I dip
the pole around the base of the forestay and it is re-secured to its new guy
and sheeted in by the cockpit man. Three men on foredeck, me Simon and Jan,
and two in cockpit, Peter and David."
Q."Can anyone be a Bowman?" "When it goes right there's no comment. When it
goes wrong, its always because the Bowman ****** ** !"
When he's not up front Tim is happy to cook or provide culinary advice to
other Mothers of the Day. He has offered "key moment" help to many dishes,
transforming them from the mundane, into high quality fare that any gastro
pub would find hard to compete with. His regret? " We couldn't find any
Indian or Thai spices in Gran Canarias so our repertoire is a little
limited." Q. The biggest culinary hit? "Roasted Mediterranean vegetables
with Chorizo sausage. Very Tasty!"
"Any other advice?" "A Starboard gybe, while chef'ing can be particularly
stressful. With no notice the boat can lurch to starboard and the chef can
now mistakenly take the black ski run across the centre of the boat.
Yesterday I landed, complete with fish pie, in the port heads." "Peters
knives are too sharp, David might like veggie food but he's had some thumb
this week" "Ha ha !"
It's 12.02 Hrs - "All Hands!!" another maneuver - this time a squall....
Days Run 185