Day 9: Cabin Fever Hits Mina2
Position: 05:47.2S 030:12.9W
Noon to Noon Run: 190.1 miles (Warp Factor 2)
I have been remembering our
passage across the
In contrast, trade winds sailing is easy, comfortable and predictable. As Neil said,
“Every morning I come up on deck
and ask the same question, “What’s new?” Nothing’s new. Ever. Wind speed: the
same. Wind direction: the same. Boat speed: the same. Course: the same. “Can I
get you something to drink
No, not driving you nuts Neil – driven you nuts. After more than a week on the boat the cracks are beginning to appear and there has been an outbreak of cabin fever. Let’s look at the evidence.
Then Peter: having set off on the passage with such golden promise, he started developing little eccentricities which have now progressed into full-blown manias. Of our domestic rubbish, we keep all plastic, glass, cans and other non-organic materials and anything organic goes overboard to biodegrade. The latter includes cardboard which we tear up before throwing into the sea. Peter took on this particular responsibility. I started picking up on abnormal behaviour patterns when I noticed that Peter was taking considerable care in tearing the cardboard into exactly uniform pieces, mumbling to himself when doing so and getting agitated when any piece was not perfectly shaped. Not satisfied with the regular supply of whisky cartons and wine boxes, Peter started hunting round the boat for other bits of cardboard. All my note books no longer have their cardboard covers. And last night I was woken by a ghastly moaning noise in the cockpit. Peter was on watch alone, standing at the helm, singing in a strangulated descant. “What on earth are you doing?” I asked. “I’m singing a duet with John Barrowman here” he answered, gesturing into thin air. Whose John Barrowman anyway?
And last, but not least, Neil: I started noticing that when Peter had piled up his bits of cardboard into stacks of twenty and began the process of flicking them carefully overboard at the rate of 1.2 every second, Neil would slip quietly to the back of the boat. When the bits of cardboard came winging past him he would snatch them out of the air and pop them into his mouth. Enough’s enough. I confronted him about his odd behaviour. “Why are you eating the cardboard?” “Because I’m hungry and it’s tastier than the bread” was his response.
OK. We have had a small problem
with the bread. We bought just enough in
But going back to Neil, when we crossed the Equator he phones up Sarah, his girlfriend to tell her of our heroic achievement but instead some internal fuse blows and, can you believe this, he proposes to her! Proof positive that the poor chap has completely lost the plot.
So with the three of them close to breakdown it is just as well that I remain strong and sane, as evidenced by this lucid and honest blog.
Meanwhile, back on the race
course, the only consolation of the nightmare that was the Doldrums is that we
managed to get away with using our engine for much less time than some of our
fellow rallyists. When we came out of the Doldrums we (along with everyone else)
were frustrated by unforecast southerly winds and whilst we more than held our
own within the fleet we had a couple of days of slowish speeds. But in the last
36 hours we have been able to storm along and yesterday to today we managed a very respectable 190 miles and
have picked off another two or three boats. Not that we can see any of them, nor
have we been able to hear any of them on the VHF. Instead we rely on the daily
email we get from the organisers which are so complex and anomalous it is
difficult interpreting anything from them. Proof of this is that I am told by
those of you at home who are following the rally closely that there are a dozen
rally boats all blogging away and all of them claiming to be winning after all
achieving record days. We are not winning and are unlikely to do so, but we are
having a great deal of fun trying to out manoeuvre our friends on the final 700
miles down the coast of