Guest Blog from Peter, the boats stowaway.

Steve Powell
Thu 4 Dec 2008 11:52

Hail UHURU Blog readers. Those of us that will one day cross the Atlantic Salute you!

This is probably my first and last chance to explain my personal presence onboard and to reflect on the experience thus far.

My name is Peter Kirvan and some of the more perceptive of you will have noticed my lurking figure amongst the sailing titans you have read so much about to date.

Frankly I am lucky to be here at all never mind sitting here healthy, well fed and in possession of the skipper’s beloved “Mac”. The fact is that eleven days ago I was on holiday with my parents in Gran Canarias taking a short break from the gloom of current life in the UK funded by my father’s redundancy from a menial low paid job in the City (he was chairman of a Scottish Bank)

In between McDonald’s “Big Mac’s” and sessions in “The Britannia” Pub we took to a promenading along by the Marina observing a huge fleet of yachts gathering for an event called the “Arc”.

Two Sunday’s ago we were looking at the fabulous “Super Yacht” pontoon when we came across a beautiful yacht called “UHURU” proudly flying the “Ensign”.
“What a corker Dad!” I said as we watched the hustle and bustle of the crew making ready for an epic voyage.
“Go on son take a closer look! “ said my Dad.
So I snuck on board posing as one of the trade’s folk who were carrying on board vast quantities of Dom Perignon, quails eggs, and caviar.
Having offloaded I then set about exploring the vessel and eventually came across the most splendid “Aft” Suite I had ever seen the centre piece being a beautiful double bed. Thinking only to briefly experience the comforts it promised I slipped under the sheets and the next thing I did not know was I was asleep! Imagine my horror and the crew’s confusion when they discovered me the stowaway on board some hours after they had thundered across the starting line of the fabled race.

Since my discovery the Skipper and Crew have treated me pretty well and I have learnt much about them, their skills and the mysterious art of sailing.

Let me introduce them to you.
First and foremost there is “Big Steve” the Skipper who has curiously become my cabin companion. He makes an awesome figure at the wheel with his flowing silver locks and steel jaw. He lays down the law and we just follow!
Boy is he a determined fellow! However we would all follow him to the end of the world (which is what I think we may be doing)
Then there are two somewhat wizened matelots called “Hugh” and “Dawson”
These guys know it all and are not backward in coming forward with advice for our Skipper who takes it all with good humour as he sharpens his fish filleting “tools”.

Hugh has taken me under his wing patiently imparting pearls of sailing wisdom like how to blow the spinnaker apart (aka “Big Red”)  which I just learned just the other day. (Curiously they have not let me near the helm since).

Dawson is a very different yet complimentary character to Hugh. Being Welsh he knows a lot about Rugby and I have enjoyed the lectures he has given us all on the subject culminating in his significant coaching contribution in helping the Welsh beat Australia whilst actually being on a boat in mid –Atlantic. Remarkable!
He is also the best turned out of all the sailors on board spending many an hour in the front “Head”. But he says that’s the investment you have to put in to being a sex god. Looking at the results we have to agree.

Next comes “Buzz” and “Charlie” two young buckaroo's who have so much energy we have to send them occasionally on long walks followed by a cold shower.
They are definitely the “grunt” on the boat day and night!

Charlie amongst his many talents is catching so much fish we are expecting a visit from the Icelandic fishing authorities (if they can still afford a patrol boat)

Buzz gets my Victor buckaroo's for all round talent and good humour.

Finally “Josh” and the lovely “Claire” who whilst living in domestic boatie bliss put up with the other six of us.
Josh the unflappable somehow combines an age of sailing experience and wisdom in the body of an angelic boy band lead singer,  which I guess is how he found Claire.

Claire has clearly been on a “loaves and fishes” course as on day 12 we are still eating fresh veg and our daily fresh baked bread. And our fishy cup runneth over!  Bless you Claire!

Finally you might ask what does the stowaway do?
Well I have become quite adept at cutting up plastic milk bottles to save refuse space. I have learnt to sternly look to sea and declare “I see no ships”. I have learnt to listen attentively and not to sleep on my “watch”.
I would have to admit this trip is doing much more for me than I am doing for it!
I feel very privileged to be part of a remarkable life enhancing never to be forgot experience.
So thank you Steve, UHURU, and my crewmates for taking me for a ride!

PS On a practical note I should mention that we are currently running in 11th place in a field of 230 boats and are presently 1000 miles away from land at any point of the compass. Over the next few days we plan to put that right St Lucia wise! Tally Ho!

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