CLIPPER RACE BLOG 3: Back At The Front by Marlow Ambassador Simon Du Bois
September 18, 2017 | posted by Jon Mitchell
In Simon’s latest blog, he updates us on Race progress, crossing the Equator and the challenges of living in confined spaces with fellow crew members…
WE ARE BACK! TEAM VISIT SEATTLE IS BACK AT THE FRONT!
What a week that was. Holy Moly! Managed to find the doldrums before the actual zone and parked for many hours in the heat with nowhere to go and no wind… grrr … definitely not the moments I enjoy the most. It’s pretty frustrating. This no wind zone has also compressed the fleet so the race is closer than ever.
We finally got out of this no wind zone without being able to get rid of the heat. Then started the “motoring” strategy. Within the 700nm zone that are the doldrums, Clipper Race has instilled a policy by which we are allowed to use the engine for no more than 6 degrees of latitude (360nm) and no less than 60hrs, thus avg. 6knots. This policy is to ensure the delays for the arrival and departure of each legs. Much strategy to play here as choosing the wrong timing could lead to being parked for many days in the sun and heat with no wind. Luckily Team Visit Seattle went big and delayed their motoring enough to position themselves for a great exit of the doldrums. WE ARE NOW LEADING THE FLEET en route for the sprint zone and URUGUAY.
Two others events occurred this week: 1) My 30th birthday – Pretty awesome to be celebrating such a life milestone in the middle of nowhere while chasing a lifetime dream of sailing across the oceans. Found a sweet birthday gift hidden by my wifey in my luggage. So sweet to have a few words from the love ones. I definitely have the best wife EVER! 2) We crossed the equator – expecting the visit of King Neptune tonight for our initiation/celebration. Only one of our crew has ever sailed across the equator and she will be leading the ceremony. It’s quite unbelievable to look at the GPS going through the 000’00.000 turning from N to S.
Life onboard has become more challenging than ever with our new heading upwind giving us the luxury of having everything at a 45 degree angle. It has become a challenge to stand, cook, get into bed, STAY in the bed and more than anything to go the toilet. Jeez! Gotta use some creative positions to make it all work out, let me tell you that. After three weeks, the “honeymoon” has also stopped for many of the crews. People are getting tired, moods are swinging up and down, and the first level conversation and discussion point are running out. We are using games to keep ourselves busy, enthused and keep the discussions going. We also start to see deeper into people’s personality. I mean, it’s easy to act a certain way for a couple days but after a while, the natural comes back and the different personalities emerge.
But all in all, we are doing good as a team and everyone is focused and committed to the team.
We are pumped to be back at the front of the fleet and have our eyes on the sprint zone and the finish. Visit Seattle is on the hunt for victory.
Oh and I also had my first real shower (see images)