Race 5: Fremantle to Newcastle 

(Or Head on) 

Life on board 

We had half our crew change over in Fremantle, creating a new team dynamic whilst maintaining our same values. I felt for the new joiners over the first few days as we beat head on into the wind for three days straight. We were healed over to the max in the rough seas, and it took its toll on many of the crew. The winds changed dramatically throughout the race, with sail changes and reefing a very frequent occurrence. Christmas Day saw us in calm seas whilst New Year’s Eve brought 5-8 metre waves! A personal highlight for me was that I got to toss a meteorological buoy overboard after we passed south of 41 degrees of latitude. A heavy item that plays a vital role in collecting and transmitting meteorological data for the world.  

Lessons 

Communication is key. This is especially so during sail changes in rough conditions in the middle of the night in howling winds. The bow and foredeck crew need to hear and communicate with the pit crew managing the sheets and halyards attached to the sails they are dropping or hoisting. The pit crew need to know what’s required in split second timing when visibility might be poor. And the helm needs to be abreast of it all. This is where we use intermediaries. We have found that placing someone by the mast or shroud and near the main sheet to relay information in their best outside voice endures slick and safe sail evolutions. As I spend a lot of time in the pit, knowing the movements of the foredeck crew helps me to manage the halyard and sheet tension in a hoist and the best pace to ease during a drop.  

Sustainability 

Energy efficiency is important on land and sea. Energy use is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. I know Marlow Ropes are doing their part and lead the way in energy efficiency on materials manufacturing. On PSP Logistics we have similar goals. As we need to generate our own energy for any electricity, we are careful to turn off lights when they are not needed and have set times when people may charge any devices. It may seem like a small thing in this big blue ocean of sustainability, but everything counts.