Two GYC members, Nicola and Tim are taking part in the 2017/18 around the world clipper race.
There are 8 legs/races to complete and the boats are now on Leg 5 - the Asia Pacific leg.
Nicola and Tim have been sailing on the same boat - Great Britain. Nicola has just completed the leg to Derry and will be leaving on 22nd July on the final leg to Liverpool. In her latest blog she wrote...
Leg 8 – Race 12 – Day 6 – Nicola Thurlow
Cinderella and the fairy godmother
It has taken until Leg 8 for some of us to embrace the on board recurrent Disney theme but today's blog brings a little of the Disney Princess magic... let me tell you a story...
Life on the good ship GREAT Britain had in recent hours taken a turn for the more challenging conditions, on deck dress code rapidly changing from sun-hats to full foulies, banana dry suits, thermal base layers and even the addition of thermal midlayers.
It was so cold on deck that as you came out of the companion way you could see your own breath. Sea state picked up to resemble the North Atlantic we had expected and a strong gusting wind had us heeled over with the water gushing over the gunnels.
Then there was the fog that engulfed us and meant constant AIS and radar watch, helming following the orange glow of the compass and Max busy on the lookout for ghost ships. Plus we were flying a spinnaker with new, less experienced crew and everyone was on tenterhooks with the pressure to keep good boat speed without losing the kite.
As our wind angle worsened we swiftly began a series of evolutions to drop the kite, hoist both yankee and staysail, repack and popper the cold sodden kite down below and as the wind angle changed constantly check and adjust the sail trim.
So it was that coming off deck at 0400 cold, wet, exhausted and in serious risk of a sense of humour failure that despite getting dried off and into a fleece lined sleeping bag the overwhelming thought was when would ones feet start to feel warm again?
Then, the realisation that it was less than two hours (yes, two hours for a nights sleep) until you needed to be up again as you are on galley duty. Getting woken hours before the rest of the watch who remained cosy in their bunks for a well earned rest, stumbling bleary eyed with eggs, bacon, beans and bread to find the on watch rotating down into the galley for a much needed chance to warm up.
The unfortunate consequence of cold wet sailors in a clean and tidy galley was that that the sinks were full of empty coffee cups, the surfaces littered with debris from snacking and the floors wet. Finding yourself on your knees scrubbing the slippery galley floor before the stove can be lit to put on breakfast was a real Cinderella moment.
But as you all know the real heroine of the Cinderella story is the fairy godmother and on the good ship GREAT Britain today's Fairy Godmother was our very own Sarah C Bean.
Our God Mother (the way the watch system works is that if it falls your way you get a full nights sleep before and after your galley duty) Beanie arrived in the galley and with a whisk of her imaginary wand had made hot drinks for the whole crew, started to clear up after breakfast and organised the days duties so that Cinders could get back into the bunk for a long mid morning snooze.
This was not the least of the magic. Whilst wake up is often a rude awakening by someone with a headtorch on and with no chance of pressing the snooze button, Fairy Godmother Beanie gives you a gentle shake and says that there is no rush, that everything is under control (in fact nearly all the below decks jobs are done) and would you like a cup of tea? It feels like its going to be the best day ever.
Thank you Beanie and to all the crew of GREAT Britain who go out of their way to look after one another. It's not always a Disney fairy tale here but we are loving the sailing, pushing hard to do well with talk on deck constantly of positions, trim and how to make the best of the wind angles. We are amazed that we are on Leg 8 already and making the most of every moment of life on board and looking forward to seeing friends and family in Derry before the short hop to Liverpool and official homecoming where we will sadly all go our separate ways.
So today we'd really like to say a huge thank you to all our fairy godmothers, the crew on board, our crew mates on shore, friends family and supporters... everything you have done for the team whilst on board, every time you send a positive email to the boat, arrive in stopover to see your loved ones and end up being taken to a supermarket simply for your ability to reach the top shelves or give advice on best steak to buy as a treat (everyone enjoyed that, thank you Paul!) or clean up the galley to avoid a stopover meltdown (thank you secret squirrels) or turn up in a Sailing is GREAT Tshirt to drop off a fruit cake for the journey despite not having met us before... you are all part of team GREAT Britain and we are a better team for it.
With much love to our friends, families, crew mates onshore and supporters,
Nicola and the team on the good ship GREAT Britain.