Global Yacht Racing Limited

ARC 2019 RACE4RENE

RACE4RENE – ARC 2019 BLOG – DAY 13

Daily blog from Dan. 

As Fatboy Slim once said, “Eat, sleep sail repeat” (or something like that). Despite being almost two weeks in, the  I0pm, 2am and 6am alarms never fail to confuse the crew.  There are increasing murmurs, perhaps premature, of what people will do when we get to St Lucia. What will come first, the cold beer or shower? I am not totally sure what is more important right now but the lingering musty smells suggests the latter.  With only 4 days to go and sitting narrowly in second place, the abilities of the crew are being tested. Concentration is key throughout the days and nights to keep the boat moving steadily towards the Caribbean. At this rate a Tuesday arrival would be greeted to large amounts of enthusiasm. Morale and spirits within In the crew remain high. Any slight variation to the normal routine sparks excitement and curiosity.

There is definitely a curse every time the watch changes. The current watch often let the freshly awoken crew coming onto shift that their shift has been “easy sailing” and “not much has happened”. The following shift is promptly the complete opposite. Last night epitomised this. Shortly after a change over, a squall blew in over EH01.  There were lightning quick reflexes from Miki who restored the correct  boat angle and recover from a broach. Ivo, Jimmy, Max and myself hanging on hopelessly, hoping gravity wouldn’t send us for a late night swim (we were all strapped in too). Meanwhile the off-watch were awoken, finding themselves more or less on the ceilings of their bunks. A quick sail change ensued as Jimmy, helming at the time, unfortunately allowing the jib to smack the skipper in the face multiple times before an annoyed threat travelled down the length of the boat to not let it happen again. We laughed about the whole situation when our next shift started at 6, even making pancakes to cheer us up. Pygmy dolphins joined the morning party which also brought our first proper rain shower. The fast thinking members of the crew jumped out with swimming costumes, shower gel and towels in an attempt to remove some of the dirt and sweat covering their skin. 

Simon and I decided it would be a fantastic idea to bake bread before lunch. Perhaps our tiredness and fatigue have made us lose the plot slightly but it promptly turned into a toddlers baking session, much to the disgust of Ivo.  Bread mix could be found in all corners of the boats kitchen as we played with the over the watered dough. We are still nervously  awaiting the final products. On deck another lure is lost to a “monster” mahi mahi, our fishing game has not been living up the high expectations we had in our minds. 

Personally, I have lost complete concept of time. The solid ground is a distant memory. Life beyond the boat seems strange and almost foreign. The Atlantic Ocean has become my second home. To think in just over a week I’ll be sitting back at my work desk like nothing had ever happened. But so much has, and this experience will be impossible to forget. The highs and lows both equally as important in such a gruelling adventure. Memories and friendships I will carry with me forever. However, I do very much look forward to cooking, cleaning and using the bathroom in a stationary room. Cleaning the heads in 25 knots of wind is, as one might expect, extremely unpleasant. 

There is a reminder every time we go below deck to why we are putting ourselves through this. A photo of Rene, looking as handsome as ever, smiling and offering us encouragement for the last stretch of our journey. Perhaps it is this that is in the back of everyone’s mind. The suffering and struggles we are experiencing cannot even compare to what he went through in the last years of his life.