Archive for November, 2009

Adapting to the life on California

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Today it’s the first time I feel able to write a few sentences. I have been seasick the last two days on and off, including throwing up a few times, which is always a big relief. I haven’t been eating basically anything, except a small portion of porridge, a power bar and some soup. I know I need to drink a lot of water. The Scopace seems to work, but does not completely eliminate the seasickness. Worst is getting on a watch, getting into the foulies, while the others from my watch try to do the same.

The first night, we had reefing lines 1 and 2 chafed through. It was blowing 30 knots (with a pretty confused sea state). We had to get the main down to stop it from flogging and finally ripping. I was climbing up the mast steps for the first 1.5 meters to reach the mainsail’s luff to pull it down as the main halyard gets eased. Unfortunately, most have the halyard wrapped around a spreader or something, so it won’t come down the last one meter. I had to climb even higher to run a sailtie through the topmost slider so we could secure the mainsail from going up again. I was quite exhausted from that job, having to hold on to the mast with one hand while working with the other hand. We continued sailing with just the staysail, still making 7-8 knots of speed. With the next day light, we exchanged the bad reefing lines with new ones.

This morning we saw a pair of humpback whales. They had some interaction going on among them. Not sure what. We could see their backs and flukes. One time it almost looked as if one guy was jumping out of the water.

We are still making our way south towards the band of low pressure systems which will then help us towards our destination on a downwind point of sail.

Start

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

The start was pretty exciting. We got 20-25 knots of wind. As I understand Cork and Hull & Humber had a collision with Hull & Humber getting a whole in the hull and having to turn back into the harbor.
After about an hour of these good wind conditions the whole fleet got into a wind whole and further very light wind conditions. It’s hot.
I’m right now on my first off watch. ¬†From 20:00 until 23:00 I’ll be back on. I have to move some of my stuff to an unused bunk, so I can go to sleep at 23:00 without waking up a mother.

Getting Organized

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

We had our crew briefing this morning. The watch leaders, watches and mother watch schedule got announced. I’ll be doing my first mother watch on day 2. I probably won’t have my sealegs yet by that time, so the Scopace should prevent me from getting sick. Mother watch lasts the full day. Two persons from each watch are taken out of the regular watch system. They clean the boat, prepare the meals, clean up dishes, serve out tea and munchies and clean up again. At the end of the day the mother watch persons enjoy two treats: A fresh water shower and a uninterrupted sleep until the next morning.
In the briefing we also learned about the bunk assignments. Since we’ll be doing “hot bunking”, the assignment matters only for stowing my personal items. I got the upper “mother” bunk. This has the downside that when a “mother” is resting there, I basically can’t get to my stuff, so I better plan ahead. Since I will be having a “day bag” anyways with items for the next day, it should work out fine. I’ll be placing the day bag and my sleeping bag on an unused bunk on the lower side in the main cabin when I’m on watch.

Waiting to go sailing

Friday, November 20th, 2009

It’s a hot day in Cape Town today with little wind. I arrived this morning in the marina and dropped off my bags on California on the last (almost completely) empty bunk. The wireless access works decently. I met quite a few people I knew from my training. Tomorrow I’ll have to show up at 8:30 in the morning at Qingdao to go on a training sail for the day. We won’t be returning to the marina and instead dock at the VnA Waterfront, a posh shopping area / mall which had been built just a few years back. Unfortunately there won’t be decent facilities (showers!). So I guess tomorrow morning will be the last shower for a while. I was told that we will be taking off there on Sunday at 8:30am. At least it will be nicer for people to watch.

Execution

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

After 11 months of planning and preparing I’m finally underway. Waiting to board the plane to Heathrow and finally Cape Town it still feels kind of sureal to image being on California and on the water in about a week. Really looking forward to it. I hope that the first 2-3 days won’t be too rough while getting my sealegs. The Scopace should help a lot not getting sick.

2009-11-14 15.01.34.jpg

Other Boats on Twitter

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

I extended the Twittering of race updates to other boats, each having now its own Twitter name:

Australiahttp://twitter.com/clipperaus
Californiahttp://twitter.com/clippercal
Cape Bretonhttp://twitter.com/clippercap
Corkhttp://twitter.com/clippercor
Edinburghhttp://twitter.com/clipperedi
Finlandhttp://twitter.com/clipperfin
Hull & Humberhttp://twitter.com/clipperhul
Jamaicahttp://twitter.com/clipperjam
Qingdaohttp://twitter.com/clipperqin
Singaporehttp://twitter.com/clippersin