Check it out on the official Clipper Race's site.
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All things that are not categorized anywhere else (catchall category).
Good job everyone involved with the regional rescue drill out on the water on Friday March 21. We had multiple fake injuries and scenarios within the drill to help the agencies improve their water skills. There will be a formal debriefing on Monday evening, Mar 24th at at the club.
The people at the Fire Department said were really impressed with the complexity of the drill and thought the CSC did an excellent job with it. This drill in particular represents the start of a really positive relationship with the rescue services and in particular the local fire departments.
We're off the coast of Japan trying to get out into the open ocean. It's
been bumpy, but I've been fine on the sea sickness front and the cold is finally
subsiding. I sprained my middle finger and its a nice fat sausage but
healing quickly. No time for rest!
We had our butts absolutely handed to us for a couple of days with winds
ranging from 40 to 90 knots. I thought the boat was just going to tear
apart at one point when a squall came through that seemed impossible to
control. Ollie, our watch leader, and a massive rugby player was the only
person able to hold the wheel mostly under control. He did that until he
was exhausted; then the skipper came on deck to take over.
For context,Simon NEVER comes on deck. He sits in the nav station and barks orders at
us. Not steering the right course within 30 seconds of stepping on the
helm? Ah the familiar little 'wreek' of the hinges on the hatch opening and
Simon popping his head up. "Helm? What course are you steering? "
I was so exhausted at one point, I didn't know if I was going to make it. Just non
stop work work work, grind grind grind, haul haul haul. We ripped our
spinnaker, so one guy is below 24x7 trying to fix it as the sailmaker.
One crewmate has terrible sea sickness so is down for the count during the roughest
conditions. And one is always pulled off of rotation to 'mother'. So we
have a watch of 8 with only 5 ever on deck, one on helm and the rest of us
doing all the reefs, headsail changes, etc. Even Ollie is worn out and he
is a barrel of energy.
Then the wind has died, which is less stressful but
can mean even more work hauling sails up and down trying to catch the wind.
We did that and then the wind came up like a gale and we were left with the
wrong headsail on the forestay and a massive sail bunched up in the cockpit
with only a handful of people to deal with it.
We've had to do a few "all hands on deck" to make it through the worst of it due to the smallness of
our watch; the other watch (we're bay watch and they're crime watch, ha)
has 9 people and none sea sick, so much more muscle! The first day I was
mostly given bits of string to pull on. Now I'm really in the thick of it,
which I definitely prefer, but it is hard, hard work.
They're training me to helm with the kite up in the dark across the Pacific. Right now, only
Ollie is trusted with the helm in those conditions, so it will be good to
get at least one more up to speed; skipper seems to think I'm up to the
task, so bring it!
Let's hope there aren't too many 'wreeks' from the nav
station. They call him whack a mole, lol. I actually really like sailing
with him; he gets on deck when needed and only yells most of the time, but
not all of the time :) He's clearly doing something right as we're managing
to hold onto our lead in extremely variable conditions.
The first class was last Monday (after the time change), and it will run through September with a couple of holiday exceptions from 6 pm to sunset. Jennifer Kroon is organizing this and occasionally teaching, as she did in the first class.
We had 7 boats and 14 sailors. We did what Jennifer called warming up on our sailing skills. We were going to do a version of Ultimate Frisbee on the water, but the frisbee didn't float, so we did other things. We sailed several courses around 4 buoys (the goals for the Ultimate Frisbee) in a line (one boat after the other, a boat-length between each and the one following). Sounds easy, right? Not so easy with crews of different skills. So the lead boat can't get too far ahead, and the other boats have to do what they can to catch up. And sometimes the instructions aren't so clear, so there's a built-in chaos. And then the lead boat is told to set whatever course they want, and the other boats have to follow. Preferably doing a lot of tacks/jibes.
The theme of the exercise was right-of-way. In this relatively simple exercise, right-of-way situations are set up, and you have to deal with them. I failed on this. I was on starboard tack going into two boats, one on either side, both on port tack, and one on a collision course. I had no room to maneuver. I called "starboard", but the other boat didn't respond as quickly as I might have liked, so I moved to avoid him. The classic mistake. We both moved first one way then the other trying to avoid each other and eventually collided. I can't count how many times I've described this situation to my sailing students and how to deal with it, but when it happened to me, I punted. There's an Italian expression that describes this "tra il dire e il fare c'è di mezzo il mare" which basically means “it's one thing to say it, and another thing to actually do it.” A learning experience, which is why we're all here.
Even these relatively simple exercises are much more difficult than anything you would do on your own, so they really hone your skills.
Jennifer talked a bit about the class. It's not going to get you to Senior by itself, but it's going to help you get there by improving your skills. She talked about the Senior test and the importance of judgement. Think about how you would handle an unconscious man overboard. There is no right answer, but there are wrong answers....
Team GB came into Qingdao first with a huge arrival ceremony. Biggest of the race so far they say (we will have to give a CSC 10-cannon salute to top it in San Francisco). According to the skippers, this was the hardest of all legs.
Sir Robin was here for arrivals and they gave the skipper Simon Talbot a cape and flag pole thingie. There were many officials announced to big cheers. Till the end when we were tired of all the cheering and sort of grunted and waved our little plastic flags. They were ushered off to a nice warm room with local beer and cakes. Then they had to go scrub the boat. I hid in my hotel for that part. There will be plenty of toilet scrubbing for the next few weeks, so I'll wait until tomorrow for the official crew changeover day to start!
It's elapsed time for this race, so we definitely have at least second and possibly first if the boat One DLL doesn't finish in the next 24 hrs. So be sure to root against those soulless pirates because we want another gold pennant for the top of the forestay.
Crew drinks/dinner tonight and so nice to see everyone. They are in great spirits and say the boat and crew are running very well. I found out I'm on the watch with rugby star Ollie Phillips as the watch leader and one of my favorite round the world crew, Owen, on my watch as well so very excited to join in! They are all incredibly nice and down to earth. With a healthy thirst for first place!
The Clipper Race site has published a gallery of pictures from the Qingdao arrival. I had Fried Pickces Sick for breakfast, I'm ready to go. Stay tuned from more news from the Clipper Race.