Race 1 - Day 24
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Crew Diary - Race 2 Day 23: Liverpool to Punta del Este
In the middle of the “Ocean Sprint” in the South Atlantic, our days are punctuated by intense interest in the 6 hourly position updates. Unless another boat is very near (within VHF signal distance), the yachts cannot know how far ahead or behind each other. The others are simply not visible from AIS transmissions that appear in real time on our charts. So, after a watch finishes, if we have gained a mile or two against the lead boat or extended a gap over a follower, there is elation and satisfaction with the efforts of the shift. Alternatively, if ground has been lost despair looms and debates rage about why we could be going slow. Is it the inaccuracy of the helming, the poor sail trim or maybe we have sailed too high or low a course? We've experienced both scenarios in the last 24 hours. Margins are fine and we're sure to feel many more highs and lows as Sprint results come in. Moreover, we have to make this boat faster than the rest over the next 2,500 miles or so to win the leg. We think we're currently in 2nd place!
Life on CV27 Sanya Serenity Coast is in two parts – 'on deck' and 'down below'. When below we yearn to escape the stifling humidity and be on deck in the cool breeze and sunshine actively sailing and taking our turns on the helm or executing sail changes.
Below, every small task is a mission. It's a much harder environment than most of the crew expected. Remarkably, people remain civil and generally on good terms. Small problems push us to the edge, though - like the squeaking air vent – squeak squeak every couple of minutes that keeps us awake; or an inability to locate the supply of muesli during the breakfast rush (me this morning :-/).
On deck, helming is the best. It is the one time you feel somewhat in control as you tune in to the motion of the boat, wind and waves, and have individual and immediate responsibility for performance. During the rest of the work on deck one feels like a small cog in a dysfunctional machine – never sure if you are engaged with all the other cogs. When you are not you can be sure to suffer the skipper's wrath. When that happens or after spending 6 hours strapped on to an unforgiving deck, we ironically can't wait to get below to rest.
With end now in sight (possibly) <10 days?, there's a stoicism mixed with ambition to win the leg and the race. We know for sure we shall have plenty of stories to dine out on in years to come.....