Race 1 - Day 24
Skipper Report
13 September

Andy Burns
Andy Burns
Team GREAT Britain
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Four days in and the heel of the boat is not easing up. I'm currently laid horizontally, well I say horizontally, it's a little more vertical at times. Keyboard in one hand and hunting and pecking each key with the other in order to write this blog as the boat jerks around in the Southern Atlantic swell.

I have just reconstructed my mouse after it flew past me at a rate of speed and hit the wall on the other side of the Nav Station. For all of you animal lovers out there it was my computer mouse and not a ship's mouse.

Imagine walking into a nursery, watching the children move around the room. Holding onto everything in sight, clumsily grabbing items and dropping them and holding onto their friends and pulling them to the ground with them. This is what it is currently like here on GREAT Britain.

Today in fact I watched four grown adults Tessa Hicks, Ed Aldworth, John Olsen and Ian Mumford roll around the sail locker for nearly an hour to move just a couple of sails against gravity. Every time the boat hit a wave they would all fall on top of each other in a pile, laugh, get themselves back as upright as possible using someone else as a prop and pushing them back down in the process in a bid to restart the task in hand.

Watching crew in the Galley is always relatively amusing for the onlookers. It most certainly isn't for those involved in the duty. Again, let's go back to nursery school and those Fisher Price cook sets. Now imagine two children attempting to whisk a pretend cake mix in a bowl, serve cups of tea and coffee to their fellow class mates and generally try and restock and organise their kitchen space. This is the crew of GREAT Britain, with less dexterity.

The only difference is everything the crew place down, unless wedged somewhere, moves by the time they come back to it. There is a countdown now as we get closer to Uruguay for crew’s last Galley duty or a day of minor frustrations as it is also known. I think it only fair to award Galley duty of the week to Nicola Thurlow for her mammoth Galley stint over the last few days. Well done Nicola.

As you can imagine, going to the toilet at this angle is like potty training all over again. When did you absolutely have to hold on to your surroundings in the toilet last? Maybe you had to reach out with one hand and grab a handle on a train toilet as it went over a bump in the track, maybe you had to hold on with both for a brief moment as a plane took a dip due to turbulence. Imagine having to hold on with both hands whilst wedged into a small cubical and then let go periodically to manually flush with one hand. This I'm afraid is the reality of it, ladies and gentlemen, and there is absolutely no training on earth that can prepare you for it. This evening I had to show various crew members how best to position themselves on our porcelain friends during a show-and-tell dry run. One of them even made a video so she wouldn't forget.

Now for the story of the Porthole Pest and the lesser of two evils. As mentioned in my last blog, there has been a sly opening of the portholes on the low side of the boat at night in a bid to keep cool resulting in a wet and fractious skipper. Through careful interviews and investigations, I finally had the Porthole Pest in a corner. Now being a PR man, if this culprit couldn't sell me a valid explanation for keeping these portholes open, no one would be able to. The culprit being none other than media and PR mogul John Ollie ‘Snakey’ Olsen who just looked at me in the eyes and with a smile on his face exclaimed “It's just the lesser of two evils really.” Needless to say, we came to a compromise and at any sign of water it is to be closed immediately.

We have 100 miles of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint to go and around 2000 nautical miles to Punta del Este.

If the crew keep the pace they will be eating their last ever pearl barley meal this week and taking part in their last day of minor frustrations for this leg.