Leg 1 Race 2 Brest to Rio

We had a really warm send off from Brest and a shock of a welcome into the Atlantic Ocean, the infamous Bay of Biscay and the Finistère area. Quite a rude awakening following the foggy and slow transit from London to France.

Blog 1 brest to rio

Over the next few weeks, the story of life on board an ocean racing yacht will unfold. Hope you enjoy the tales:

Race 2 day 2

We haven’t gone far and already I am exhausted, we have quite a number of folk down with sea sickness and that takes its toll on the number of us available on deck to manage sail changes.
Coming out of Brest presented us with our first taste of some big swells, the entrance to Brest is quite tight and therefore the vast quantities of water are funnelled ferociously through a relatively small gap resulting in choppy, lumpy sea… ugh.

Blog 1 brest to rio 2

The shooting stars take away your thoughts of sea sickness for just a moment as you gaze up to the stars for inspiration and air to keep you going during a four hourly night watch.

We have a Spinnaker anti wrap net that is really hard to get up and when it comes out of its bag it’s like a badly organised drawer for storing tights ‘n’ knickers.

When we drop the spinnaker we have to roll it like a big sausage roll and then secure it with strands of wool. It’s called “Wooling the spinnaker” and whilst in a big swell, how that nausea returns, creeping up on you with a sneaky desire to overwhelm you. Nooooo!

Downwind sailing has a different motion. Heading into the wind you have crashing and banging noises all around you, downwind in the Bay of Biscay is a roar and a sideways motion.

Blog 1 Brest to Rio 3

Now on day three which means a max of 21 days to go (oh how optimistic I was when I wrote this).

With the quite abrupt welcome to the world of yacht racing and any number of headsail changes – letterbox drop of one kite which covers the size of a tennis court and needs getting off deck asap . You, then in a very confined space, have to “run the tapes” which means going from the head of the sail to the tack and the clew ensuring that red tape is one side and blue the other, then rolling the sail as fast as you can, taking wool pieces to tie around the rolled sail, getting it into its sail bag as, in amongst all this, the rest of your watch are getting the Yankee on deck and hoisted followed by spinnaker peel which apparently is high end racing technique and so far so good and I almost forgot to mention that the anti wrap net comes down when your Yankee goes up only to be rehoisted with the next spinning hoist.

And this was only just the beginning…

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