So here I am having listened to our Skipper’s pre Southern Ocean « disaster » scenario briefing. As usual we all have key roles to play, mine is communication……”mayday..mayday…” Nooooooo, we won’t have one of those calls.

Our boat has been “Southern Ocean proofed” this week in Cape Town, freezers lashed with knock downs in mind. Floor boards will be screwed down shortly. Safety routines run through.

And we are all feeling a tad nervous. Nerves are good, the adrenalin flowing helps you focus (or run a mile in the opposite direction to the start of the race?).

I have listened to the Clipper briefing with all 12 crews, we are embarking upon three oceans, 4,800 nautical miles if you go straight, which of course we won’t. Sailing instructions confirm that we are not to stray below 44.5 degrees South, just in case on icebergs. That said, the satellite tracking folk only track icebergs of minimum 5km across – hmmm, me thinks that one just a fraction of that could do us just a little bit of damage. So it’s iceberg and whale watch this leg.

We will be in low pressure systems that have no land to buffer and the sea state will be “very unpleasant”. Tell me dear readers, I am doing this, errrr, why?!?

I am doing this because it’s there and it’s an opportunity to see human nature at its best. We have a great crew, we look out for each other and our safety is paramount.

The first few days – well, the first four actually, are usually pretty tough as we all get used to being at sea at odd angles and on lumpy water. And statistically speaking most significant accidents happen within the first 48 hours at sea. And this is the time when those feeling the effect of motion sickness become really sea sick…. We watch out for each other! And we bought extra buckets this leg (!).

Our skipper keeps referring back to when Charlie and I had a little meeting with a rogue wave, during which we made our way quite involuntarily into the cockpit. Neither Charlie nor I really thought much of it, clearly it has registered alarm bells and is used as a lesson to all to clip on at all times and use our three clips so that we are NEVER unclipped in this beast of an ocean.

So dear family, friends and readers, I shall leave you to the stories of the trip from Rio to Cape Town and to enjoy our skipper’s blogs, all will be well. Fair winds to all of us on this leg, enjoy the last leg and I’ll be back with you from Albany.

On the way to Oz

On the way to Oz


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