Don’t try this at home

I’m often asked what it’s like on board and try very hard to describe what it’s actually like on the foredeck.  So this morning, having bumped into Mike Morawa from Team Garmin, we decided to have a go.  Here’s what we came up with to try and describe the ‘fun’ we have on our respective boats on the foredeck.

Take a vehicle with a sun roof, ideally one quite high, like a Landrover, then find some rope, pretty strong stuff that can hold up to 2000kg.  Fix this securely from the front of the vehicle, over the roof to the back of the vehicle, about a hands width from the outside edge of the car roof.

So that piece of rope is in effect going from the front bumper to the rear bumper.


Now, find yourself a lifejacket and safety lines a bit like these:

If you can’t find a lifejacket, just hang about 5kg of waistcoats over your clothing.

Take yourself, with a driver and vehicle onto a motorway. We could talk about true versus apparent wind, however for the sake of reliving this,  it’s a day gusting winds of around 60 mph and the car is travelling about 50mph.  It’s the kind of windy day that buffers the car as you speed along.  Feeling it?  Oh, and at this point your sun roof should be wide open and to add a little something else, let’s imagine it’s raining heavily.

Now, you’re dressed in ski salopettes and jacket, full thermals and fleeces, at least five layers of clothing including hat and gloves with a pair of Wellington boots for the sake of this exercise.

The person driving the car needs to be able to swerve occasionally as well as hitting the brakes, just a touch, before then putting their foot down on the accelerator and if your motorway happens to be having some maintenance work, you could ask the driver politely if they’d mind driving through the cones onto the unmade really bumpy piece of road every now and again.

Okay.  You’re now dressed and ready to go. Weather and driving pattern precarious.

Not before taking off your seat belt you need to reach up and clip yourself onto that rope on the roof of the car.  Clipped on? Perfect, now you can undo the safety belt and start to climb out through the sun roof onto the roof of your fast moving, precariously driven vehicle.  Oh, and remember that you need to take with you three pieces of rope about 1.5m long with you.

You out on the roof yet?

You’re now going to crawl to the front of the car.  I forgot to mention that the roof rack is attached and so you need to stop yourself, take off a glove, clip onto that rope going from front to back (yes, with that second line), remove the original clip you attached, attach another clip, re attach the original one after the obstacle, and then remove the second one. No, you can’t put down the pieces of rope you are holding because they’ll fly off the roof!

Remember it’s raining heavily.  If your can encourage the local fire brigade to use their high pressure hose on you from time to time that may add to the experience, especially if they aim for your face.  Or two hoses aimed perfectly into your tummy, shooting you across the roof of the car. You’re clipped on, so you’ll be fine!  Ok, you might bump yourself on the roof rack, but nothing too brutal.

You’re ever so nearly at the front of the car, perfect. Now inflate your lifejacket that you kindly borrowed for the purpose of this exercise.  Oh, or just use a child’s rubber swimming inflatable ring, perhaps two of them round your neck if you can’t find a lifejacket. It’ll provide the same effect.  Ask the driver to find a steep hill and accelerate down it, whilst braking occasionally.  If the driver can safely drive up the bank of the motorway, permitting the vehicle to remain at an angle of about 30 degrees, even better.

And what was it you were doing out on the bonnet of the car? OH, yep, we decided to call off the work you were going to do, due to a shift in the wind and change in road conditions.

Cue your return to the open sun roof, retaining the inflated rubber rings around your neck. Manoeuvring your way around that obstacle once more….remember you must remain clipped on at all times.  It’s still raining heavily by the way. Remain clipped on to the roof as you try to sit down inside the car then re attach your seat belt before taking off your safety line.

Feeling good, accomplished, a little damp and exhausted? It was fun though….no?

Welcome to life on the foredeck 🙂

fun on the foredeck


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