Well we are well and truly into the Doldrums now.
Wind varies from nothing, all the sails hanging limp and lifeless to 30+ knots in an instant. When these gusts strike we desperately try to bear away onto a run as fast as possible so as not to shred the Code 1 spinnaker that is only rated at 20 knots. Problem is second guessing which way the gust is going to strike from. The evening before last we did a full 360 without having to tack or gybe the boat!?! This was in the middle of a fantastic thunder and lightning storm, the like of which I’ve never seen before. It rumbled on for 6-7 hours and at times the lightning was so intense it was blinding. I question at these times though the sanity of wandering around the middle of a lightning storm with what is effectively a 95 foot metal rod stuck up into the air…..?
The worst thing about the doldrums and no wind is the heat and humidity. With no ‘cooling’ breeze the temperature rises dramatically. I won’t describe how awful my bed sheet is now – lets just say it’s a soggy mess….. Despite the heat nothing dries out.
To add to the stickiness of the doldrums it transpired that it was also my turn for ‘Mother Watch’. This is the day where it is my turn to do all the cooking and cleaning for the crew. So basically chained to the galley for the day. Sweat box is an understatement. The worst thing about Mother Watch is the washing up, don’t mind the cooking and cleaning; but the washing up is endless. No sooner than you think you have finished and somebody else drops some more pots into the sink with a ‘Thanks!’ Still, bonus at the end is 9-12 hours bunk time.
Pleased I learnt how to make bread though, I’m now teaching the rest of the crew how to do it! Future Clipper crew take note – it is a skill well worth acquiring and practising beforehand!
My wildlife count continues to increase, the day before last we encountered a turtle; so close we could have touched it. Also for a couple of hours a large pod of dolphins surrounded the yacht.
All being well the next post will say that we’ve left the Doldrums behind. Oh yeah one last thing; we are now up to first place. If we can be first out of the Doldrums and into the SW trade winds then we have a good chance of being first into the bars in Rio!