Dear beloved land lubbers,
It probably has been a few days you were hoping for news but at last you shall be freed of the suspense!
The whole crew met in Antigua a few days before departure in order to get to know each other around nice dinners and a few drinks. Very quickly a good dynamic installed itself and everybody was looking for what is going to be the passage of a lifetime for most of us.
Northern Child left Antigua last Friday and has had a good shake down since then.
EH01, the yacht we are sailing with took a little short cut at the start taking the inside route about the obstacles off the place we started from. We had a last radio chat and lost contact since then. Usually the first night is the roughest as you have to tune into the boat and it’s motion, get used to finding your kit in the dark and helming into the dark night requests a different set of sense we are used to. Of course you have the instruments, but you mainly sail with your hair, ears and feet.
On the first morning we had Par, our doctor, being sea sick, followed shortly by David, who was joined the next morning by Anselmo. By then the watch has become pretty bucket proficient. In order to lead by example, the skipper Cedric made a quick demonstration of a neat a professional hurl overboard after he spent some time with his head in the bilges and fixing heads.
PYC trainee Tristan is leading the other watch and doing very fine in keeping the chap focused and safe. Dave is feeling green down below but keeping well otherwise.
The biggest challenge so far is keeping the boat tidy and getting the meals done, as we are all men onboard and there is not even a single drive-in to be seen for miles… Nevertheless the 2 Frenchmen – Skipper and Francois – treated the taste buds with a nice omelet, a pink veal strogonoff and the good ol’ pizza, among the sambos… Fresh food is in abundance and when we don’t prepare our meals from scratch we pimp up our dishes with potatoes, onions, bell peppers, etc. Traditions for breakfast has become egg and bacon sandwiches which are a great relief in the morning, and calls the end of the night watch system with 3 hours on and 3 hours off from 6PM to 6AM. 6AM is the happy watch with all crew on deck enjoying breakkie and sharing the stories of the night. The random shooting star or Dave’s “ship dead ahead” which actually was a star for instance. Each watch change is not announced by a bell ringing but by sea shanties on the hifi in the boat. This way everybody gets into the right set of mind. We are far out in the ocean and it actually is pretty rugged so it is commonly agreed it is an ok way to wake up this way before getting back into or off business. It really brings an old ship atmosphere to the watch change in the dark with some people going up the companion way, some going down, some standing by all kitted up with their life jacket and ready to go up and clip onto the tethers we have in the cockpit.
Sailing wise we are close hauled since we left. That means the boat is heeling a lot and waves crash over the whole deck from time to time, spraying the whole cockpit over. Quite a few funny situations have sprung out of this point of sail.
With this point of sail, our heel is averaging 20 degrees, depending on how is helming and the wind…Therefore berth allocation has turned into a hot-bunking-first-come-first-served scheme. Totally a lads boat, and we’re loving it!
Today is day 4 – based on 24h runs – and the spirits are very high. We worked around a fresh water pump mini-issue which we will fix as soon as the seas calm down, toilets have been repaired and major HazMat situations avoided, and as we treat good ol’ Northern Child well she takes care of us in return. We run the generator on a regular basis to top up the batteries as we have lots of systems running, but nevertheless still have plenty of fuel and water, which is good.
Satellite communication has been reestablished and you shall hear more often from us. Next day someone else will hold the pen and tell you the tales of gallant ship Northern Child.