Crew member on GBR50L Hydrocarbon
Bowman's blog from Hydrocarbon
Day 3 and we're already seeing the end: we've been racing hard, watch on,
watch off, 4 hours at a time watching the miles creep down. It's been quite
eventful since the start, with the first day spent reaching, with the whole
crew on the rail.
We settled into our watch system that evening and being on the first watch I
was one of those sent below. No chance of sleeping though, it's all far too
The night was spent half under spinnaker, then coming up behind Nevis, St
Kitts and Saba.
It's very hard to describe a powerful boat reaching at night. The best I
could come up with is imagining sitting on an open carriage on an express
train as it hurtles though the dark. Waves come and go, and we're leaving a
phosphorescent wake behind us, creaming out into the receding darkness. The
moon came up at about 10pm that night, lending its eerie light to the scene
and making it more than a little magical. I expected to wake up any second.
In fact I did when we tried to find a strange vibrating noise at the mast
(we only found it the next morning).
Day dawned over us in a pink glow and the boat hurtled on: we'd come round
the end of Saba and into the wind, so some beating to do. For those reading
this who don't sail beating is exactly what it sounds like: being tied to a
fairground ride and slammed up and down a bit, then a bit more for good
measure. We put a reef in and went round the bottom of St Martin and St
Barts, back onto a run which helped everybody get back into good spirits.
They say that the second day is always the hardest as one settles in to
sleeping for 4 hours at a time and generally getting used to everything
being on an angle. Mealtimes are generally an excuse for some choice
swearing as yet another boil-in-the-bag meal goes flying across the cabin,
along with the drawers, spinnakers, boxes of cereal. I do believe I saw the
skipper go across once on a big roll, but don't tell him that I saw it!).
Yesterday we hit a bit of a dead spot behind Guadeloupe and lost some time
which is rather unfortunate, but we're still in the top half of our class
currently sailing on the second to last leg. The music is on, the washing up
is done, and spirits are high (and rising: I just did a spot check). I've
been asked to say that while some of the crew are writing blogs, the others
are still sailing. cheeky!
Really looking forward to a beer and a really long hot shower now: see y'all
in Falmouth Harbour, eta for us 5-6pm this evening!