Crew member on GBR50L Hydrocarbon
The Skippers perspective - Philippe Falle
Many apologies to all our supporters for the lack of blogs from the boat! We have a good excuse though....we have been racing very hard! In actual fact down below during the day provides us with intense heat that makes Hydrocarbon a 50 foot powerful and fast sauna! It even has a rocking mechanism fitted for good measure!
We try and spend as little time down below as possible as just sitting at the chart table for five minutes results in buckets of sweat and a fast track to dehydration! What about at night you may ask! Well not much sleep happens during the day due to the temperature so I have to say that we all sleep like babies....some do snore louder than others, so nothing really changes there!
Last year toward the end of Round Britain and Ireland race I promised you all new adventures for the teams at Sailing Logic and I think we are certainly delivering those! Sailing in the Caribbean has its own challenges and moving away from my beloved Puma onto new boats adds a new dimension to the learning curve. 'Rome was not built in a day' and it is going to take a season to learn the new skills and understand the idiosyncrasies of new waters before we get back up to the top.
Having said that, we are putting in a very solid performance in our first offshore race away from Puma and Northern European waters that I feel we can all be justifiably proud of. We have been up and down the leader board throughout the race (even leading class at one stage) but lost some miles at a critical point of the race, which are now looking difficult to recover.
The sailing in the Caribbean is absolutely awesome, so totally different to the UK waters that we are so used to. I have worn nothing other than shorts and a t-shirt for the past three days and three nights - that is due in part to the fact that I have not got any foulies with me! (who guessed that one on facebook then)? It was not entirely my fault though; I think the same person that removed the saucepan lids and cutlery probably believed they were unwanted for the race and just excess clutter and weight that I keep banging on about! So during the day I am very warm and wet and at night I am cold and wet!
The seas are as blue as in the brochures, the sun is as bright and every day it blows a near perfect 15 - 20 knots of breeze. I say near perfect as just like in the UK the wind does blow from the wrong direction sometimes and we find ourselves beating to windward. This is simply just not good for sunbathing! We are racing downwind at 11 knots now though, so making the best of the opportunity to get rid of the tan lines!
The sunbathing (no not really Chandler, we are working hard) was only briefly interrupted an hour ago when we were graced with the presence of a magnificent whale as it wagged its tail above water, waving at us, a few times before disappearing to the depths below. What an amazing creature, awe inspiring but it does provoke anger at the way they are still being cruelly hunted in some parts of the world.
I have asked a few of the team if they would prefer to be down below sweating and struggling with the heat of the Caribbean or donning thermals in a vain attempt to keep warm in the English Channel! With the exception of me, it is pretty much unanimous that the intense heat is preferable! I just love it all; the hot, the cold the storms, the trade winds, the sunshine and the rain. It is all incredibly challenging but always for different reasons. What does not change anywhere is the competitive nature of yacht racing, the camaraderie, the love of the sea and lust for adventure that we all possess.
And the final thing that will be the same the world over is the taste of that first beer, the exchange of stories with fellow competitors and the realisation that none of it was quite as bad as it may have appeared at the time!