Crew member on GBR976R Selene
Selene is ready to leave for the RORC Caribbean 600 Race after 4 days of furious preparation fuelled by a ready supply of rum punch, rum and coke, rum and ting - in fact rum and anyting! A day of detox yesterday and we have awaoken with clear heads and an aura of optimism for the coming challenege. 600 miles around 11 Caribbean islands in the company of a fleet of 50 boats. We are the lowest rated boat, so our ambition is to finish before somebody!
We have a crew of 8. Skipper is Adrian Lower, accompanied by a team of mostly East Coast sailors including Angus Bates and David Smith from RBYC, James Neville from RHYC, Phil Nickells from Grimsby and Cleethorpe Yacht Club. Representing the West Coast we have Andy Colquhoun from Point Noir Yacht Club (Republic of Congo) and Army Sailing Association, Rob Thomas from Plymouth and navigator Bob (iBob) Clitherow from Lymington.
The crew have bonded well and been out for a couple of test sails, but have yet to hoist a kite in anger as we have been facing winds of 25 knots plus and did not wish to damage anything before the start. We did have an amusing episode with the foredeck crew hoisting the pole and gybing a non-existent spinaker. It reminded me of my days in the Yeomanry when we used to participate in TEWTs (Tactical Exrecise Without Troops) surpassed only by a NEWD Night Exercise Without Darkness)!. Our cautiion appears to have been prudent - we hear 3 yachts over 80 ft in length have shredded mainsails so far. The boys at North Sails have been burning the midnight oil to get them back on the road in time for this mornings start.
The forecast is for a "fresh" breeze of 20 plus knots for the next 3 days then moderating to 15 knots on Thursday. With a bit of luck we shall be in on Thursday before midnight, but crunch time for us is before the prize giving party on Friday night for more rum no doubt.
Start is at 1100 local time and final prep now with turkey bacon butties before we leave the dock.
We shall try to check in duringh the course of the race and can be followed on the Yellowbrick tarcker on the RORC Minisite