Diary of a Clipper Racer

Around the world in 333 days with Mark Osgood

Supporting my chosen charity - "Dreams Come True"

Final Diary entry, 54, added Monday 6th October 2003.

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11 - Race 2 - Lisbon (Portugal) to Havana (Cuba) - Sunday 10th November 2002 to Saturday 16th November - Life at 45 degrees

We set off from Portugal on 10 November and have since been "enjoying" (if that's the right word) some pretty extreme weather.  The winds were fairly light to begin with but this encouraged some great racing.  London had a fantastic battle with Bristol over several hours on the first night - at times they were within 20 or 30 metres of us - fantastic because we won it!

Unfortunately, these light winds soon changed to no winds at all and after 48 hours, seven of the eight boats were sitting in the dead calm of the Atlantic, all within a couple of miles of each other.  The dolphins seemed to enjoy the company, swimming from boat to boat, whilst we sat there trying to move and wishing for wind.

Don't underestimate the power of prayer and the will of seven boats full of ocean racers!  Within twelve hours, we had wind - and lots of it!  For the last four days,  we've had winds gusting at Force 7 and have made excellent progress.

Progress may be fast, but this is an extremely uncomfortable way to sail, as the boat is constantly heeled over at 45 degrees.  The most basic of daily routines, from cleaning your teeth to going to the heads, all become battles with the elements.  It's a pretty miserable existence and I'm afraid to say that morale has dropped. 

And we're all sick of eating Pot Noodle for lunch!  It's about the only thing we can eat as we can't cook in these conditions, but suffice to say, you can have way too much of a good thing.

I've found the last few days very difficult.  All we do is sit on deck getting wet from the spray and waiting to go off watch, when it's  race to see who can get their head first.  Even then, sleep isn't easy - with the boat heeled over, the wall by my bunk has become my bed and for much of the time, it's impossible to stay put.  

The forecast is for it all to improve in the next few days - I can't wait!!

Race 2 - to date 

This is a very difficult one to call at the moment.  There's a point not far south of the Canaries where it's deemed sensible to turn right and head across the Atlantic.  Until we reach that point, it's not very easy to establish how we're doing.  We've headed south down the African coast and have now passed the Canaries.  Liverpool, Jersey and Glasgow are with us. Hong Kong and Cape Town are some way back, but Bristol and New York have headed west early - the risk to them in pursuing a straight line to Cuba is that they may encounter wind holes which could stall them for days. The Admiral, however, is confident with our position and from the weather information we've been able to receive, it's looking OK.

Poor old boat 

Our poor old boat has suffered over the last few days. Firstly, the main ship's computer broke down so we're relying on the ship's laptop.  If that goes, we move on to paper!

Then, our long range radio packed up.  This should have been replaced a long time ago, but never was.  So we're very limited on the weather information we can get. 

Then, as if that wasn't enough, our generator developed a leak.  This is as essential item as it supplies our water-maker and hot showers! 

Finally, we thought we had a gas leak but luckily, that turned out to be a false alarm.

All of this is far from ideal and although the Admiral has spent the last few days trying to do something about it inevitably, it's very to so much once at sea.  Consideration was given to stopping off on the Canaries to get the boat fixed but that would have been the end of our race to Cuba, so we have decided to push on.  

Up to the minute news!

 

 

Click here for diary entry 12 - Lisbon to Havana, part 2

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