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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35 - Race 12 - Welcome to new crew

Cheerio to Jenks and to our own weatherman, JT.  Their legendary jokes and stories will be missed.

As we bid them farewell, we welcome to the mad house:–

Chris Channon, who is with us until Brazil.  Chris has already made her impact on board by producing some fantastic meals, noticeably a vegetable curry when it wasn't even her turn to cook - Ossie and Paolo were extremely grateful but Benny, Chris' mother watch partner, doesn't know what has hit him! 

Kate Fletcher has joined us from selling peanuts and crisps for KP Snacks - where are our freebies?!  Kate is with us until the end of the race.  Her impact on the galley has been equally impressive - or rather her impact on the engine room cover as she managed to sleep through an entire mother watch.  Her celebrity look-a-like is Geri Halliwell.

Finally, welcome back to Jimbo, who was last with us in Cuba.  His impact on the galley was chronicled in an earlier diary entry entitled "Two single men in the galley" - and nothing has changed!  Recent quote from Jimbo, as carrots he was trying to peel were falling all over the place, was "Would Gordon Ramsey be expected to put up with this?".  Say no more!  His new nickname is the "hairy epaulettes" on account of the hairs on his shoulders which in any event give him a rank of no more than a corporal.

Welcome to all.

With 13 crew now on board, we’ve switched to a three-watch system for the first time since Hawaii and all of a sudden we have far too much spare time on our hands.  The system means we are either on watch, completely off watch or somewhere in between, known as a standby watch which also covers cooking and cleaning the boat.
Apart from sleeping a lot more, here are a few of the things that are helping us to pass the time as we gently float towards the east coast of Africa.

1. Sewing!  Spinnaker repairs (some necessary in Mauritius but not done by the sailmakers; some that have come about since Mauritius), have kept half the crew busy with patching and stitching.  The novelty of this appears to be rapidly wearing off.

2. Reading.  Lots of books on the go at the moment.  Ossie is reading Fast Food Nation - sheer torture on a boat with no such thing.  Kate is reading The Boss, a biography of Alex Ferguson - Rory is watching over his shoulder.  Foxy is reading a 19th century novel about life on the ocean waves and the taking of Mauritius - he has clearly been up on the bow too long.  And Al is reading Alan Carr's How to give up Smoking book – good for him, were it not for the fact that he is doing so for the third race on the trot. Someone is reading Homer's The Iliad - whoever that is needs to be transferred back to two watch system as soon as possible.

3. More sleep.

4. Talking nonsense - the topics of conversation are wide and varied but equally nonsensical. You have to be here for most of it so I won't bore you with the details, except to say that Paolo is slowly educating us all in the ways of a cheeky cockney.

Ossie has taken this easier way of life far too seriously.  For the last four days, he has been found either in his bunk or on the engine room cover either eating, drinking or reading.  His excuse of a foredeck leg injury is being tolerated for now.

We have a new victualler for this leg - Al has taken over the role and the food has taken on a distinct bachelor-pad flavour.  Dinners comprise tuna, pasta, and sweetcorn (Mauritius is now in very short supply of all these items), and there are cave lockers full of biscuits and sweets, all of which has gone down very well (at least with the bachelors among us).

However, we have experienced the worst meal of the journey to date. Casserole du Porc may sound exotic but the resemblance to Pedigree Chum was noted on opening the tin.  Surely it would get better once heated up.  But it didn't - the rancid bits of soft pork sausage were the highlight of a truly awful meal.  The cooks will remain nameless although they were only doing what it said on the tin.

Thankfully, Si-Fi (who wasn't guilty of the Casserole du Porc) redeemed our faith in the galley within hours by producing a loaf of bread which swiftly entered the top three loaves to date and maybe even came in at number one.

Click here for diary entry 36 - notes from the Southern Ocean - June 2003

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