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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47 - Notes from the good ship London  - July/August 2003

Crossing the equator

We’re back in the northern hemisphere again!  We crossed the equator several days ago and, keen to learn from past mistakes, sacrifices were promptly made to Neptune and the equator-virgins were prepared for their appearance in Neptune's court.  Ossie sacrificed one of his five cans of Coke, whilst Carol sacrificed a packet of cigarettes.  Various other items such as sweets and biscuits were donated to Neptune’s feast.  However, proving that we are at his mercy, the Neptune ceremony was delayed for 24 hours due to bad weather.

Despite our sacrifices, we clearly didn’t do enough.  First the generator failed and we were unable to run the water-maker - see below.  Then the wind died.  And we now find ourselves in last place.  Food is now being offered to Neptune at an alarming rate - but he seems to have an insatiable appetite.  We are hoping that he will finally take pity on us and give us a bit of luck. If not, we could be hungry by the time we reach New York.

Neptune ceremony

One lesson we’ve learnt during our long months away is not to leave the ceremony on the list of "Things to do".   So, shortly after we crossed the equator, a sign appeared requiring all "Equator-virgins" to make their way to the cockpit and await King Neptune.  Steve, Gis, Kate, Carol and Cress sat and awaited their fate, faced with a full bucket of slops - it appeared to have a smile made out of egg shells and baked beans on top.

King Neptune appeared, once again looking remarkably similar to Ben, and assisted by his chief prosecutor, Jazz.  Al was the chief executioner.  The court went into session and, one by one, the five accused pleaded guilty to a variety of heinous crimes, which included:

giving a seasick fellow crewmate a glass of seawater, causing them to be sick some more;

claiming to have already crossed the equator when that was clearly untrue (particularly abhorrent!);

changing clothes too regularly;

snoring;

forgetting the skipper's name; and

being nice to everyone in a desperate attempt to avoid a nasty Neptune penalty - a vile crime!

One by one, the defendants were punished with buckets of seawater, whilst the slops waited for a more deserving person.  But King Neptune was relatively lenient and the slops went over the side.  Funny coincidence there though - it was Ben's turn to clean the deck.

Failed generator/watermaker

Shortly after we crossed the equator, and for the second time in the last couple of months, the coupling that joins the generator to the water-maker, alternator and salvage pump broke.  Whilst we can charge the ship's batteries using the main engine, the water-maker only works when run by  the generator.  Unless we fixed it, we would run out of water very quickly.

Steve and Ossie spent the two days after crossing the equator in the engine room repairing the coupling using Dacron sail repair tape, some rubber hose and a few jubilee clips.  All that was needed for full Blue Peter accreditation was double-sided sticky tape.

After hours in the sweltering engine room, located under the cockpit, the generator spluttered into life and the water started to run.  A run ashore in Venezuela was averted.
Reunion in the Doldrums with Bristol and Liverpool

Clearly bored with the Doldrums, Rory arranged with Bristol and Liverpool, who were both within sight, to collect spares for our broken generator so that a full repair could be made.  So we spent a day motoring through the Doldrums collecting spares from Liverpool (who decided to add to the entertainment by throwing the spares overboard and necessitating a man (or package) overboard drill - which I am pleased to report went well), and then Bristol.  We then motored back to our previous position, relative to Bristol, and re-hoisted the sails.

Unfortunately, the parts were the wrong size and so we are still reliant on Dacron and jubilee clips.

Football, Football

For the footie fans on board, anticipation is growing on London for the start of the football season.  Ossie, Si-Fi, Ben and Ri crowded round to listen to the BBC World Service for the first day of the Football League season and the end of the Charity Shield but the big event is next week for the start of the Premiership.  The radio will be ready all day next Saturday for news - Portsmouth, Arsenal and Man Utd are the main attractions.  Colin is asked to take the hint when preparing his news and sports round-ups!

Click here for diary 48 - Race 14 - Salvador to New York - July/August 2003

 

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