The following morning started at 6.30am – it was still cold, and all of us had been kept up by a tremendous storm that was overhead- it was quite scary to think we would probably be going out in that storm in the morning, although as it turned out the weather had passed when we awoke.
Skippy allowed us to delay setting sail until the Clipper office opened, so some paperwork could be completed by Raeann and so I could try and blag a pair of gloves – the only pair they had was too small, but even so I was happy to pay the £25.99 to secure them…and hopefully retain the use my hands again later in the day!
We were also waiting for two journalists to come on board – they were following the story of the our Fastnet colleague – he was planning to add another chapter to his book of his attempt to race in the 2009 Fastnet race, and the journalists from the Telegraph were writing a feature piece on the story.
This led to a little consternation from the two crew who had not told their employers about their plans – you should have seen all the jigging when photographs were being taken! We headed back into the Solent and conditions were lighter than the day before – the wind was around a 4/5 and the swell was significantly reduced, although it was still raining. As the wind lessened we changed the head sail (from a yankee 3 to a yankee 2) to one with more area – if the winds are too strong having too much sail up is likely to lead to damage being done to the sails.
I was sent out with another crew member to sweat the new sail up…although the swell was less than the day before it was still enough for me to feel the need to clip onto the safety line. I went to the bow of the boat to facilitate the change over, and as I was moving to the head sail to sweat it we went down a steep swell at the same time as another wave hit us from the side was – the net effect was that I flew a little like superman about 2 metres across the deck and landed flat on my face.
I tried and tried to get up, but wave after wave kept catching me as I was trying to regain my balance, and by the time I made it to the head sail hayards all the work had been done!
The morning was quite blustery with rain (rather than hail) – it was fun making tea in a galley on a 45 degree angle! I felt quite sorry for one of the journalists – he was wearing completely the wrong gear and was absolutely frozen – and it did not help when we kept saying how warm it was compared with the day before. Mother watch was split between all of us – two people would be given the role of making food and cleaning the boat, whilst everyone else was involved in the sailing.
We were told exactly how vital “Mother watch” was, helping to keep morale up, as well as ensuring everyone had enough to eat. However I figured I could already cook (albeit not often for ten people), and I was more interested in learning how to sail (which I could not do!) – as such I helped whenever needed, but l was happier when I was out on the deck. One of our number was suffering from sea-sickness, and as such she was unable to go down below whilst we were underway, as being out of the wind made the feeling more intense.
The afternoon was an absolute pleasure – the wind dropped off (or seemed to) as we sailed downwind at a more leisurely pace and the sun came out.
In reality the wind was just as strong and we were sailing much more quickly than we had been in the morning, but as we were sailing with the wind rather than against it the overall feeling was significantly more calm…this was more what I had hoped for!