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Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Learning the ropes
2015 -16 Clipper Round the World Yacht RaceonEdition ©

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race – Learning the ropes

 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2015 -16- Things are really settling in nicely on ClipperTelemed+ for the crew. We certainly have been very fortunate with our weather conditions driving us to Rio and giving people a chance to acclimatize to the sea state and not get sea sick!

This past night has been truly pleasant….unless you are navigating and working out strategies of ‘Should we go left or right’! By now you have probably figured out that we have chosen to go left.

There are two systems that could pay dividends or crush speeds. One weather system goes west around Madeira with a tiny little low that could offer good pressure on its west side driving us down to the Doldrums corridor and the other option is to run close to the Straits of Gibraltar and down the west coast of Africa and the east side of the Canary Islands.

The Canary Islands is the traditional route with prevailing currents and winds. However the forecasting models right now are showing potential for a large area of light winds depending on when you get there.

Meanwhile in the cockpit things are less complicated as we don’t have a spinnaker up. We are on the safe and steady route in the dark with the winds poking around 25 knots. So to keep things exciting we are gybing down wind. The last gybe was a fantastic example of our ‘buddy system’.

Round the world crew members Nick Abramczyk and Justin Howard went forward in the dark to unclip our preventer and move it around to the windward side of the boat.

This little manoeuvre required Justin to move down the leeward side of the boat with the boom end of the preventer in hand, traverse the cockpit and then bring the preventer around the back of the runner on the windward side….all while being clipped in. You might think the tricky bit is the managing of the preventer but in fact it’s the managing of the tether that is clipped to the jack line.

As Justin was wiggling his way astern and passing the preventer around the shrouds he realized that his tether was underneath the staysail sheet and was now holding him back against the staysail sheet car. Meanwhile the boom was being wound in and the preventer was being pulled out of his hand.

There was a gentle call for ‘hold on the mainsheet’ from the bow.

Justin’s buddy Nick scooted down to the low side, and clipped his second tether to Justin so that he could then reorganize Justin’s tether so that he wasn’t stuck against the sheet and didn’t have to drop the preventer in the sea!

The buddy system works! A quick re-clip and Justin was bringing the preventer around. Way to go guys and way to look out for each other!

After that life in the cockpit continued with a full on version of a lava cake. The cake had slid to one side of the pan and looked like lava sliding down. With that the cockpit games continued with a ‘Who am I’ game.

We’ve all had a moment or two or three to reflect on the events of the past few days and weeks and simple things like playing a little game together or naturally putting our buddy system in place really show me what a great team we have and how we are getting stronger together.

by Diane Reid

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