Header image: Henri Lloyd in St Katharine Docks before the race start

What a way to cross the equator!

Written 26 January 2014, at sea

6 pm – watch changeover.
“Eric’s asked for as many hands on deck as soon as possible.” Guess that answers that question then. The teeth cleaning will have to wait.

On deck the wind has increased and we are sailing with two reefs in the mainsail. The other watch is battling to get the Y1 down and the smaller Y2 up in its place and they couldn’t do it alone. So we helped. It was well past watch changeover by the time we had accomplished the sail change and they could go below and we could all eat – well, all except for me as it was split pea soup again.

During that watch the wind got up some more so we added reef 3 to the mainsail. Somehow in the process we broke the reefing line for reef 2.

Midnight – watch changeover
They described their watch as eventful as they went to their beds, glad for the four-hour rest.

Midnight – 4 am watch
As for us we tacked a couple of times then hove to as the wind increase meant that we were yet again overpowered. The next stage was to do another sail change from the Y2 to the baby Y3. As I was considering how to get to the bow to help them I was asked to wake up the other watch for the next changeover. Herb asked what had been going on. I told him then added casually that I was going back on deck to be sick before leaving them all to get up.
The sail change took both watches a total of 2 hours. In training we’d have been told that was far too slow, but in training we wouldn’t have been battling angry seas and high winds.
It was 5 am before we could go below. I had some cake and hot chocolate and have felt fine since.

8am – midday watch
I knew it was going to be wet, but also hot so added my oilskin salopettes to my shorts and bra top combo. It might have been better to add the top instead of the trousers but hey. That’s hindsight. While sitting on my new perch – straddling the primary winch – Herb told us that we would shortly be crossing the equator. So we counted down to it and in 50 knot winds we crossed.

My new perch

My new perch, on a primary winch

I don’t know why, I just felt really elated. Shortly afterwards we had to heave to, again, as the squall hit and we got totally drenched just in time for the next watch changeover.

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