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

One month at sea

Written 12 February 2014, at sea

Today I have been at sea for one calendar month. We left Brisbane way back on 12 January. It’s the longest I’ve ever been at sea, my previous being only two or three days. But also it’s the longest that any of the round-the-world crew members have been at sea, on the Race at least. It’s been longer than planned too. We were due into Singapore almost a week ago; we should arrive there early tomorrow morning.

Looking forward to that, a new place, other faces than those with whom I have been living in such close quarters, other team members coming out to join us, fresh fruit and vegetables – it has been weeks since we had any of those on board. But I’m also pleased that I will be sailing with this crew again, with the addition of Nico who was unable to join us in Brisbane for family reasons.

The low point was definitely the morning I could not even get my foul weather gear on to go on watch. We had been sailing upwind for what seemed like weeks but was probably only a few days. The waves were such that the boat would lurch over them. There would be a moment of weightlessness followed quickly by a crashing thud, and the noise of me groaning or swearing. Apparently I have to stop doing that otherwise Sarah says none of us will get any sleep on the way to Qingdao. I don’t know how to though; it is involuntary. That’s to come though. Back to that morning. I had hurt my back a couple of days previously, which meant I had to hold on every time we went over a wave. That left one hand to deal with the foulies. Then I heard a watch leader yelling, “Why are we not heaving to?” I held on, with both hands as we hove to and the boat became flatter, seized the moment to finish getting dressed and went on deck.

The high point was crossing the equator a few days earlier, even though that was just before I hurt my back. It was muscular – I banged it on the handle of one of the coffee grinder winches – so nothing serious. Lunch, of peanut butter and jam sandwiches – the mothers had rebelled – was served to me in my bunk. So that was what I had to do to get a meal in bed!

A coffee grinder winch

A coffee grinder winch

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