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Clipper round the World - Report from BEL-69

Right Cadiz it is

And at the moment of speaking we’re already motoring or way to as the first race had to be shortened. I guess a combination of light wind zones and a lot of upbeat in between put us behind up on schedule and has made head-office decide to do so. Anyhow this first race gave us already a taste of what to expect during the rest of the race as in the short version. Start in Portsmouth after a very buzzing and uplifting crewparade, was in light wind conditions. And so it is for the time being as we’re motoring along the Portugese coast our way down into the bay of Cadiz. And we’ve already tasted everything in between such as squalls, storms up to gale force 9 and a bit of “champagne sailing”. So it’s been going up and down all the time or to quote or skipper sir Sticky, we’ve been going “ on the bus and off the bus and on the bus and of the bus. Which basically comes down to constant gearshifting and this means a lot of sailchanges which of course makes people getting to become tired. We’ve actually hoisted and dropped all our sails going from windseeker to stormwind. We’ve been actually treated quite nice by the notorious bay of Biscayne but got a storm later on near Finisterre if I recollect we’ll, because to be quite honest my notion of days has completely gone and already changed in a Watch rhythm and living it watch by watch. Waking up saying 4 times goodmorning a day and just be a step away from waking up from your bunk, getting your kit on and taking over the helm in 45 kts + knots to drive the boat for a few hours. Loving it and getting more enthusiastic and involved by the day. I had my first experience helming these boats downwind at night, flying the kite in 30+ something knots (we use the steaming light to make sure we’re able to se the kite as we trim). That’s how it’s been sofar and you can tell that most crewmembers are quite content with racecomittee’d decision to shorten as they’re were getting knackered. Apart from Sticky’s relentless enthusiasm and Ella’s continuous calmness ( it’s breathtaking seeing this 19 - year old running our boat and crew) it’s interesting to see how people start to react. Some people are really talking the lead where as others fail to rise up to expectations and sometimes in a very impressive way. For instance we’ve an American “cowgirl” whines going around the world who was feeling seasick in the beginning started all of the sudden dancing on the foredeck in the heavier wind conditions and is now nearly running the entire cockpit on our own. The Irish for sure must either all have a relation with the sea or bad weather at least because they all seem to be handling well, especially the dentist which makes it the more fun for me since my perdonzlntrackrecord when it comes down to my teeth. There seems to be some kind of difference to start showing up in between the watches when it comes down to personalities and equal or balanced skills although that’s a mere coincidence given we change watch every c days. Anyway I believe we’re going to be fixing that just as much as we’re reorganizing and restoring our boat as we speak, because I even suspect that even a few crewmembers might have to seem to have forgotten that it’s still a race. Coming in last was a first timer for our skipper and the weight of the boat had clearly an impact. Heavier winds made us catch up every time to loose again in light winds. It’s not the only reason as crew had to be woken up and focused on s well especially the early days. You know the classic one, twelve captains argueing instead of one voice only. Anyway skipper thank God stepped in early enough to end that. At the same time I do have to admit that I’m getting more and more impressed by most of the crew members especially the ones with little or no prior racing experience to see how they manage and keep on going despite fatigue. So I guess we all get to discover some sides to ourselves we didn’t know. As for me for instance one of the highlights of the race sofar was baking my first birthdaycake ever. Never did it before let alone on a boat. Besides if there’s one thing nobody is complaining about than it’s definitely the chow.

We’re reorganizing ourselves as we speak and I do feel this race still has to begin at least for us given our result.

More to come but probably in a longer while

Mark Geboes

BEL 69

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