Crew diary – South Atlantic Ocean Crossing – Race day 1 – Goodbye and Vamos!

This diary was originally handwritten.
I wrote it as it happened each time I came off my 4-hour watch.
At least I did when the conditions allowed this to happen!

I have tried to remove as many sailing terms as possible so that novices (like me) can understand it.

If a refer to “you” I am writing to my wife, usually in reply to her daily notes. Which, become increasingly valuable as the trip goes on.

Me in my bunk writing up the days events. You do not want to see what I can see 🙂

23rd October 2019 – Race day 1 – Leaving day  

I phoned home to say goodbye and see you in Cape Town. A bit/very choked up!

My wife has sent me away with 21 brown envelopes each containing a picture and a note.
The instructions are to open one each day I am away. What a lovely and thoughtful idea!

I had my last meal, sat at a table, that did not move in the yacht club (scrambled eggs on toast). 

Then I hauled my 20kg of kit to the quayside to find a large crowd and brass band playing! Pretty awesome.  

We made our last-minute preparations and said goodbye to dry land for..well we don’t know. Somewhere between 2 and 3 weeks.

Stepping from land to sea for the last time in 2-3 weeks

We were the last boat of the 11 to leave as we are sponsored by the city Punta del Este and so the boat is named Punta del Este and has the artwork from a local artist on the hull and sails making it easily the most striking and recognisable in the racing fleet.

We milked the applause and cheers from the locals as we left the harbour and watched the city disappear behind us.

I was full of nervous energy and adrenaline in a good way.

Keen to get started Diego and I volunteered to hoist (sweat) the mainsail up as our first contribution to the crossing.  

Me (foreground) “sweating” aka hoisting the mainsail for the first time

It was very lumpy and choppy to start with but calmed as we left shore.  

The race then started with all 11 boats in close quarters jostling for position.

Race start in close quarters with team Ha Long Bay

We went straight into our 4-hour watch cycles,  so I went below decks to get organised and ready for my 7-11 pm shift then the 3-7 am. That gives me the bonus of both sunset and sunrise.  

In the night we did not see it but 100% heard a whale groaning behind us like something out of Jurassic Park!  

At dawn, we spotted our first Albatross too. 

Through the night we dodged squalls (mini storms of localised weather you can not see on radar) and changed the 2 headsails a few times. 

My biggest problem so far is overheating below decks which makes me feel sick.

I need to sort out my layering, I think I am wearing too much! 

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