Crew member on GBR301 Challenger

on . Posted in 2017 Blogs

Hello from Spartan Challenger. Well we've done it- we’ve stopped going West and have fallen in step with the rest of the fleet in the long dive South to avoid the upcoming patch of light air and make our entry into the strong belt of Easterlies below 13N that will blow us into Grenada. For the navigators at home you may be interested to know there was a possible routing option for us up and over this windhole- taking us further North and West totally at odds with the overall consensus of the fleet. I thought about it-I really did-but one flyer per race is enough for me (these days) and now the team have settled into their sailing I think a drag race against the other competitors is more appealing to us now than a throw away attempt to circumvent everyone and claim glory. For all my years racing I can count the times that has worked for me on .. well.. one finger.

Meanwhile things have been going very well on board- the crew as I say has come together now as a functioning unit and are able to perform all the necessary sailing evolutions. They can helm as smoothly as I’ve seen and trim and work the sails and I am once again amazed that people coming from four different countries, with skill ranges ranging from absolute novice to circumnavigator and ages ranging from 19 to 73 can work together as a cohesive focused group with only a week's exposure. I guess being 1000 Nm offshore living in a tiny 20ft section of a 60ft boat is the kind of thing that makes one try that little bit harder with creating positive social interaction- besides I tolerate no shouting unless it is a question of safety and that soon calms things down in a sport already awash with testosterone.

A little excitement whilst I was writing this blog- the tack line holding the front lower corner or 'tack' of the spinnaker to the bowsprit blew out with a rig shaking BANG! What ensued was a perfect example of newly found professionalism and restraint. No shouting, swearing, running or waving of arms- the guys just snuffed the kite within one minute and we went forward to inspect the situation. A quick work around was conceived and implemented and within 20 minutes we were back up to full speed.

I really like it when it gets this on board - a calm, courteous, clean, enjoyable environment to work in. Now if only I can persuade this team to come back for the Caribbean 600 and we can start from this point and move forward - wouldn’t that be something?

All's well on Challenger.