Crew member on GBR301 Challenger

on . Posted in 2017 Blogs

Hello from Challenger!

Some keener minds may have noticed that we have taken a somewhat different route compared to the rest of the fleet-choosing to head South rather than West after leaving the Canary Islands in a bid to A. Avoid a protracted period of beating, B. Avoid going straight into the forecast strong downwind conditions thereafter with a crew who were new to the boat C. Take a punt- why not.  Whilst our progress so far in the race might not have been meteoric I can say without a shadow of a doubt that so far we are really enjoying the trip  and the crew although new to Spartan have settled well into life at sea.

The past 48hrs have without a doubt been frustrating and I feel for those across the fleet who still have a similar experience ahead of them as they make their own passage across the snake of zero wind that is presently sunning it’s self across the mid Atlantic. Whilst of course as a crew we knew going in that the conditions would be very light south of 25N it is always still a surprise to me when even with such a decent power to weight ration, new code zero and a lot of crew focus the boat finally inevitably grinds to a stop.

It's bizarre that even after so many miles at sea my initial instinct is still that somehow the boat should always keep moving whatever the blue/purple hue forecast on PredictWind. When that foundational block of 'quantifiable progress' is removed and the bus parks it’s self it always takes me a good few hours to shake off the stress of immobility and start to appreciate the beauty of my new surroundings.

For those who have never been in such a situation offshore surrounded by absolutely flat glassy sea, may I share with you one experience from the other night.

Just around sunset the entire sky became filled with vivid shades of lilac and pink but in such a manner that the boundary between the sea and the sky became uniquely obscured . The resulting effect of the sea reflecting sky and the sky seemingly reflecting the sea was that everything merged into one homogenous, beautifully coloured sphere within which we floated. It was quite beautiful and yet strangely unsettling as it left the observer with a feeling of total disconnectedness to not only the world outside but even such simple seagoing securities as the horizon, clouds and stars.

It’s a race yes but wow there is more to it than that. We intend to get our money’s worth.

All's well on Spartan Challenger.