Monday 12th – Stress and Relief

A new day dawns and with it a new watch leader - Mike B - otherwise known as 'Bridas' – as he comes from Bridlington and who is an inaugural member of the soon to be famous “Silver Foxes” club - a group of 'Gentlemen' on board H&H, distinguishable by their years (old buggers) and their fine silvery locks (although most of them have now had a No.2 all over!).  So, Mike led us through his first watch with great calmness and purpose aided by his new-found bible “Sail & Rig Tuning”.  We needed to get this boat moving and he was determined to be on top of course, boat speed and sail trim at all times. It was refreshing to have someone come to the role with that much enthusiasm – but as we still had very little wind – and the sails were pretty set for what pathetic puffs we did have, once we'd checked everything we turned our enthusiasm to an equally intent game of 20 Questions! This wasn't a particularly new game to us – we'd whiled away many night watch hours before in this manner – but I mention it only because I appear to have had my fellow crew mates stumped with my “Famous person”, They got as far as 17 questions and were still a mile away.  But stubborn doesn't even begin to describe Mike R or Jeremy (alias Victor) and they spent an hour and three quarters on the final 3 questions before finally guessing correctly on the last - helped mainly by Chloe who innocently put them on the right line without realising it. Just as well as Jeremy who had been off watch for a good hour was not going to bed until he'd won! 

It certainly helped lift the atmosphere on an otherwise stressful night. Stressful because doing even just 20 minutes on the helm when your boat speed is three and a half to four knots – if you're lucky - with the mainsail constantly flogging and the boom creaking and groaning had all our nerves on edge. You have no idea which direction the wind is actually coming from but you strain your neck looking up at the wildly spinning windex to see if it lingers in one direction for more than a nano-second so you can point your sails to try and  catch a whiff of breeze. Your heart sinks when the boat speed is falling from 3 to 2 to 1 knot and despite the fact your touch on the wheel is light as anything your whole body aches from the tension caused by not wanting to be the person who makes the boat grind to a halt! So while 20 questions may seem like a frivolous waste of time in the middle of a round the world yacht race - in the absence of being able to trim the sails or do anything positive to make the boat go faster – keeping the crew entertained is the next most important thing!