Exercise Midnight Sun - Greenland 2008

Red, White & Blue Watch Blogs from 3rd Aug 08


The Wet (Blue) Watch


We are getting the reputation of being the watch which ends up wet (correct – but at least we have lots of wet / enjoyable experiences :)  Both watches last night gave us the chance of only enhancing that view.  We started the first watch a bit stormy, which evolved into a force 8 with very heavy rain storms.  Ocean sailing rating of “sporty”, but nearly “emotional”.  Try thinking about driving a car with no headlights, stood on top of a seesaw with someone directing a hose at you, and someone else throwing a bucket of salty water in your face for four hours.  In the middle of this we had to go forward to put another reef in the sail. All were soaked through.  We gratefully handed over to the next [team] watch and poured the water out of all our clothes.  All too soon we got out our hot bunks, back into our wet clothes and had the opportunity of getting even wetter by taking out two reefs from the sail - whilst under water on the foredeck and trying to prevent our life-jackets going off. Breakfast was never more gratefully received.


A feud may be starting up between me (Pete) and Lynda (helm wench from White Watch).  I maintain she started it by throwing rubbish overboard – to windward: it executed a graceful arc back to the boat and into my face.  I further maintain that if you hang your bra out to dry, it can only be expected to be found on top on the mast as a new pennant.   


The wet watch


The Wet Watch???? Never a truer word said!!!! Yesterdays watch, 12-4am was an absolute skelping. I would liken it to driving blindfolded down a road at 80 miles an hour or driving the same way with no windscreen wipers. Today has been a lot better and we have also seen dolphins again following the boat.  The plankton was reflected in the water which was surreal and stuck to your gear like glitter. Really weird to see.


It is Andy’s [White Watch Leader] birthday today so Windy [Mate] has cooked up a haunch of venison which Andy brought on board. We are all looking forward to it so much! No compo on this expedition!!!! Drop me a line at the boat to let us know what is happening in the world!!!     


Wet and wild would accurately describe the last 24 hours. Literally!, at one point a wave washed me down one side of the yacht, my own on the hoof version of a waterslide. The fun over the recovery begins, and we are now accustomed to putting back on wet kit to work and removing it to sleep. The Wet Watch is now just hoping for some sunshine so we can finally dry out our kit.   Now we have our kit dry... 


Blue watch


Any emails from friends can be sent to adventure {CHANGE TO AT} mailasail {DOT} com  (text only: cryptic comments only for any hot personal messages - as everything vetted by Skipper before passing on ;) [let me know when the eagle has landed - Anne for CC]


Blue Watch: Anne, Pete, Allan and Neil 



RED WATCH - Happy Birthday Andy



Following on from our previous blog, the next few watches (1600 to 2000, 0000 to 0400 and 0800 to 1200) weren’t too eventful other than the occasional rain squall. During the last of these, Greg was on helm and faced with ever increasing wind, had to maintain his wits and courage to keep the yacht on course while we adjusted the sails.  Considering this is his first time “under duress”, we felt he handled the situation remarkably well, without panicking (at least not outwardly).


Discussion of our musical tastes has arisen on various occasions and Greg surprised us with his revelation of his liking for baroque music.  Consequently we were treated to some Bach to accompany the 0800 to 1200 shift, giving us a nice chilled out start to the day. One of Greg’s other comments on the subject was “Led who?”, “oh yes Led Zeppelin, I did once meet someone who liked them”, which needless to say caused some amusement.


From 1200 we were on mother, Café Rouge was again open for business.  There have been some mutterings from the skipper about the lack of “morale bakes”, so we decided to throw the gauntlet down and bake Byrne’s brownies – a task undertaken by Andy and Byrne. Following a practice run at home by Byrne, we thought that the standard time of 45 minutes to prepare and bake might be increased to about an hour.  We were slightly out on our estimation.  Unlike what you see on the TV cooking programs, things didn’t go quite as smoothly as hoped.  Weighing ingredients turns out to be a pointless Someone's got clean this mess upexercise as the yacht is forever shifting and the G-forces cause significant changes in the displayed weights. Measuring ingredients with standard kitchen apparatus while trying to maintain a semblance of balance at 15 to 20 degrees is another “fun” challenge. The mixture turned out rather well – but that was only the beginning.  Next we were treated to the awesome flexibility of the onboard gas oven – for example, it is not gimbaled and it has two heat settings on and off.  We managed to manufacture an inclined stand using the cheese grater which worked very well – at least until we hove-to (due to some on-deck work required as the result of a storm), which had the unfortunate consequence of shifting the brownie mixture from the tin to the oven wall!  (See below).  After around 5 hours we finally had some brownies (below and notice the sloped outcome) – so just a little longer than our planned hour.


The end productAt the same time as making brownies we also prepared dinner which went down rather well.  Andy cooked up an excellent carbonara and we served the brownies up with some custard.


Meanwhile, Linda and Greg were off shift and hoping for some well earned kip.  No problem for Greg the student who seems to be able to grab numerous zzzzzzs in any position at any time of the day or night.  However with much rougher conditions than we’ve had so far causing lots of banging and the need for noisy sail changes Linda only caught a couple of hours of sleep, but got some good chill out time nonetheless.

Linda and Greg came on for the evening shift, but unfortunately Greg was once again feeling the worse for wear, and spent a bit of time on deck to recover. Byrne scrubbed the oven walls and we all worked together to get most of the washing up completed.  Andy and Byrne then left Linda and Greg to finish off.  Linda showed a huge amount of understanding and patience by cleaning the brownie pan. (Skipper's note: Linda was a real brick - and I am sure her watch appreciated it).  Greg returned and was rewarded by being dispatched to clean the heads (toilets for those not of a maritime persuasion).


Breakfast turned out to be a great surprise for Andy as the crew had managed to put together a unique birthday card, many thanks to Windy’s ingenuity – some cardboard from cereal boxes and a cover shot over a lovely lady from a sailing magazine worked a charm. Below, Greg presents Andy with his card and Andy reading his card in the galley with Richard looking on at one of his favourite (ex-)magazine covers.

Birthday boy


After breakfast we started the process of repairing the starboard heads door which was ripped off (nobody seems to know who or how) during the evening.  We also enjoyed our showers, a real treat.  So, back to the top of the resuscitation list we hope.  Looking forward to this evening as we’ll be having some venison beautifully prepared by Windy.  Our mouths are watering already.


Coming up in a future blog, we hope to bring you some more details about life on board.




The Red Watch (Andy, Byrne, Greg and Linda)


The White Watch - Day 6


The night is yet young. The rest of the world lies in slumber. A blanket of overbearing clouds hangs overhead. The new moon casts a dark shadow over stirring seas. The interminable howling of 40 knot winds and roaring of the ocean dim the senses. Spray reduces bodies barely a metre away to barely distinguishable silhouettes. Only the glow from angry bio-luminescent plankton offers a clue to that life exists outside our vessel. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the North Atlantic.

White watch


As the intrepid white watch forges their way through Mother Nature’s fury, the crew experiences its first taste of what extreme sailing truly has to offer. This, however, has done nothing to dampen morale. Humour has now reached all new lows.







Cold evenings

During the last 48 hours, there has been enough wildlife spotting to produce an episode of The Blue Planet. Sightings include many schools of dolphins, pilot whales and even the distant sighting of a humpback whale.











Having completed the last 2 days on watch, white watch now turns its efforts down below to boosting crew morale with hearty food and insufferable humour.


Rachel, Dave, Ram & Khush









Postion as at 4 Aug 08 06.00hrs (56°05'17"N 23°04'58"W)

Speed - 18km/h

Course - 294°


Current Position