Exercise Midnight Sun - Greenland 2008

White Watch 6th Aug 08


Many thanks for the emails that we have received since our last blog!  (YTE) ... !! Morale has definitely gone through the roof, although still no lonely hearts for Khush!  So after our mother watch stint White Watch are back where they belong and doing what they do best – sailing the boat!


We have had a frustrating couple of days sailing, mixed in with some excitement.  The wind has now shifted all the way around and is now fluctuating between East and South East making a broad reach a very comfortable and fast point of sail.  However we are struggling for the strength of wind due to the high pressure that we are now sat firmly in the midst of.  Average wind speed has been around 10 knots however is has dropped significantly in the last 24 hours. 


Yesterday morning proved an excellent chance to test out the heavyweight spinnaker as you have probably seen from some of the photos on other blogs.  White watch came on shift at 0400 hrs yesterday morning and it was soon obvious that Windy was itching to get the spinnaker up.  Ram and Rachel soon set to work rigging the sheets, guys, pole uphaul, downhaul and getting the Spinnaker prepared to fly.  For those of you who have sailed on smaller boats such as Vics, you will appreciate the amount of preparation that goes into getting a spinnaker ready to fly.  Double that, add in the worlds largest, Crewheaviest spinnaker pole and whisker pole and you will start to imagine putting a spinnaker up on a Challenge 67.  However under the close eye of Windy and after checking, and re checking our lines a fair few times, we were soon ready to launch.  The spinnaker went up smoothly, after an awesome team effort and we were soon flying along.  To give you some indication of the effect a spinnaker can have on boat speed, we were able to increase our speed to around 8 miles an hour flying the spinnaker in only 10-12 knots of wind.  So the rest of the crew emerged from their beds to a glorious day with us sitting comfortably and smug flying the spinnaker.


Sadly for us the wind hasn’t stayed and by mid afternoon it was obvious that we were going to have to take the spinnaker down and resort to some engine time.  Frustrating as youTowards the Midnight Sun can imagine as white watch are itching to sail.  It is somewhat eerie, especially at night, to be sat in the North Atlantic with a mill pond swishing around you.  Having had a look at the weather charts with the Richard last night though it looks as though we have a low pressure tracking across, the benefits of we should see over the next 12 hours and the wind speeds of which should be anything ranging from 15 – 35 knots – bring it on!  We’ve been filling the rest of our time with conjuring up physical challenges for the watch to do – the press up challenge, and plank challenge being the most notable.  Press ups with your body stretched across the cockpit can be quite entertaining!  I don’t think the rest of the crew were too impressed when we suggested that they all try it too.


Press Up Challenge

So our night watch was fairly uneventful apart from our 4 hour sleep rest period.  Dave, Rachel and Ram have very contentedly been sharing a cabin now for the last eight days.  Harmony definitely reigns in the cabin, apart from Dave’s nightly ritual ‘lawnmower’ snoring.  After a particularly poor sleep yesterday morning Rachel decided to take Richard up on a set of ear plugs.  So last night she set off to sleep ear plugs firmly in place and having had an outstanding meal of very cheesy Lasagne for tea she thought she was in for a restful 3 hours.  Now for those of you who have heard the old wives tale that cheese gives you nightmares – well I can safely say it does.  Rachel set off to a nice few hours sleep, but the rest of the cabin were awoken by screaming and shouting “help, help The Coffin Bunk Nightmare Scene!

aaaargh”.  Ram, obviously feeling slightly concerned by the noise and also not being too impressed having been woken from his beauty sleep switched the light on and luckily she woke up, however all he saw was Rachel, stood up on the coffin bunk, hanging over the washing and thrashing around.  On our post sleep on-watch she explained that she had been trapped in the coffin bunk in her dream however Ram was more convinced that she was a little bit scared from a mouse eating a piece of cheese at the bottom of her bunk!


Below decks








We’re back on mother this afternoon – another land mark as it means 48 hours have gone since the last mother watch, however we are hoping that the wind builds so that when we come back on watch we can have an awesome sail.  Thanks again for all the emails and we’ll update you on our progress after mother watch – Ram is cooking a lamb curry so the crew best be prepared for some spices!           


Rachel, Dave, Ram & Khush 



Crew Profiles




I have sung Windy's praises many times before and also on the Blog.  Look back to the March blogs during our training weeks for examples.
Windy Windy
What a star; great instructor; inspirational skipper and great Mate and friend.  To be with him at sea is to learn - you just can't avoid it.




Rachel is a bundle of fun and energy.  An ex Regular Officer and now serving as a TA Officer and a full time teacher of our next generation, she has a really good way with people.  A keen Corps sailor and known to both Windy and me, Rachel is quick to learn and keen to share her abilities with her Watch.
She communicates well, has a disarming smile and plenty of endearing qualities.  But don't be fooled, here is a strong willed and thoroughly professional person who we can count upon.  Balanced, friendly and trustworthy, it is a pleasure to have her aboard.




Postion as at 7 Aug 08 06.57hrs (58°04'17"N 35°30'26"W)

Speed - 10km/h

Course - 298°


Current Position