Exercise Midnight Sun - Greenland 2008

Tuesday 12th Aug 08




The time on board seems to be slipping by at a rapid rate. Richard During our overnight watches we spotted a few more icebergs and some growlers that had roughly a car-sized piece of ice showing above the surface.  Fortunately the ice glows brightly with the night aids so we were easily able to navigate around them.  By the end of the early morning watch (0000 to 0400) the wind had dropped off so much that it was back to the donkey.  After breakfast we were back on deck, still with no breeze.  The Skipper, Richard, called everyone up on deck just before 0800 and to the surprise of many, promoted Windy to Staff Sergeant and presented him with a custom made rank brassard. Below, the skipper is in mid-flow, entertaining the crew before handing the brassard to Windy.


The skipper (pictured below with Andy at the helm) has turned out to have a number of interesting character traits, much like Windy, which we felt we should share in this blog.



When we asked some of the other crew members what they would add to this blog, the responses were all the same – the amount of time he spends in the heads!  During one of the Easter training weekends, one of the crew members made a comment about the heads when he felt another crew member was taking a little longer than usual – he pointed out “it’s a toilet, not a miracle parlour!”  We believe that the skipper still believes the myth that the heads are indeed some form of miracle parlour, but we can confirm that it is indeed a myth – despite the amount of time he spends in there.  He typically spends the equivalent time a complete watch of four takes to pass through the remaining heads and as far as we can tell no miracle has yet occurred. 

When in a jovial mood, the skipper can often be found dancing above or below deck.  We say dance, but it could be related better to someone attached to an electrical outlet.  Although his dancing leaves a lot to be desired, his music collection is certainly top notch.  Greg was however slightly disappointed to find that there wasn’t really anything pre-1750, but he did admit that the opera tracks were pretty good.


RichardWhen not dancing, the skipper can be found actively engaging in one of his two favourite pastimes – asleep or in front of the laptop (below) writing up secretive blogs and profiles.  You may be surprised that the crew have not seen any of his musings on the blog site and are eager to read what he has written on their return from Greenland.  When not blogging he will be pouring over the latest weather and navigation charts that he downloads daily.  He is always happy to explain these to any curious night owls that may still be wandering around the yacht.  Richard’s obsession with the laptop is fortuitous as without it, there would be no daily blogs from the crew.  For this, you’ll no doubt agree, we are all extremely grateful.


12aug08On occasion the skipper has been spotted doing a fairly good David Attenborough impression, tracking the local wildlife on the yacht.  During one such occurrence he conducted a night excursion to review the sleeping patterns of the native hippopotamus tribe. He managed to capture the impressive nasal trumpeting of the lesser spotted Dave and the reverberating nasal echoes of the greater spotted Allan.  The captured audio was played back over the entertainment system over breakfast, to a delighted audience.  Will his efforts soon feature on You Tube?


We have also discovered that the skipper runs a pretty good café. Blue watch were a man down (as you have hopefully read in an earlier blog by them) and Richard, being the fine upstanding chap that he is, mucked in.  He did suffer from some minor delusions of grandeur as he had adopted the role of maître d’hotel.  Luckily he didn’t enforce a strict dress code and the food was pretty good.  He was somewhat insulted when someone called him a waiter – pointed out that he had far exceeded that position.  We are of the opinion he just preferred the politically correct name of waitron!  Surprisingly he didn’t help out with the washing up.


12aug08Taking a leaf from the mate’s book, the skipper can often be found hovering around the helm when the sailing conditions are exciting.  If he manages to get his hands on the helm, it is extremely difficult to prise his hands off the wheel and give someone else a chance.  When he is at the helm his face lights up like that of a little boy that just received his first train set for Christmas. Below, an example of a happy skipper at the helm.


Richard has shown that he is a meticulous planner, and finds it frustrating when his plans are entirely bypassed by a crew member with far less experience; this crew member then realises the mistake and points out that perhaps the original plan (i.e. the skipper's plan) would have worked better! 

He works hard at maintaining a good rapport with the crew (below), even if we do test his patience on occasions (OK – probably a little more than that).  Rugged!



Of his appearance, we can describe him as having a rugged look which has been softened by a touch of "oil of olay" (applied during the hours spent in the “miracle parlour”).  Below, Richard is attempting to show off this “rugged olay” look. 


Sailing with Richard is a positive experience. We as Red Watch have enjoyed crewing under him and are sure the rest of the crew echo these sentiments.


Time to serve up dinner at Café Rouge.  Tonight it is Steak & Kidney – apparently a favourite of the skipper – so we hope not to disappoint.


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


Promotion in the North Atlantic. (Ravns Banke - west of Greenland)


Its been an awesome few days for White Watch, we have been sailing along quite nicely and have been enjoy the fresh North Atlantic air. 


 Earlier on in the week, Richard asked our watch leader (Rachel) to help him out with a little task that had to be kept top secret from the rest of the crew (the less people that knew the better).  After days of sneaking around the boat sourcing all the items needed they were all put together to produce the true work of art.  After being trusted with the secret to the point of bursting  she had to confide in one of her roomy bunk mates Ram and they both set about sneaking around the boat stitching, cutting and gluing with a lookout on the door like the great escape – not easy considering the boat is only 67 feet long!  On the 11th August 2008 the secret could finally be lifted.


Our watch was already manning the deck and at 0800 Richard called the rest of the guys and girls topside to the cockpit for a crew chat.  Thinking that everyone was in trouble Windy hung around downstairs in the galley keeping an eye on breakfast so that it didn't burn,


No one was quite sure what was going on.  With a few cheerful words from our skipper saying how well the trip has been going, he then moved on to talking about Windy, to his and everyone else's surprise.  He then went on to announce that Windy has been promoted to SSgt!!  Some of us were happy and surprised as most of us were starting to wonder if Windy got any greens (uniform), and whether he is actually in the Army!  Our secret of making his rank slide at sea went undetected.


After the presentation Windy was given the traditional 3 hours off so that he can catch up on his sleep, but he was hoping to have the whole day off to work out how much his pension will go up by.


Windy with Richard




From left to right Dave, Rachel, Ram and Khush. If you look carefully to my left you will see the Ice berg in the distance.


PS : Any e-mail to the white watch is welcomed and appreciated.







It gave me great pleasure to promote Windy to SSgt Windy Gale MBE today.  After the award of his MBE in January 2008 and LS&GC (long overdue) in January 2007 - whilst preparing for his maiden trip as a CHALLENGE 67 skipper (through the Southern Ocean and round Cape Horn) - it is fitting to recognise still further his leadership and management skills.  And of course it is appropriate to promote him in his office - the wilderness of the open ocean where he spends a significant proportion of his working life.  As he said only yesterday, it is something special to sail amongst ice bergs, but even more special to do that in both the Southern and Northern Hemisphere in the same year.



The whole crew of Adventure are delighted to join in this special day and wish Windy all the best for the future.  Many happy days sailing with fair winds and a following sea.




Postion as at 11 Aug 08 0100hrs (63°51'41"N 52°29'02"W 72.1 km SW of Godthab, Greenland)

Speed - 115 km/h

Course - 273°


Current Position