Jimmy Sails World
Well the last week or so have been testing to say the least. This voyage is the longest so far and the second longest of the race. With that I always new that it would be a real challenge, both physically and mentally. The Southern Ocean has certainly lived up to her reputation as being one of the most difficult Oceans to sail. With our first encounters with her being of calm still weather and then some smooth sailing after. The odd comment of 'is this really the southern Ocean' started to be muttered as we entered the "Roaring Forties" (beyond 40 degrees South). These whispers were quickly jumped upon as tempting fate with Mother Nature is never a good idea!

And with that we got our first gale. Wind speeds in the 40 Knots region and a few days being tossed around went without much mention, some good footage and tales of Reefing the Mainsail from the other watch but in general the worst thing was we were not as prepared as we should have been (lesson Learnt!) Apparently, in  a Southern Ocean passage at this time of year you can expect 3-4 gales a month, with this race around the 28 day mark... 1 down!

Some more steady sailing went on (upwind) this meant heeled over and life at a 45 degree angle again. Its ok, but its tiring, saps your strength and is generally wet. However, now we can also add in COLD!! The temperature has plummeted and full foul weather gear and thermals are all day wear (and most of it night ware too!) So upwind sailing with its increased wind chill is a joy, and I thought this was a downwind leg  of the race!

Well we did get some downwind sailing and were managing to hold onto out 4th place with not much gain or loss to other boats day after day. Then the weather files showed a front coming in (gale 2 on her way) Preparation was the watchword here. So we reduced our sail plan preparing for the strong winds to arrive and watched the barometer. When it came the pressure dropped 30 millibars in 12 hours! (after the storm Skipper told us he had only ever seen such a pressure drop once before, at never at
  sea! Well the winds came and even with our conservative (almost smallest possible) sail plan it was tough going. I had never seen waves that size before, the backs of them from peak to trough were the size of houses! and they were often breaking! Where they were the daylight shone though and I was able to see the amazing topaz blue of the water, Awesome and beautiful at the same time, It was tough going but we new other boats would be getting it too and some (opting for more sail to keep racing) would suffer more. Then the night came, more wind and pitch black. No moon or stars to help navigate just the compass. We could not even see the monster waves as they swept below us bobbing our little purple canoe around! It was a real challenge but even with winds approaching 50 knots the boat felt solid and reliable. When dawn came it was then possible to see (especially at the top of the waves) the epic view of hughe breaking waves as far as the horizon. Breathtakingly beautiful and apocalyptic at the same time, truly appearing as probably the harshest environment on the planet! then a day later slow rolling waves and a breeze that (if it were not so cold) could have you believe you were in the Med, not the Southern Ocean.

So calmer days came and went and Spinnaker flying resumed and it was while bringing one spinnaker down that one of the most testing times on Qingdao occurred. Without too much detail, the spinnaker wrapped around the metal fore stay we raise our smaller staysail from and got stuck, flogging wildly it was in danger of destroying itself or even worse the rig! after several attempts to free it the only option left was to send someone up the mast (at night!) Mark (our new Media Intern and Yachtmaster
  volunteered and up he went. Then we were hit by some larger waves and Mark lost grip of the mast and swung round the Mast  (twice) on his safety lines. This then turned inbto a rescue operation to get Mark down in one piece. Well after 3 hours we did but in the process he was battered and bruised and the skipper had been hit by him as he swung wildly around as we brought him  back to the deck! This was tense stuff and could easily have had a different result, sobering times for the Q crew! but all is well, and after treatment from the boats amazing Medic (who's heart rate will settle some day!) yours truly both Skip and Mark are well. And today 36 hours after trying to drop the kite we did (in many bits!!) Repair work for Geraldton and lost time and places but who cares, we are all safe and that is all that matters, we will come back, so watch out fro the Qingdao shuffle!!
Phil W (WYP)

Just read your blog it sounds amazing. Anytime you feel down or cold just think you could be in an office in Wakefield!!!


Bet you're glad it wasn't you up there.
Have you actually been up there at all?
Glad you all kept your heads and everyone got through it ok.
warmer climes on the horizon.


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    Its like Jim Kirk but without the star dates and I'm not the captain!

     Well here is where you can get to find out a little more about how I'm getting on in my quest for adventure.

    I aim to keep you posted on my training (both how I cope with learning to sail and how I am getting into shape for the race), How I am doing with regards to funding and how much money I have raised for good causes.

    I intend on this to be a journal of everything connected to this epic adventure, so at times it may be funny, sometimes full of grumbles and sometimes down right crazy! but I hope at all times it will reflect my experiences and feelings at the time.

    So watch this space!!!


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