Chasing the Albatross

My adventure in search of a bird by David Lawson



0 Update Wednesday 31st January

  • by David Lawson
  • 06-02-2018

Well I feel that I’m well and truly back at work now. Myself and Andie and Kay, who has been valiantly looking after my business whilst I’ve been away, all sat down for a business planning meeting yesterday. There is a lot of regulatory change going on and so there are some key alterations I will need to make now I’m home. Also I need to send some money to the taxman today….always a delight. The Southern Ocean suddenly appears to have been a long time ago!

So Leg 5 has had a very slow start and the last thing everyone would have wanted is a wind hole. But PSP are wind hole specialists now and I know Matt and the team will have been making use of every sail to try to capture the smallest of breezes. The sail of choice will have been a Windseeker which is a light sail and has more chance of catching the slightest of breezes. Sailing in these conditions is an art and you’re constantly looking to see what the other boats are doing. As all the boats will have been in close proximity spotting someone with some wind when you haven’t got it will have been excruciating.

Out in the ocean you can see about 10 miles or so to the horizon and as the boats get going it’s surprising how quickly everyone disappears from view. Then it’s a case of checking the positioning systems in the Nav Station to see where the others are but after a while the electronic systems also lose their ‘sight’ capability and it’s down to the Clipper Race HQ updates.

Now there is some breeze and PSP are making better progress and more importantly no-one managed to catch a wind shift out of the wind hole to make any significant break away. So that’s a good start and what’s even better is that PSP don’t seem to be making any significant course shift away from the rhumb line (the shortest route between the departure and arrival destinations). Could this be a new tactic Matt and Trevor will employ for this race? Who knows but it’s going to be interesting to see how the tactics play out.

Matt and Trevor, one of the Coxswains and number 2 on the boat, will normally determine the tactics and route for the race. This changes as the race progresses and Matt has a regular ‘happy hour’ meeting between watch changes at lunch time where he shares with the whole boat what is going on i.e. future weather, positions of the fleet, tactics etc. It’s an opportunity for all the crew to ask questions and bring up any matters they want to discuss.

The race standings show Sanya taking a early lead, so no change there. Whilst all the boats came out of the same moulds when they were built, some are obviously faster/lighter than others. The Sanya boat could benefit from being lighter than others and I’m sure the PSP boat is too, given that we’ve always sailed further than the other boats yet have been constantly vying for the top positions. It’s an interesting thought. Alternatively, we could be just a great sailing unit and the weight makes no difference….I quite like that it sounds much more professional….and means we’re more skilled…ha ha!

Well I’ll be keeping a close watch on the tadpoles as Andie refers to them and I’m quite enjoying this speculative role…..but for now it’s back to work…, sell……is the kettle on??