Chasing the Albatross

My adventure in search of a bird by David Lawson



0 Update Tuesday 10th April

  • by David Lawson
  • 10-04-2018

Well now that Easter is out of the way and the end of the financial tax year has come and gone I can get back to writing a few missives to confirm I’m still here and watching what is going on with the ‘red tadpole’.

After a slow start due to lack of wind the race has increased in pace. Most of the teams have picked up problems along the way and especially fishing nets. PSP managed to ‘run over’ one and get it stuck on the keel and most unfortunately the propeller. Now on a race which is powered by wind and sail alone you wouldn’t think the propeller was that important but in the event of a man overboard situation the engine and propeller become vitally important. In these instances once the warning is given one of the first things the crew do is start the engine, reduce the sails and this then enables the skipper to engage the engine to bring the boat alongside the casualty to complete the pick up.

So in order to resolve the situation crew have to swim under the boat, attached to lines,  to free the offending items and after an all round team effort PSP managed to undo the offending net. Well done ladies and gents…a stellar effort in difficult conditions.

A few days ago the boat was swamped by a huge wave which took out the protective metal and webbing of one the helming stations. It also took one of the compasses too. Fortunately there are two helming stations, one on each side of the boat, and the crew will now be learning improvised helming skills and that is what sailing is all about. When you are so far away from a ‘trip down to the shops’ to buy a part or some kit it becomes about improvisation, improvisation and improvisation and that’s what keeps the boat going.

Unfortunately the PSP team have also lost the use of one of their spinnakers as this got wrapped around the forestay and had to be cut down from the top of the mast! Now climbing the mast in the middle of the ocean is not something I’d fancy doing but well done to Stian for venturing 80ft up from the deck to perform the task….definately not for the faint hearted.

So after nearly 18 days the boats still have just in excess of 2,200 nautical miles to go   which is the equivalent of driving from Birmingham to Rome and back on land.

So back here on land it has been busy at work with the end and start of the tax year coinciding with Easter. Baby Edie made her first long distance trip from Sheffield to Ross on Wye to spend a few days with us…oh and Beccy and Seamus came too! She really is a little beauty, but perhaps I’m just biased!!

Prior to the Easter holidays I had a meeting with Peter and Jenny Twitchett. Peter and Jenny have been long standing clients and friends of mine for many years. Both are now retired and Peter has been a long time member of the local folk scene in Suffolk. Not only does Peter sing and play the guitar, but he also writes a few songs, and with an encouraging push from Jenny he has given me a truly special gift….a song he has written based on my story of Chasing the Albatross across the Southern Ocean from Cape Town to Fremantle.

Now I can’t imagine there are too many people who have taken part in this amazing adventure who have had their version of events turned into song. It was a very emotional moment to hear Peter play and sing it to me for the first time….and so it is with the greatest pleasure that I have attached the following recording taken on my phone.

Peter and I have agreed that he should retain the copyright to his song called…..yes you’ve got it…’Chasing the Albatross’.


As I said at the end of Peter’s wonderful rendition “Absolutely brilliant!”. Thank you Peter, you have created a digital legacy for us both of a wonderful moment in time and I can never thank both you and Jenny enough for this most wonderful gift.

As they would say on the radio….’turn it up, turn it up loud!!!”.


Just in case you aren’t aware I’m using the story of chasing my Albatross to raise some money for my chosen charity, the National Kidney Federation. My eldest daughter and recent Mum, Rebecca, has suffered with long term kidney problems and now manages her life with only one kidney. To all those who have donated, my sincere thanks. Any donation you can afford will help to make a real difference in the fight against kidney disease: