Antigua to Portsmouth Day 7: How to rehabilitate your loved one upon their return

2,452 views  |   January 17th, 2019 


Look out for Clive’s apology below as he tries to dig himself out of a 5 mile deep hole. Not sure if Penny will let his mistake go as easily as he let the wedding photograph go. The crew of Challenger 4 are past half-way and already thinking about how they will readjust back into society. To help them out, First Mate Nick has written today’s blog offering advice to the respective loved ones back home, who may notice some subtle changes, on how to properly rehabilitate them.


16 January 2019


Clive’s Blog and apology

Hurrah and huzzah!  Today we celebrate passing the halfway point to the Azores!


My day started with a sausage sandwich and then a 0700 watch, cruising along at 8kts we enjoyed another breath-taking sunrise…… what else do you need to start the day?!


I then began my ‘mother watch’ duties with fellow mothers, Mark and Ben.  Lunch required a little more prep than usual due to the party….. did I mention the halfway party?!  We produced the usual excellent fare, baked potatoes, beans, cheese, tuna mayo and coleslaw.  I am feeling a tinge of victimisation, as the token Irishman on board, that’s twice they’ve had me on spud duty!  A little extra in the form of crackers, pate and a cheese and pineapple hedgehog (yes you did read that correctly) followed by a toast to fair winds for the remainder of our voyage.



As you know this rollercoaster doesn’t stop, the watches continue their sailing duties and the mothers set about cooking a fantastic chicken curry, rice and dhal.


On a personal level the trip has been fantastic so far, the sailing has been excellent and I’ve been able to build both my skills and confidence, this will no doubt prepare me and my other crew mates for the challenges we face ahead.  The views have been spectacular, rolling deep blue seas and ever changing skies, cloud formations and eagerly awaited sunsets and rises.  Early setting crescent moons and darkness have provided us with an almighty astronomical backdrop, constellations hang vividly in the sky, Mars, Venus and Jupiter all visible with Jupiter casting a light shadow across the black ocean.  Shooting stars are the norm but never disappoint as they race across the black skies.  To put this is context all watches have seen just 14 ships since we left Antigua, however, I have viewed around 5-10 shooting stars every night!  Solitude and reflection allow us time to think on life and loved ones.


Meteor Showers


I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Penny (Mike’s wife) for losing their beloved wedding photo, Mike looked very dashing in his kilt you lucky lady!!  Alas, a gust of wind freed the photo from my grasp and whilst it was unfortunate to lose said photo I would ask that you take comfort in the unique location of the picture….. 1000 miles from land and around 5 miles down!

As another day closes we continue in the darkness, sailing along at a very respectable 10.5 kts with 1450 miles covered, we won’t stop until we reach our first goal, Horta!

Morale is high and you can all be happy and sleep well knowing this crew are all looking out for each other!

The words are my own, Clive!  The jacket and Curry a team effort, Ben, Mark and I, No1 mother watch!


Mate’s Advice

Now that we are over half way to the Azores I thought this would be a good time to address those of you back home awaiting the return of your “loved” ones. You do realise they are ever so slightly crazy don’t you? Unfortunately, they will probably be even crazier when they get back to “normal” life. To that end I have detailed 10 points of advice you may find help rehabilitate them on their return:


1, When you first meet your loved ones on their return to dry land they may appear to be unable to walk in a straight line. This is not necessarily due to excessive alcohol, their world has been moving in all directions for the last 35 days. Just offer them an arm to lean on.


2, You may wake in the middle of the night to find them staring out of the window or worse standing in the garden looking at the stars muttering “is that Jupiter or Venus”. If this happens just whisper in their ear “you’re off watch” and they will gradually find their way back to bed.


3, At meal times, despite what you may cook for them they will empty their plate into a bowl and eat the contents with a spoon, whilst covering everything with either Reggae Reggae or Chipotle hot sauce.


4, If they are consistently holding their bowl up to their chin please reassure them that it won’t jump off the table and hit them in the chest if they put it down.


5, If they do make food for you over the first couple of weeks they will probably make enough for 16 people and it will be made in one saucepan.


6, Please try and discourage them from hanging their underwear on the neighbour’s garden fence. Suggest to them that they use the washing line or tumble drier instead.


7, You may find them standing in the toilet continually flushing the cistern, they are doing it because they can, don’t try and stop them the novelty will wear off in a couple of weeks.


8, If you find small brown paper bags in the garden outside your bathroom window DON’T open them.


9, If they claim to be unable to sleep without someone on top of them don’t be concerned this is a reference to the pipe bunk sleeping arrangement not some dark, sailors ritual.


10, Finally you may have trouble getting them out of the shower for the first 2 weeks of their return. Again leave them to it, the novelty will eventually wear off and things will return to normal.


So if you take into account the above 10 points rehabilitation and return to normal life should be relatively problem free, until the next time of course. Don’t forget to be gentle with them and look after them, after all, they are very SPECIAL.







Skipper Sue’s Log

Date : 16/01/19

Time : 12:00 UT

Position: 32.01.44N 48.34.32W

Destination :Horta

ETA :Jan 22nd – according to the GPS

DTF : 1050NM

Fuel : 2 full, 1 empty, 1 in use

Water : 1 full, 1 in use, 1 empty, 1 filling from W/maker

Gas : 1 empty, 3 full, 1 in use

Sail plan: Full Main, Y1 & Stay,

Wind:  15kts 180deg apparent


Good morning all


Since the breeze veered to the south and we turned the corner 24 hours ago we have been treated to near perfect sailing – wind on or just aft of the beam and speed anywhere between 7 and 10kts in an unbelievably flat sea below cloudless skies. At night we are treated to a half moon that sets and makes way for a light show of shooting stars, by day the flying fish & Sargasso weed are still with us and this afternoon we were questioning whether we were actually heading back towards Antigua, such was the warmth. Our distance to run dropped below the distance already travelled yesterday – a significant psychological marker for the crew but I think we’re all very aware of not wishing the time away and enjoying the moment. At lunchtime today we will ceremonially move boat time an hour on and celebrate the halfway point with a beaker of rum punch as a farewell to the Caribbean. All is well on Challenger 4.


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More blogs about this Atlantic Adventure can be read here: Portsmouth to Gran Canaria

Posted by: First Class Sailing


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