Nuns, Pirates, Greek Godesses, Mermaids, Newly-weds, Sharks , Arabs, &  Ducks – A First Class Sailing Blog

887 views  |   December 6th, 2019 

The Fancy Dress Party

Friday 6 December

1000 miles from anywhere and we are having a fancy dress party! Nuns, Pirates, Greek Godesses, Mermaids, Newly-weds, Sharks , Arabs, &  Ducks. Loud music and sun all on a boat rolling 15 degrees either way and speeding through the quartering swell. To me it felt great but surreal – as if we were in an episode of “Lost”.

As I write we are about to break through the 1000 mile barrier – that’s the distance to St Lucia and the finish line – another milestone ticked off the list. Skipper Ricky has just been to the top of the mast and is now safely back on deck to the relief of everyone.

Its my turn to be a mother and I have finished washing up breakfast (fruit salad, juice, sausage, French toast, porridge, tea/coffee) then cleaning the heads, anti –bac wiping the handrails and sweeping the floors. Now its time to think about lunch !

Love to all   xx    Martin

A difference in to-do lists

The lifetime amateur sailor vs the seasoned pro

The Challenger was presented with some minor maintenance issues that were not life threatening but probably needed to be attended to at sea, if possible, rather than waiting 5 days till we reach land. One or two of the fittings which secure our battens (the ribs which help to maintain the shape of our mainsail) to cars that ride up and down the mast, came loose. Additionally, the multicolored navigational light at the top of our mast (90’ off the water line) had gone dark and probably required a new bulb.  We have functioning navigational lights at deck level which meet all legal requirements but having the lights much higher up makes us much more visible to distant ships. Just to add one more wrinkle to the picture, we are sailing at 10 kts through pitching seas and are surrounded on 3 sides by active rain. Please find below my to do list compared to that of a seasoned pro.

My to do list:

1              Wait for rain to pass

2              Slow the boat down to a crawl, turn into the wind, and lower the mainsail to repair the batten cars

3              Hoist the mainsail

4              Leave the masthead light for a repairman on shore

5              Resume racing

Up the mast

Up the mast

Rickie, the seasoned pro’s to do list

  1. Tell the helmsman to maintain course and speed
  2. Don a lightweight raincoat and a climbing harness
  3. Climb 20’ up the mast to repair the first batten
  4. Climb an extra 20’ to repair the second batten
  5. Oh well, nearly halfway up the mast, climb to the top, replace the bulb, and take some photos, all while the boat pitches from side to side, swinging the mast, and climber, through a 40’ arc every 15 seconds

I hope all at home have had, and digested their breakfast before reading this blog entry. As I believe I mentioned early on in the voyage, NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT ONE.

Love and wishes to all


Fin whales, squalls, rainbows

Jason – 6.12.19

Day started with nice porridge breakfast and then up on deck for sunrise.  Nice to take the helm and take us through into the last 1000 miles.  It seems odd that this landmark feels like we are on the homeward straight as we are still 1000 miles out at sea in the mid-Atlantic.  As per Gary’s blog above some impressive skills from Ricky this morning fixing stuff up the mast in a decent swell with squaals all around us.  Current coordinates for interested friends and family back home are N19.17.76 – W044.35.14.

Other than that a usual mid Atlantic day.  Fin whales, squalls, rainbows, flying fish, falling out of bunks, amazing sunrises, banter etc etc.  Jen please tell Harry we are now at the end of our fresh fruit and vegetables that he spent so much time arranging on deck.  For our remaining days we will enter the scurvy zone and looking at what is left will eat lots of potatoes and pate.

Love to all family and friends.  Jake if you are reading this your pillow case is very mucky but im all well and enjoying the journey.  Leah I hope your mocks are going well. Thinking of you all. xx

Fruit and Veg on deck

Fruit and Veg on deck

A word from Skipper Ricky

Our mid race Fancy Dress party went well yesterday. A Shark, Nun, a Just Married Couple (guess who), a mermaid, bank robber, lady of ill repute, French Garlic seller, Dustman, Inflatable Rubber Duck (to be seen to be believed), a Greek Goddess and Grumpy (Baz). All on deck of a Challenger doing 13 knots in the bright sunshine with an eclectic choice of music blasting out at full volume.

Cloud interfered with some flat sailing to send the course North and also killed the wind at times and resulted in a flappy crashing mainsail in the swell. A luff box pin has come out as a result, which will hopefuly be refitted if conditions permit. The masthead bulb has also blown, so we are running on deck level lights for now.

Replaced masthead bulb. Reseated the baton pin in the luff box. Replaced the Starboard nav light bulb.

Ricky, Skipper

Posted by: First Class Sailing


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