Southern Child – Daily Blog 11 – Day 13 in the Big Brother Boat …

Christmas Caribbean Rally Day 13
Midday Posn: 16:55.020n049:32.411w
Wind: E / ESE, 16 – 20 knts
Sea: E, 1- 2m
Daily Run: 224NM in 25hrs (clocks back 1hr).
Top Speed: 14.4knts, Mark.
Before I did this trip my mother told me it was important to get to know the people I would be spending 14-18 days on a forty foot boat with.  I agree it would have been nice but it wasn’t practical.  I was hoping that the competitiveness of racing would put any personality issues aside.  So none of us had met before Lanzarote other than two of the girls who were friends.  To begin with it wasn’t particularly easy which was exasperated by the various levels of crew experience ranging from none to the first mate& skipper  who are qualified for commercial ocean trips and three different languages being regularly spoken.  At the start it manifested itself in misunderstandings of what things like ‘use fresh water sparingly’ meant as some where having fresh water showers and some weren’t, (this was explained very politely by both Skipper & 1st mate prior to departure, & rather more forcefully when one water tank was used up in the 1st 4 days of passage!!!) This has since been rectified by only using fresh water for tea and coffee. 
Then there was the prolonged time it would take to do maneuvers which was frustrating for those that had been doing them for years by those that didn’t know the names of the different ropes or, due to English not being someone’s first language, what terms like ‘ease’ meant.  This has slowly changed as we have become familiar with the words and the actions to the point where the skipper announced we would start doing them at night if need be.
At times it has been a bit big brother’ish as we all are human and have emotions.  A few days into the trip I saw a minor tea incident which I then overheard discussed by 5 different sets of people.  For myself I have been reading my Emotional Intelligence in the workplace course notes as I have similar issues when leading teams at work and I believe soft skills is always an area you can be better at.  Though I must say that dealing with colleagues is a lot easier to forget about over a drink at the pub with your mates after work (c:
Another thing to put our big brother boat in perspective is that none of us have had more than 3.5 hours straight of sleep for the last 13 days, (between watches).  And to be honest it is probably more like 2.5 hours as you are woken up about 20 minutes before you watch and it takes at least 10 minutes after a watch to to sleep and our 4 hour shifts are during the day which makes it a bit harder to get to sleep due to the day light and people talking.  So it is always worth telling yourself it won’t seem so bad by your next shift.
All in all we are slowly getting to know each other better and personally I find that a good games of charades breaks down any strong feelings as you can’t remain ticked off when someone is trying to get you to guess lion by showing you their fangs.  Thinking back to my mother’s advice I don’t think that I would have known after our first meeting how people’s personalities would have gelled or not, in close extended quarters.
Onto practical matters our skipper is a brilliant cook and we have just finished a lovely 3 bean salad and I’m looking forward to dinner.  We are also counting down the miles to Antigua as at our current speed we will get there just before midnight on new years eve.
Note from Skipper & 1st Mate:  We all hope that All is well on Tjula, as she has dropped back quite drastically in last 24hrs, maybe they were enjoying a few rumms & took the night off the pressure ….
Yours truly,
A Southern Child