Southern Child – Daily Blog 5

Christmas Caribbean Rally Day 7
Posn: 23:24.625n031:05.342w
Daily Run: 151NM
Wind: E 16 – 20knts
Sea: E 1m
Sunny, at last 🙂
Top Speed: 11.1 Heika (Mark’s watch)
7 days onboard and 1000 miles completed. Before I came onboard the thing that I was most nervous about was feeling claustrophobic with 8 people on a 40 foot yacht for 14-20 days. 
We are divided into 2 watches of four people.  We share a cabin with someone who is on the opposite watch so when we are asleep it feels like we have our own space.  The watch shifts are separated into 3 hour blocks at night and 4 hour blocks during the day. 12am-3am, 3am-6am, 6am-10am, 10am-2pm, 2pm-6pm, 6pm-9pm and 9pm-12pm.  While on watch we take turns on the helm, being on deck in case anything happens, fishing and looking for ships etc.
We also have a number of duties. The 6am-10am shift is responsible for cleaning the head, cabin and making sure none of the fresh produce is going off. The 10am to 2pm shift is responsible for making everyone lunch and  cleaning the cockpit,the 2pm to 6pm shift cooking dinner.  When we are off shift we are usually trying to sleep if not being kept awake by the sun or the engine charging the battery.  Due to the uneven number of blocks we rotate either being on watch 10 hours or 14 hours a day.
When ever we need to do a maneuver we try and do it when there is a shift change so both watches are available to help out.  Today we needed to hoist the skipper up the mast to check the rigging, drop the main sail to put a patch on it and let out a reef, gybe the genoa and put up a storm jib, as a staysail, which took all of us just over 3 hours.  We don’t have furled sails so this all takes time.
One of the best things that is happening is that we are all starting to work together as a team as we get comfortable with how things work on a yacht. From making tea and coffee for each other at 3am in the morning in the dark in a rolling cabin (we always wake each other up with a hot drink).  To our slow but supreme effort at today’s maneuver giving us all a sense of comradmanship and achievement.  btw – to those who I’m going to start climbing with you will be glad to know I was in charge of the safety line hoisting the skipper up the mast.
As for being claustrophobic it hasn’t happened as I’m either too busy or too tired.  I’m also pretty excited that my watch has started playing charades which takes on a hilarity at 4am in the morning that usually would mean having a drink first (c:
As we are all taking turns each day writing the blog I would like to wish all my family and friends a lovely Christmas day and I hope to hear from you in the New Year.
Yours truly,
A Southern Child