We have been sailing under the big kite for hours and there is a relaxed, happy vibe on the boat. Besides keeping the boat moving as fast as possible we have a domestic life on board that is organized through our system of watches. We are either on watch, cooking, fixing stuff, sleeping or doing the bosun duties for the day.
We have a bosun each day who is not officially on watches that day but completes a list of boat tasks including: checking for chaffing, checking shroud guards for damage,checking water tanks, fuel tanks, solar panels, condition of sails, water maker, goose neck fitting, blocks at mast base, blocks for gybe preventer, furling drum, jib cars, Jack stays, steering gear, hydrovane, fuel cans, generator, engine, batteries and wiring, VHF and seacocks.
In addition the bosun is responsible for cleaning the bilges, galley, heads, floors, saloon, rotating fruit and vegetables and doing boat laundry. Bosun also charges the torches, reviews the routing for the day and night and updates the GRIB files. Every 5 days one of us is bosun. It’s a busy day with lots of good learning about what it takes to run and maintain a boat at sea.
Someone each day is designated the cook for lunch and someone else for dinner. Our watches are organized in 2 hour chunks. We all seem to be hungry all the time. We spend time together talking about food and what we will cook and look forward to our next meal.
When not on watch we are helping with repairs. There’s downtime for those not on watch or doing bosun duties so we have a boat chess tournament going and there is at least in game of chess a day and yes the board is magnetic.
The boat is rarely quiet, it creaks and it groans. There are tremendous forces at play on multiple areas at at given time on a boat. The noise of 13 tonnes of boat and gear blasting through the water at 9 knots in a swell is hard to describe.
Today we heard news on the VHF of an accident on one of the other boats. The boat made a sudden unplanned maneuver and two of the crew were thrown across the boat. One sustained a concussion and the other has an open ankle fracture. A vessel of opportunity was 10 hours away and they were going to try to get the injured people off to help get them to the Caribbean faster. We later heard that it was too rough to make the transfer so the injured person is stuck with an open fracture on a rolling boat in big seas. I can’t imagine how painful that must be for the person and the crew .
Our routines turn hours into days and days into nights. We sleep in snatches and I find myself happily heading up on deck at 2am after a few hours sleep to sail under the moon while the others sleep.