Sunday, 14 December 2014

St Lucia, you can run, but you can't hide......

Hi. Apologies for the radio silence for the last week or so. Also for the lack of photos. Keeping a satellite connection for long enough to send a blog post is hard enough – so I haven't bothered posting any pictures – although I have tonnes !!
You wouldn't believe how the days fly by. I'll run you through the routine we've settled into: 
8-1400 – Watch 1 – Rig check and sail setting, followed by breakfast and coffee.
1400-2000 – Watch 2 – although in reality, we have Rumadan here, where, depending on the appetite for Rum, we either stick rigidly to the timetable, or or all hell breaks loose. Unfortunately, its rarely somewhere between the two. Also, I cook supper during this time, which depending on the aforementioned Rumadan, can be a clean and tidy affair, or completely chaotic. In either case, all crew inevitably end up with food down their shirts, and lashings of Rum. Kemp has invented a new drink, which has been christened the Camel's Rectum – because of its ability to quench even the most Saharan of thirsts. Rum, Orange & Tonic and fresh Lime (well, they were fresh when we started). Don't knock it till you've tried it. It makes the Rum taste nice, and fends off the scurvy.
2000-0000 – Evening watch, split into two, two hour, one man watches. The success of these is largely dependent on the preceding activities. We each have our own style on a one man watch. Kemp continues his Mayhem namesake, often making one man sail changes unannounced. The Mayhem has quietened considerably since we convinced him that putting in his hearing aids would double his sensory perception (when its dark out here, boy is it dark). Pete smokes his way through his, cup of steaming Nescafe in hand. I listen to music on my headphones, singing (badly) to myself. Cooper is utterly transfixed on the numbers, ensuring we make the best headway. The silence broken only by the odd expletive as he wanders from course and is applauded by the booming report of the headsails.
0000-0400 – Dog. 2 times 2 hour, one man shifts. Actually, despite the time, the moon is up and its really rather pleasant.
0400 – 0800 – The boat rouses, gently into another day.
For the chaps not on watch, or cooking/tidying/sorting/finding things for Duncan, we're sleeping. And so the days roll on. Until tomorrow, when we'll finally be there, greeted by our loved ones. There are an awful lot of people who have helped this become a reality – if not for Dad, but the rest of us. For those we crew pass on our greatest gratitude.
Again, as always, the support of all at Rippaway HQ has been like a rock. Each of us has had some real low points – sometimes close to, other times actual tears. The kindness and compassion has been abundant, both on the boat and on shore.
Lastly, I'd like to dedicate this final 'At Sea' post to two very special people who passed away whilst we've been on this voyage. Nancy's brother Michael, and Bill's brother Rob. Rest in peace folks.
More pictures to follow once we're ashore.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Now that was tough......

Its been a tough 48 hours. High seas (6+ meters), reasonably high winds (26 kts) and an extremely motivated and exhausted crew. We seem to be one of the few boats that has taken the high line, which is currently working well in our favour. We currently lie 10th overall (distance to the mark) and 3rd in our class. Both these positions are without the application of handicap – we have the second highest in the fleet) so fingers crossed we should be in good shape.
The last 24 hours have presented (other than the weather) a broken power generator, a knackered satlink (hence the silence for those who have been trying to get through) all fixed in short order headed by Pete. For those that know Pete, every now and again you get to see the pissed off Geordie come out with his bit between his teeth – he did this in great style today – and we all owe him and Chris a great deal of thanks. Otherwise it would be manual navigation, and no weather forecasts which while we'd still get there would have had us out of the race.
The cabin has started to become – shall we say – unique. There's a distinct lack of feng-shui, and the glorious scatter cushions and laid table of Falmouth days have been replaced by damp clothing, fruit (which point blank refuses to stay in the over head nets, for want of a party with the aforementioned damp clothing) and damp oilskins. At night, its more eerie. Lit with red light to preserve night vision, on first glance would represent a lefty victorian fetish club, complete with men in cots, clad head to toe in nylon, with one man permanently strapped (and I mean strapped) to the cooker making tea.
We've survived so far on massive chunk of Gorgonzola, and food that Moragh has made us – thanks Moragh. From here on in we're flying solo. After witnessing Huddersfield, Canada and America in the kitchen I'm taking on the duties of chef. It's clear that their talents lie outside of the galley. So far the ambition of returning a bronzed, ripped adonis are being blown away by a diet of soft cheese and bread in the day – and sumptuous meals at night. All if this will change from here on in.
Thanks again for your unwavering support (looking a you Rippaway HQ).
Hope all is well.
Love from Derbyshire, Huddersfield, Canada & America.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014


Well, after a weary, eye rolling first 48 hours we're lying 10th overall (out of 116 boats in the cruising division). The extreme fatigue has gone, replaced with a broad grin as Peter & I are sailing a perfect broad reach, tootling along at 8 1/2 knots.
Fortunately, they're not been a spot of sea sickness from any of the crew thanks to Dr Cooper's rigid regime of Stugeron swiftly followed by a tot of Rum. 
Happy Hour was a ball last night – we ate Morrocan Chicken, washed down with some Pinot Grigot we found in the fridge (thanks Dad) – all accompanied by an eclectic mix of T-Rex and The Clash pumping out of the stereo.
As per skippers regulations, happy hour lasts only for exactly that (as the crew individually, and as a team) have a tendency to over do it (see previous post on dislocated fingers). As such, at 1901, music was off, sails set, and night watch resumed.
All good so far just one mildly hairy moment when a shackle popped resulting in an uncontrolled jybe (the worst thing about this point of sailing).
All in all – we're happy as larry – Peter's running a daily sweepstake on our daily race position (its funny – we all said we weren't going to race, just get there. It seems we were all lying ) Dunc and Coop are doing a fantastic job  as our really experienced racers – making sure we're getting the best bang for our buck from the steady winds (about 15-20 knots). Finally, thanks to the constant support from Rippaway HQ – Bill & Helen. Dad is donning his crew shirt for the entirety of the race (poor Mum) so if you do see Bill particularly in a week or so, with his shirt on inside and back to front it can be rest assured he's executing his 'how to make one piece of clothing last a month' strategy.
Love to you all,
From a contented crew of Good Ship Rippaway.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Glad we didn't start today...

Three emergency beacons activated in the water outside GC this morning. All boats (including the racers) have been called off until tomorrow. Following the rescue efforts on CH. 16 - makes it all rather real.

I m currently on board making sure all the electronics are sound and in good order. Rest of the crew have gone to the market to have a look round.

Start delayed

For 18 hours due to bad weather. Bah.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Here we go.....

Hi All - the time has come - we set off tomorrow morning. One broken leg, a couple of dislocated fingers and a missing skipper we're starting our Atlantic Crossing tomorrow.
Please follow us at .
You can find links to all of the bits and pieces at - You can track the boat from there, see the blog, and if you so wish donate some money.
Lastly, from all of the remaining crew we can't thank Billy Hughes enough. He's racked his brains for the last 18 months organising this trip, and he can't make it, so - this is for you Billy. We'll fully expect outrageously strong Rum punches on the shore of Rodney Bay, St Lucia when we get there 
Hope to see you all in time for Christmas.

Parasail Is a Go Go