This leg wasn’t one that I had been looking forward to. The Southern Ocean is known for being a mighty beast with wild seas and weather to match. On top of this having been unwell for most of leg 2, this ending by spending a day in hospital in Cape Town while they worked out what was up with me, I wasn’t beginning the leg feeling fully fit.
It was another of those starts where you’re so busy doing your starting position that I didn’t really notice we had crossed the line! We managed to round the first marker in the lead and then promptly ended up in a wind hole and watched more or less the rest of the fleet overtake us. We all crawled our way out of Table Bay hoping that the wind would come to us. As we left the bay and started to leave Cape Town behind us we were treated to the spectacular sight of about 6 whales who were so close to us we thought we might run one over at one point! There were also Dolphins and seals playing along side us. Later in the leg we were treated to the sight of a shark and also penguins! I never thought I’d see penguins at sea so this was a moment to treasure.
The wind did decide to join us and we were back to the 45 degree way of living and with the wind on the nose the return of seasickness for me too. It also soon became cold and being on deck for long periods of time became challenging especially when there wasn’t much need to use any winches to help keep you warm. The waves that crashed over the side were so powerful and cold too it made you realise what powerful elements we are dealing with. I am so glad that I invested in a dry suit as although they don’t keep you warm, being dry and cold is better than wet and cold! Dry suits do bring new comedy however in trying to get in and out of them when you’re heeled over – it’s a challenge enough on flat dry land! It was cold down below at time so always hard to tell if things were wet or cold!
I’ve never experienced such darkness before with the blackest cloud-covered skies and dark seas meaning that at night we were sailing along into what felt like an abyss and you wondered what was out there. Dawn always makes everything feel better and we were treated to some spectacular sunrises.
This leg we had our first spinnaker wrap – this is when the massive sail gets wrapped around part of the rigging and then is hard to get out. It took nearly a day to get sorted and sadly the sail was torn so badly we couldn’t use it for the rest of the leg. It’s horrible when things break as you feel sad inside and hope that this hasn’t ended the race.
Although we were in the Southern Ocean, we had a couple of times where the winds were so light that we had to hoist the windseeker which is a sail only for light winds – not the sleigh-ride massive wind and waves we were promised!
This leg I was on mother watch with Ellie who is the only other female round the world crew on the team. It was great fun being with her for the days as we were able to not only cook for the crew but have a good chat and laugh with her as we have always been on different watches to one another so don’t spend time together at sea.
Overall this leg was hard. As a team we have been successful as we were second in the race, second through the scoring gate and one the ocean sprint meaning we received the same number as points as LMAX did who came in first. I’m glad we have made it tot Australia as the Southern Ocean was one I was concerned about. We are currently first in the overall race standings which is an amazing achievement. The next leg contains 3 shorter races so let’s see what the Australian waters bring us.
Thank you to all you supporters at home – am missing home badly at the moment and your messages keep me going and my spirits high. Love you all xxx