Every hour, a quarter to the full hour you hear under deck of VARUNA: Good morning boys it's your turn. That means two of us are going off watch and two are coming on watch.
The reaction from the sleeping off watch on this really depends on the weather. The first days in the race often they were already awake or even sitting on deck relaxing on a sail bag. Since yesterday the reaction changed. The sleeping boys are wishing to be invisible for the tired boys on deck in this moment.
They know they have around 15 minutes to get out of the warm and cosy sleeping back to get their HPX foul weather gear, the life vest and get out on deck in the foggy and humid night or day. Hand over with the boys and then enjoy the downwind sailing we are experiencing for the last days.
During the watch you trim either the main or the kite and swap with the other boys on deck to get yourself one of the three REAL TURMAT freeze dried meals per day or just hike on the high side of the boat. If there are manouvers like kite peals or gybes we need to wake up one or two of the sleeping crew to handle it as we are only five on deck.
Our three hour watches are a nice mix of on deck work and sleep. Sailing a Rogers 46 in these conditions is hard work. The boat needs the helmsmen's full concentration and communication with the trimmers. Although everybody is highly concentrated and focused on deck we have chats with each other. The topics are wide spread from on land food over to personal stories and tactical decisions.
In such weather conditions we are expecting for the next 20 hours with heavy weather downwind sailing often everybody is on deck for a couple of hours. The noise from the sheets and the grinder is so intense that there is now way to sleep down below. The water rushing below the hull does not make it any quieter.
Everybody is standing on the back of the boat and one on the grinder. The boat is cutting his way through the waves and the boys are feeling adrenalin rushes again and again just looking to get the maximum performance out of the boat.
For people not involved with offshore sailing this all might seem crazy. Go out on deck again and again and get wet and cold. We are like long distance runner. We love the competition and the challenge. To experience these things for such long periods is a very intense and also relaxing feeling. You have to love it. Apart from that you see a beautiful side of the planet and experience the never ending beauty of the ocean.
I just got the call to get on deck. Probably we will change kites the next hours and get VARUNA airplained for the night. Everything going his way on board, everybody is happy and the competition is on. The boys on SHAKTI make us work hard.
Good afternoon out there.