It’s amazing how things can change so quick in just a few days of yacht racing, the calm condition of the first few days seem a distant memory and the stress of keeping a boat moving in little to no wind has been replaced by a different kind of stress as we plough downwind in no visibility at over 16kts.
It feels like to you are totally alone as you can only see 100 meters in front of the bow at times, but every so often a ship will appear on the AIS system and you monitor their progress as they hopefully pass at a nice wide berth, sometimes you smell the engine fumes as they pass up wind, but you never see them.
It’s been very strange race for me so far, firstly with me move up to skipper in the place of owner Chris Bull (absent due to a family wedding) and secondly the shear fact that we are here without Chris aboard. My role onboard is changed a little but not as much as you might think, primarily my role on Jazz is as one of the grownups and hopefully a calming voice. I would normal talk through with navigator Mike Broughton the weather and race strategy, in becoming skipper I am just doing more of the same and trying to take some of the load off of Mike.
The day to day running of the boat is down to the watch leaders and although i hear most of what is discussed I will often only offer input if I think that something has been missed.
The bigger point I think is in taking a boat to race without its owner, we are all agreed that we wish Chris was here to experience this, we have all known him and sailed for him over many year and realise that it is a massive thing to be allowed to take his pride and joy on such an adventure, this sport is nothing without the owners who invest a huge amount of time and resource to a pleasure that has created a massive industry and it is that commitment from Chris that has us all grinning from ear to ear
Boat speed 18kts