To all our avid followers of daily life aboard the rocket ship Grey Power we have to admit that we have for the last few days been leading you up the garden path somewhat! For those of you who are unfamiliar with what happens up the garden path please feel free to refer to the internet or even ask your grandmother about the delights of the invitation to "walk the garden path" with the boy from next door! Like most things in life nothing is ever quite as you would have been told!

Daily routine aboard Grey Power is definitely NOT all just about the next Happy Hour peppered with derogatory jokes about the French! Believe us when we tell you that we have to work very hard to get this potent symbol of mature masculinity to the finish line. Just look at the trouble we had getting to the start! "It's all in the finish my man!" As the Actress said to the Bishop.

So let us give you a taste of what really goes on here minute by minute!

WILL SOMEONE KINDLY WIND THAT 'EFFING JIB SHEET BEFORE THE THING DESTROYS ITSELF!!

My apologies but just getting the crew to focus there for a minute! Now where shall we begin?

Once upon a time there was an Englishman an Irishman a Real Indian a Frenchman and one very mixed up individual who really had little idea of what his forebearers got up to. Now before you get too critical about an individual's lineage, do you know who walked out with whom more than possibly two generations back? Remember everyone came from Africa ultimately and if you have a different opinion on the matter you are more than welcome to write in with your views. Just leave us off the send list please.

I digress. Back to the important bits. Life, minute by minute, aboard the fine tuned and immaculately turned out racing machine Grey Power. Day one and a blast reach from the start line down to the first turning mark, Buoy No.4 (Booee #4 to the Septics reading this) A shift by all the crew into racing mode and settle down to the first session of trim, trim and more trim as we work overtime to catch the rest of the fleet.

May I just enter an important note here to say we decided purely out of respect for the less mature competitors to start a little conservatively. We did not want to frighten the rest of the fleet by leaving them for dead after only ten minutes of racing and consequently only had the jib up with no mainsail. No! nothing to do with the skipper worried that he had not paid his insurance premium before leaving Blighty! Damn lies I tell you! A true upstanding Gentleman don't you know!

The crew were by now focused on the race and powered GP down to the South hunting down the other pretenders to the crown. Trim, trim and more trim as Frenchie drove us relentlessly through the back markers and on into the pack of yachts hoping in vain for glory!

The first night at sea was the usual freeze dried rations of prawn cocktail and limp lettuce followed by a Fillet steak (Americans and French please note there is a "T" on the end of the word!) with mashed potatoes washed down with a chocolate pudding with extra chocolate sauce. Well, that's what it said on the packet but God knows how they get all of it into one sachet that you boil in the bag! Bloody amazing if you ask me! I'm sure my New York Lawyer will get them on misrepresentation eventually! He charges enough so he must be good! (sarcasm alert!)

Through the night and only one of us allowed below at a time with two crew manning the pumps (coffee grinder winch in the cockpit for those in the dark!) at all times working to the shouts of the trimmer up on the windward side. Rotation every half hour and down you went to snatch a quick moment of respite before coming back onto the relentless treadmill.

We powered on into the night climbing steadily back up the ladder to regain our rightful place with the other yachts at the front of the pack.

Day two and the inside of the yacht was beginning to resemble the garage at home. Stuff everywhere and most of it of little use!

You can now begin to imagine what real life is like aboard Grew Power and how we are working as a finely tuned team in order to finish the race in a podium position.

The last six days have followed the same punishing routine of trim, steer, eat and rest but the pressure is beginning to show as the crew tire of the endless commands from RK-J for yet more speed. Dilip, our Real Indian crew member, momentarily lost the plot and threw a rather hot chilli pepper at Bernard when he was politely asked how long before dinner. Faster than you could say "zoot alors" back came a clove of garlic and for a moment we all thought that he was going to produce a snail or two as well but sense prevailed and the skipper promised us all a double helping of his infamous Pot Mess to calm the situation.

Damage to the boot and crew, I hear you ask? Well, so far both have survived remarkably well apart from the Coastal Club Commodore who let go momentarily and tried to knock a chunk of carbon off the cockpit edge. The boat won and he now is nursing a couple of bruised ribs. Obviously not used to being at sea for more than a couple of days at a time! The remainder of the crew are taking it all in their stride of course and smile knowingly!

Boat damage amounts to general wear and tear and a few bits of frayed cordage.

So a brief but accurate snapshot of life aboard the good ship Grey Power. So,how goes it back in the office boys and girls? Booked your cheap beach holiday in Greece yet? Remember, life is short and you're a long time dead! Enjoy it while you can! Aye

DISCLAIMER Any resemblance to fact in the above is down to pure chance, and the remainder of the crew, 3 experienced solo circumnavigators and the IT specialist wish to disassociate themselves to protect their reputations as Ocean, rather than Coastal sailors.

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