once the main was up, it was clear that one of the reefing lines we'd run into the main that morning had twisted, so I nipped up the leach of the main to re-run it cleanly. sometimes it's the easiest way to do it!
after our fuse debacle, on the way out we laughed with our new joiners about the curse of mission performance... to keep in the spirit of things, and because we thought at this point we'd be eligible for redress, we did our own le mans start when we got to the official start line and headed off up the north east coast of australia.
|kate and me failing on the squall preparation front...|
we did well, making up loads of time, and having some great sailing before we got to papua new guinea. we spent 24 hours stuck between two islands, and every time we came up for watch change we'd look over and go 'oh god still here' until the wind eventually came back. we had loads of squalls and on-deck showers and sail changes, going from the windseeker to the yankees pretty quickly as the clouds came over us. the new guys got adept very quickly at reefing!!
it was during one of these headsail changes that I managed to injure myself. me and mike were hauling the yankee 2 out of the forepeak hatch when the boat slammed and I twisted and landed strangely. I knew I'd done something, but there were only 12 of us (as usual!) so I kept going. we were joined on the foredeck by stephen and the three of us got the y2 hanked on. we dropped the y1 and hoisted the y2. all good so far. then we started dragging the y1 back. it got stuck under the staysail, so we dragged the clew back and took it round the inner forestay. while we were doing that, I realised that actually I was in quite a lot of pain. I couldn't pull the sail back as I'd lost all the power in my lower back and legs, so I crawled off the foredeck and collapsed on the side deck. kate was driving and realised I was broken, and got rachel to get matt, after I'd clipped on so I didn't roll off the boat.
matt and a couple of other folk managed to get me downstairs (I've no idea how) where I was helped out of my lifejacket and foulies. by now my lower back was spasming and I was a in lot of pain. matt had a look, put some deep heat on and gave me ibuprofen. I was trying to stretch the muscles, but it wasn't working. matt decided I needed rest and I was put to bed. not very comfortable, I didn't really sleep properly, and after a while the spasming had spread half way up my back as I don't like lying in bed if I don't have to! so that was that, I was man down for a few days. I kept getting up and trying to do stuff, but matt kept sending me back to bed to rest. after about 4 days of pain relief and rest, I decided enough was enough and went back up on deck, just doing light duties. after about a week I felt loads better and by the time we got to singapore I was absolutely fine. no tired muscles or anything. that was a relief.
while I was stuck in my bunk, me kate and sophie were plotting the second equator crossing of the race. as we were all now shellbacks, it was up to us, derek and matt to organise the ceremony. we decided that sophie was going to be lady neptuna, derek would be the bear (again!) and what exactly we were going to do to the poor unsuspecting polliwogs... there is an element of costume needed, and the wig was taking shape for sophie, and I made the capes for her and derek. me and kate wrote a haiku summoning poem (!) and sophie had to write her lady neptuna bit.
|sophie, derek and matt during the equator crossing ceremony :)|
at this point we'd made up the 24 hours we'd lost at race start and were sitting in 10th position! then there was a huge windhole and we decided to go over palau where there was better wind and keep the boat moving. qingdao had already decided to do this and were going good guns. this was working out quite nicely for us, until the windhole cleared and the rest of the fleet started moving. once again we crossed the finish line in last place, but only 90 minutes behind garmin. so that was ok. we were still waiting to hear from clipper about any redress, they'd been very quiet on that front even though matt had repeatedly emailed asking about it. finally, after we crossed the finish line, we were told that there would be no redress as it was mechanical failure and a straightforward application of a rule. we immediately asked why it had taken so long if it was so straightforward and were really angry about it. but we'd raced well, caught the fleet and made up loads of time.
now for the motor in company through the celebes sea (due to pirates, which we didn't see any of incidentally) before the race restart down to singapore. the race office then decided there wasn't going to be a race b and we were told to motor to singapore, via kota kinabalu to refuel. with such a long motor in front of us, we decided to do a deep clean of the boat to maximise our down time in singapore. we stopped briefly in kk to get fuel, and weren't allowed off the pontoon.
when we got to singapore, there was a surprise waiting for me. crispy!!! he'd flown from muscat to singapore to see me. because we were so late, he had to fly back the next morning (after delaying his flight in the first place) so we only had one evening to catch up. we had some beer and I saw him briefly in the morning before he flew out, so he could drop off the care packages folk had given him for me :)