We’re 60 miles north of the Estrecho de La Maire, and currently doing 10 knots on a beam reach (we’ll have to slow down or we’ll be too early for the tide). Our plans are then to head up towards the Beagle channel, and possibly stop somewhere briefly before proceeding to Ushuaia.
So, this is going to be my last ever blog entry from Elinca. I have been on
the voyage since Elinca set off from Falmouth and I get booted off the boat
in Ushuaia :(. Before I start picking at your heart strings and making you
feel sad like I do, I thought I would share with you some information about
Elinca, and her past career as a racing yacht.
On board, we have a book titled ‘Only Wind and Water’ by Michael Calvin. It
is about the BT Open Challenge Race, an around-the-world sailing race which
takes the vessels and crew from the UK, south to the Southern Ocean, where
they bear west, taking the most difficult route. The crew and I have been
intrigued about the tales from the book, as their style of voyage was much
different to ours. They had to sail on straight into storms and battle
through them to win, whilst we do our best to avoid them, putting the safety
of the crew and Elinca first. However, we have recently sailed through some
heavy weather in the infamous roaring forties and furious fifties, which I
feel has given us a bit of a closer idea of racing crews journey.
The BT Open Challenger race was designed by Sir Chay Blyth, a once Parachute
Regiment sergeant, who decided to participate in a solo race around the
world. With hardly any sailing experience he made a record breaking solo
voyage in 1971. This amateur element became the fundamental principal for
the Challenger races, all the crew were of all ages and abilities and
Elinca, under her previous name, ‘Time and Tide’ was built in 1996 to be one
of the 14 Challenger vessels to take part in the race. Not only was the
vessel and crew in competition with the 13 other vessels, they were also
trying to be the first yacht to sail around the world crewed by disabled
people! They were successful in completing the race, which I think is
incredible given that the crew were physically disadvantaged. We have always
joked upon Elinca how it can be difficult to do the most basic tasks, such
as get out of bed when the boat is strongly heeled over, or to cook. Its
hard to imagine what they would have been like with disabilities.
The Challenger races first leg ended in Rio de Janerio and then took the
yachts south, along the South American coast. Elinca’s route has been
similar to theirs so far, but we have stopped off at many ports in
comparison giving us a chance to contact the outside world and stretch our
legs. We thought that a few weeks across the Atlantc was a long voyage, the
Challenger race crew would not have set foot on land for over a month at
each time! But amongst the hardship of the Challenger race also came some
humorous stories, one of the yachts was doing 11 knots towards the Canary
Islands, only to be forced to a halt as they crashed into a shark and killed
it! But don’t worry, its rare that we doing 11 knots so i doubt that will
happen to us.
Participating in the Challenger race seems like a very different world to
ours at the moment, we do have a time constrains but we dont have to push
ourselves as hard to race other vessels. I hope this has given you a little
insight into round-the-world racing anyway.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time upon Elinca and i just sailed to the most
southern city in the world- boom! The crew are brilliant people who have had
me in constant laughter for the past 2 1/2 months. I have also learnt loads,
such as that putting my feet on the table IS socially acceptable when
eating. I just hope the crew know that I see them as family and that their
Antarctica Christmas is not going to feel right without me. I hope they feel
bad about not offering to stash me away so that I can go with them, but i
know they will regret not doing so.
But, guilt tripping aside, I would like to thank my friends and family who
have commented on the blog 🙂
(dont worry im not really sentimental or a massive guilt tripper, im just
trying to make everyone sad to see me leave and take me to Antarctica with
|Oh- Joe would like to give a shout out to those he knows that are old,
young and even younger.