Two weeks ago Jason and I hopped onto South African racing yacht ‘Prodigy’. In exchange for working as delivery crew to Newport the owner agreed to buy us flights home. Since then Jason has decided to stay with the boat for a while longer to work as race crew. I’ll be flying home this week. The delivery took 10 days and along with our Skipper, Gareth, and third crew member, Courtney, we had a pretty good time.
Sorry this is so long. Props if you don’t fall asleep halfway through. I’ll put a post up about our trip to New York next week.
Prodigy, built in South Africa in 2006, hasn’t had the best of luck. After sinking about 4yrs ago she sat in a harbour up until the beginning of this year when she was finally repaired and sent off to the Caribbean to compete in the Antigua Race week which she didn’t enter due to engine and generator problems. We have now delivered her to Rhode Island where she will take part in the Transatlantic race. I’ll let you know if she doesn’t break down before that.
If you don’t know much about racing yachts then you probably don’t know how uncomfortable they are. They are extremely uncomfortable. This delivery was very challenging in the way that we really had no luxuries; no shower, no air conditioner, no fridge, no freezer, tiny gas cookers and no autopilot. So just to make our suffering clear, that meant washing out of water bottles outside, eating mostly tinned foods and someone had to be steering all the time.
This is the account taken from my journal.
Day 1: Didn’t I say I’d never do this again?
Finally left, 15 days late. It was just one disaster after the next trying to leave Antigua. Felt mild discomfort (seasickness) after a few hours of sailing but overall it was a good day. When the wind was right the boys brought out what looked like a circus tent, but really it was just a spinnaker sail because apparently it makes no sense having circus tents on racing yachts.
The boys caught two fish today.
After a good night of rest I’m feeling very chuffed about the deal I struck with the boys. Basically it was agreed that if I cooked dinner and helmed a little during the day, when the boys had to do sail changes or repairs then the boys would do all the night shifts.
We stopped for a swim today. It’s been very calm and flat today; unfortunately no wind.
Day 5: The Peg Game
Gareth invented a game today for us to play for the rest of our trip. I’m too lazy to think of a catchy name so I’ll just call it the “Peg game”. Basically we all have a clothing peg that we’ve named and pegged to ourselves. These are the rules:
- No talking about the peg game outside of the peg game. (oops)
- You have to keep your peg on you at all times. If caught without your peg the other three competitors get to graffiti your face with marker pens.
- To eliminate another contestant you must steal their peg without being caught and peg it on the Dan buoy.
- Peg can only be pegged onto clothing.
- The winner gets three drinks on the rest of the competitors and must proclaim that he/she is the “Peg champion!” after each drink.
Day 6: Sneaky Tactics
Jason deviously stole Gareth’s peg while he was sleeping this morning. We all sat outside snickering like foxes waiting for Gareth to wake up and realise. Finally I had to wake him up for his shift, calling to him through the hatch. All I heard in reply was a string of profanities and insults directed at his lousy crew. Ironically Gareth had been telling Jason all night how he knew he was going to win the game.
When Gareth finally came out he gravely informed us: “I never thought a peg would make me feel so bad.”
While taking a nap this afternoon, Courtney snagged my peg. I woke up when I heard someone running on the deck; I checked for my peg and realised I’d been jacked.
Peg Game just became Courtney vs. Jason.
Day 7: The Mysterious case of the Ravioli
Because we’re beating into the wind we had pretty rough weather last night. Things got thrown all around the boat and it’s pretty messy inside. Fortunately I slept with my head under my sheet last night because of the strong diesel smell; when I woke up there was canned ravioli sauce all over the ceiling, all over my sheet and on the wall right above my head.
The boys claim no responsibility and apparently have no idea how it got there.
I took my revenge on Courtney while he was winching this afternoon, making Jason the peg champion.
Gareth checked the weather today on the satellite program and apparently we’ve missed a hurricane by a week. That’s how we roll!
I threw up for the first time today which is definitely a new record for me.
We’re running out of good food and Courtney suggested that they eat me. Sometimes I can work pretty well under pressure; I skilfully changed his mind by pointing out that it would be silly to eat the skinniest. It totally worked.