Sadly the wind (or should that be the force) was not with us and when we came up on deck for our afternoon watch on day 5 we saw that we were once again heading for the same island that we had tacked to avoid earlier in the day. Our watch was competently run by Becky, as part of her leadership at sea experience.
We decided an early night was in order as we had to get up for the midnight to 4am watch, but our pre watch sleep was rudely interrupted by a wake up call at 10.45pm to tack ship before we ran aground on Finnish soil. Also we had predictions of a Force 8 that was approaching, so we handed the Royals, T’Gallants and Courses, leaving just the Topsails, the inner jib, a staysail and the spanker. There was just time for a quick cuppa before we made our way up to the Bridge for the start of our 4 hour watch. We were feeling particularly hard done by having already done an hour of hard sail handling, however our mood was lightened by the return of Georgie from her mess duty.
We were trying to sail as close to the wind as we could so Jon, the 2nd Mate, spent most of the watch on the bridge with us altering the course as the wind shifted to keep us tight on the wind. As the end of our watch approached the weather took a turn for the worse and by the time Forward Port came up to relieve us it was driving rain/hail. During their watch the weather improved briefly and then turned nasty again, which is what greeted Forward Starboard and Aft Port who were called on deck to assist with another tack and setting the Royals, T’Gallants and Courses, which we had handed the previous day.
At 9am a cheer went up as we crossed the finish line and Clare informed us that we were 11th in class (out of 26) and 21st overall. We then handed all the sails and the engineers got their chance to set the iron topsails. Now with the sun shining and blue skies above us we are motoring towards St Petersburg, with an eta of 5am.
After an exhausting race everyone is tired, not least the engineers and the medical purser who have spent the last 24 hours spanking on the rear, lashing in the bar and flogging …….. (the clocks that is).
Anne on behalf of Aft Starboard