Today’s blog is for Julen Wilson in Year 6 at Brockenhurst Primary, In Brockenhurst, Hampshire, UK.

15 12 2011

Hi Julen, thanks very much for following our progress in the Global Ocean Race. You are right, we are in the middle of no-where, we are about the same distance from three points of land, about 1100 nautical miles to the south western tip of Australia in front, Antarctica to the south and the Kerguelen Islands behind us. Our position is 45 degrees 54.7 minutes south and 96 degrees 42.9 minutes east, at 22:50 UTC on 14/12/11. The time on board is 04:50 on 15/12/11, and has just got light. It is a bit of a challenge for us sometimes to keep track of the local time as we are sailing east and are changing time zones quite quickly. Every few days we have to adjust our watches so that the local time sort of matches the daylight hours.

We have been racing for 15 days now, we left Cape Town on the 28th November, and we think we will arrive in Wellington in about 15 more days. It has been very cold for the last few days as we sailed south to get some favourable winds, but today it is warming up a little bit which is a relief, since everything is damp and cold it can be quite uncomfortable. We have lots of good clothing to keep us dry and warm, but even with 3 sets of thermal layers on and heavy duty goretex foulies and boots, the cold still seeps though. The water temperature is pretty low which doesn’t help, at the moment is about 10 deg, but have seen it as low as 6 deg, and when you get a wave come over you the water can find its way into any small opening in your gear.

Every day seems pretty much the same at the moment, we take turns to sleep for 2 hours at a time and stand a watch for about 3 hours. Sometimes if the weather is rough or we have a lot of sail changes we might only get a few hours of sleep a day. Sleep is precious so as soon as it is your turn to get into the sleeping bag you don’t muck around, just take off your foulies and boots and get straight into the sleeping bag. We sleep in our thermal gear – so for me I have had the same clothes on for the last 15 days, and will have the same on for the next 15. It does get a bit smelly (especially the socks) but there is no-one around to complain. We are constantly monitoring our speed and the weather to keep the boat sailing at 110%, and always doing little jobs whether it is studying the weather, repairing something or just checking stuff to make sure that we don’t have a breakdown. So, we are always busy.

When everything is going well we do have some time to take it easy and just look around. There is not a lot to see around here, everything is grey…but we do have a lot of sea birds to keep us entertained. We have had lots of huge albatrosses flying around us, they are the most amazing birds to watch, with their 2 metre or more wing span they just cruise on by checking us out –  we often wonder what they must be thinking seeing two people in a small boat passing through their territory. They must think we are mad. So do we sometimes.

OK Julen, I better go on deck and check that everything is OK. Hope you have a good last week at school before the Christmas break, Merry Christmas to your class, Year 6 and Mr Littlewood and Mrs Dunn. Maybe you can have a chat to Mrs Cawthra and see if you can follow our progress at school on the race tracker since it updates our position every 3 hours…www.globaloceanrace.com

Campbell

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