Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday Blog 30/06

We are good to go! Today was a simple affair - some last minute shopping for fresh stuff, a quick visit to the race office to talk about RRS 52 and then plenty of rest in prior to our departure tomorrow. Laundry was also done so as to ensure we had some clean clean clothes for our arrival at the RYS bar 

The team is ready to go - our skipper is talking about an emerging toothache but we think this is a means to be allowed a larger whisky ration over the coming days more than a medical emergency! Only time will tell but Dilip has the clove oil ready for action should the need arise. 

The rum rations are ready to go on board - some Bermuda rum and some Barbados rum with plenty of lime to cure any nasties that may come our way as it is an anti-scorbutic precaution. The pot mess is already being talked about as our first at sea meal tomorrow night and we are looking forward to Robin’s fusion of ingredients into the pressure cooker. 

We had a final dinner in Newport with the crew assembled together with Robin’s daughter Sara and Myron. A simple affair enabling us to get an early night for our departure. Sara dusted down her very own Monaco to New York regatta T-shirt which she earnt in the 1985 race. Nice one Sara. 

The next one of these blogs will be drafted from the chart table of Grey Power en route to the Lizzard! 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Blog 29/06

Last night, we had an excellent meal in the company of Sia, Michelle and Stella - they came down to visit Grey Power and we wanted to thank them for the wonderful evening we had in their company last week. In the meantime, David (Commodore of the Royal Coastal Racing Club - knows from here on until our return to England at the RCRC) went our with his friends from Rambler 100. 

Overnight, our internal discussions continued on the use of the autopilot during the race. Brad Dellenbauch unlocked the mystery for us. This can be summed up as ISAF RRS 52 overruled by IRC 15.2(c) with the definition of running rigging including the means of adjusting the underwater appendages. Hence unless the autopilot is specifically mentioned on one’s IRC certificate, it means we will have to steer. Guess what - we will have to steer our way home. We also discussed last night taking the start in Imperial Poona Yacht Club style with a Gennaker flying from the back stay while going astern but I am pleased to report this morning that this was abandoned in the cold light of day.

We are pleased to report that Bernard has settled into the team since his arrival on Saturday but we are a bit worried about his behaviour since joining us. Most of us would go out and purchase new shoes when the existing pair had holes in them but not our Bernard, he had perfectly good shoes but then went out and purchased a pair with plenty of holes in the soles!!! No wonder the Brits get confused by the French!

On the other hand, maybe our very own skipper is turning French, not happy with the amount of onions and garlic on board, our skipper decided to send us out to get some more. Has he finally turned french gallic we wonder? Let’s hope he does not start wearing them round his neck during the crossing!!

Today was our final day of formal preparations so as to ensure we left plenty of time to do last minute overlooked jobstomorrow.  Our solo circumnavigators put their skills to the test with a sowing repair to one of the mainsail batten pockets. This was while David was trying to get his back sorted by laying on the flat’s floor and while the Purser was getting the final ship stores. 

So we are now basically race ready other than for the visit to the local liquor store to buy a couple of bottles of Black Seal rum!

As a side note and in order to facilitate the RYA's  Equality Monitoring Survey and other statistical department, we are pleased to confirm to any interested pen pushers, the athletes various statistics...

Are we: male, female or unsure?  Males = 5
Age - Well the average age on board is 58!
How would describe your Race / Ethnicity?  Mixed Celt / Gaule = 1
Celt = 2
Real Indian = 1
Gaule = 1
Religion or beliefs? - Our belief is that our skipper should allows us to a daily tot of rum.
Please select the option that best describes how you think about yourself? A bunch of dirty sailors as no shower on board!
Do you consider yourself to have a disability? Yes we are missing an autopilot!

While on board, we thought we would also check the baseball caps which the Newport Shipyard kindly included in our welcome bag…that the first airing of our bird kit!

On a more serious note, we are also pleased to acknowledge the support of the New Zealand voluntary organisation which has contacted us offering the support of their 70,000 member. Thanks folks, we greatly appreciate. Terry King, we will included you from hereon in our regular blog broadcasts. We now think we have the biggest following of the entire race fleet! Not bad for a bunch of reprobates!! 

Tonight, we attended the NYYC at 6pm tonight for the Wednesday start party. We had a wonderful time enjoying both the tapas and booze as one would expect! A wonderful evening was had...

Okay now that the final paragraph of this blog is drafted; we need to re-write it as we have been surprised by Sara (Robin’s daughter) and Myran who greeted us as we turned up to Zelda’s. Robin’s daughter caught us all by surprise! What a wonderful and total surprise for all of us. Dilip had kept us in the dark and we were delighted to see both of them great Robin In Zelda's! 

Okay before we sign of for the evening, having retired to our base camp, we are pleased to report that the Commodore of the Royal Coastal Racing Club (known as the Arsy Arsy in phonetics terms) could not cope with the last little drinks and decided to sleep in his crew uniform…

While the rest of us enjoyed the company of Sara and Myran!

Finally, for those of you looking at the various ways to track our fun and games, here are the various links…

YellowBrick Tracking

Tracking Link: http://yb.tl/transatlantic2015

Race Media
Website: http://transatlanticrace.com (See the media section in particular for pictures, videos and boat blogs!)
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TransatlanticRace?fref=ts Twitter Handle: @TransatlantRace
Instagram: @nyyc_regattas (Whatever that is…)

Grey Power Blog

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Saturday and Sunday Blog

As team Grey Power awoke on this rainy Sunday morning, we received an email from our RYS partner Zephyr making potentially libellous accusation of the tidiness of our leader’s beard. Legal advisers are currently considering how to respond to their statement : “Zephyr has today partnered with Grey Power as a two boat team. You probably haven't heard of their skipper(!) who was the first sailor to single handedly circumnavigate the globe non-stop. He has an exceptionally shaggy beard, generates his own thundering wind and is the most crusty of all salty sea-dogs.” On the other hand we might just have to show them the “bird" as instructed by the Race Committee given that this is a family friendly event!

We might forgive them over the coming weeks if the promise of cold beers on arrival live up to expectations! Good win Zephyr - we hope you have a safe and fast crossing. They started today! 
On a more positive note, Saturday was spent taking Grey Power out for a sail to stretch her legs. 

We are not sure what these two below were talking about but at least we now have one member of the team with experience of helming the boat. None of the other 4 have! You can also notice who forms part of the workers and who is management by the various positions and hands in pocket.

The race will be the first ocean crossing by David Aisher, erstwhile Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club.  Our skipper is wondering whether the club is correctly named in view of the fact that most members appear to go Coastal rather than Ocean racing!
Whilst out sailing, we performed final checks on the medical kit and also performed our sea trials of the newly reconfigured water maker. All good on both fronts. 
Our sail was followed by a leisurely afternoon awaiting the arrival of Bernard - our last team member. We welcomed him to 525 Thames Street over a few glasses of wine, a weather forecast review and then headed out for a Thai meal

This Sunday morning, on instructions from our onshore nutritionist, we decided to skip the american dinner for breakfast and instead had a light breakfast of toast and cheese with copious coffee! 
We then proceeded to check the propeller of Grey Power in order to ensure that all was ok underneath the water. Our Indian Navy expert did the honours by trying the very cold water of Newport.

Thanks to Sean Kilbride from the NYYC staff who very kindly lent us his wet suit. Dilip really appreciated this.  The good news is all is ok under the water to we returned ashore to put him under a very warm shower. We must say the welcome by all (members and staff) at NYYC is exceptional and we really appreciate it! THANK YOU!
As the team is now complete, we decided to pose for the official team photo outside the NYYC in our pristine Henry Lloyd team shirts. (Thanks go to Henry Lloyd for the great kit!)   

We then under the instructions of Andy Green assembled for a Tiffin of the Imperial Poona Yacht Club. The members wore the regulation uniform as evidenced below

We then proceed to the christening of Dolphin, a J22 offered to Sail Newport organised by Robin Wallace. The other Robin was asked to christen Dolphin in front of the assembled crowd. (See video below)

During an excellent curry lunch at No 10 (NYYC), one of the member very kindly ordered from amazon an Italian coffee maker on express delivery thereby ensuring the team would have access to fresh bean Italian coffee for the crossing. Something we are all delighted with. Next stop - Starbucks for some wonderful blends. Apologies for not capturing your name but you know who you are and we are VERY appreciative of the gesture! 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Friday blog

During this day marked by the arrival of David Aisher and Kristi, the team delivered the groceries to Grey Power. Additionally, Dilip engineered a solution for brewing fresh Italian coffee during the crossing. This was well received by all assembled other than our skipper worried about the weight of an additional coffee pot. 

As we set out on our way to the NYYC for the briefing and the welcome dinner, our two most illustrious crew members had serious admissions to make. Our skipper Robin admitted that, after a week ashore, he had seriously considered buying a new belt due to some minor contraction while our most revered Rear Commodore Sailing David went for a quick jog down Thames Street some 25 minutes before the briefing to purchase regulation trousers! Thanks to Kristi being there in time removing the price label from newly acquired pants as the Rear Commodore departed for the club!

All in all, the team made it on time for the briefing. The briefing contained both good news and bad news for the crew of Grey Power. The good news (well as far as crew was concerned), was that the deputising Race Medical Officer, Robin Wallace, confirmed that lime and rum was indeed a medication and that he could issue it to Grey Power without the need for a prescription. The bad news is that we have discovered that as a class 2 IRC yacht we need to hand steer across the atlantic. This crisis, which elicidated from the skipper that in 9 years of ownership he had probably steered for less than 48 hours, caused an almost immediate mutiny from the rest of the crew   However, he tried to persuade the crew that the boat would sail faster if hand steered and therefore their time at sea would be lessened.  At the time of writing an initial settlement (unlike the Grecque negotiations) has resulted in our skipper agreeing to double the daily rum rations for the duration of the trip provided the crew will hand steer.. Now we just need to speak to Robin Wallace to obtain said medication!!!

Parallel to this, the team legal adviser is seeking clarification to what defines “hand-steering” but given the person involved in the negotiations, the crew is not confident of a positive outcome. Additionally, the attraction of double rum rations far outweighs the challenge of hand steering some 2800 nautical miles.

Another highlight of the briefing is that the icebergs are this year further south that 4 years ago and hence we will need to stay well clear of the ice zone shown below! Had we a dinghy on board, we would sail close to one of the waypoint exclusion zones to collect some ice cubes from a small berg for evening cocktails!!

During the briefing, David very kindly highlighted to the assembled audience where the bar at the RYS was located and that beers would be available for all arrivals on a 24 x 7 basis (that’s 7 cases case of 24 beers per boat!). The fleet appreciated David volunteering his account to the entire fleet of TR2015 and all seemed keen to take him up on his generous offer!!

After the briefing, we descended the yacht club lawn to admire the  marquee and enjoy cocktails on the lawn!! The British battle flag was prominent over the tables. Monopoly money was used to pay for the cocktails and we are still deciding what to do with the few remaining tokens!!! Not spending all the vouchers was an inadmissible error from the purser for which he presented his most humbled apologies.

After this wonderful evening, the team retired to 525 Thames Street for a wee small night cap and eventually turned in looking forward to the next Sunday sermon from the skipper.

Now the bad news.  The long range forecast is not encouraging   It looks as if, this far out, we will have good winds to start with and then, quite quickly,  two days of headwinds before it goes light.   The light winds may continue for a day or two so this will not be a fast crossing.   Hopefully the weather will change before we sail.   But as a precaution we are increasing our victuals for the voyage.

Watch this space.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tuesday to Thursday lunchtime blog

After Monday's night delightful evening in the NYYC, we set out early to work Tuesday morning. The sun and light breeze greeted us on the pontoon as we waited for the launch which is very nicely called “Navette”

Day glow orange paint was refreshed on the bow and the black numbers “300” were given a touch up in readiness for scrutineering tomorrow. All other safety equipment has been prepared and checked in readiness for our inspection.

Additionally, netting was added to the forward port bunk and the aft two bunks to ensure that  storage and luggage will hopefully not go flying in the event of the boat taking on significant heel. Hopefully this will not be necessary but better be safe!

Finally a full food inventory was carried out in anticipation of our first shopping trip planned for Thursday. 

In parallel to this, Robin gave a recorded interview for the local public radio station of Rhode Island. 

On Tuesday’s night, we had a most wonderful meal with Sai and Michelle - Sai is one of Dilip’s friends cousin and he runs a wonderful restaurant in Bristol. We not only had our best meal to date but enjoyed a most pleasant evening in their company.

On Wednesday, we successfully completed our safety inspection passing with flying colours - one of the scrutineers was reflecting on how, having read Robin’s book, he decided not to abandon his sinking yacht some years previous as “Robin’s would have not quit either”. Overall the scrutineering process was painless so we thank the team of the NYYC for their assistance in making this easy on us. 

In the evening, we attended our first crew party at the Newport Shipyard where not only did we find the last item of chandlery (a bolt for the furler) but we enjoyed some fine Italian anti-pasta and some excellent Chianti Classico. Thank you to the Newport Shipyard for being such great hosts!

We also met up with the only other RYS entry - “ ZEPHYR” and with little persuasion we decided to form a team for the race back home. We also spent some time on the pontoon with the team from Scarlet Oyster admiring both Rambler and Comanche. You could play tennis on the foredeck!!! They are huge and very high off the water. Robin also meet up with one of his old Clipper skipper Ben Galloway who is now skippering Dorade! 

After the party we decided to travel home indian style with three of us sharing a pedicab home. Well nearly home as we settled down for a swift cheeky beer at O’Briens before heading home for a bit of cheese and fried pepperoni! 

Yesterday, we also had the great news that Bernard Gallay is arriving on Sunday morning so the team will be complete for the first time. He has requested american pancakes on arrival so this Thursday morning the purser decided to check them out at the local dinner which we use for our morning meals to ensure that they would be okay. I am please to report that they taste great but 3 pancakes are far too much for one person! 

This morning after breakfast, Robin Wallace (another friend of Robin’s) very kindly took us to the local cash and carry and supermarket so that we could complete our first round of shopping. We now only need to purchase some fresh vegetables and we are good to go.  Whilst Dilip and Josh were doing this, Robin completed registration so we are now good to go with all formalities completed. 

Those of you with good eye sight will notice that only one bottle of rum amongst all those provisions. Our first leg started with a five litre bottle, our second leg from bermuda started with a one litre bottle (okay okay multiple ones mind you) and now we are down to one miniature. We are going to have to rectify that!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Weekend, Monday and Tuesday Blog

As we settled into our onshore life for the next week - showers are a delight so is cold beer and clean laundry; we are gradually getting ready for the race which departs on 1st of July.

We eventually moved Grey Power from our temporary swinging mooring to one allocated to us by the New York Yacht Club and then proceeded ashore in the Club’s launch to our awaiting accommodation…

Saturday night was a simple affair at the local Irish bar where we enjoyed a simple meal with a fine bottle of wine specially selected from the Purser’s cellar! 

Having had a lazy Saturday, we returned to Grey Power on Sunday to check on the mooring, collect a few further items and more importantly to sample the beer at the New York Yacht Club. The IPA in good old pint jug glasses was delightful as was the welcome!

Last night (Sunday), we had a most enjoyable meal at Gillian and Paul Russell’s and many of their friends. A great variety of curries with flowing G&T’s, wine and whisky ensuring sound sleep for all concerned. 

Today Monday we have returned to Grey Power to further adjust the rigging which RKJ and Dilip were not happy with and Josh visited West Marine to purchase some chandlery items needed for the crossing.

Additionally, in preparation for Robin’s presentation at the New York Yacht Club of tonight, crews have dusted down their blazers and some have even indulged in a hair cut / beard trim! No names mentioned! 

In parallel to all these activities, we have been working hard on bringing Robin’s IT knowledge forward. In Provincetown, Alan helped introduce Robin to SIRI (the little voice of the Iphone) while the rest of the gang is working on getting Robin up and running of FaceTime and other wonderful technologies. We think his office will be impressed by his newly gained IT proficiency upon his return to work in July… CTRL A + CTRL C and the followed by CTRL V are now no longer secrets to our skipper! (What is all this about - RKJ)

Tonight, we had a wonderful formal but informal evening at the Yacht Club. Robin gave a presentation about his life experiences in sailing and beyond. The photo below was taken during the wonderful introduction of the NYYC Commodore Rives Potts Junior. 

Hi presentation was well received by the 70 plus attendees and many interesting questions followed…

Even Dilip and the Purser were attentive which says a lot!! 

At the conclusion of the presentation, the Commodore, Flag Officers and Members presented Robin with a framed token of their appreciation!

On the right hand side of this photo is Alan Prior who completed the Whitbread of 1977/78 aboard Condor. Robin had not seen him for decades so this was a special moment! 

After this, we settled for a wonderful meal with members before retiring home for a good and early night sleep! 

Tomorrow we will do a bit of final maintenance before preparing Grey Power for the scrutineers on Wednesday

Friday, June 19, 2015

Saturday blog

After an eventful night whereby we set our alarm clock to go off every hour to ensure we were not dragging our anchor, we set out around 8 am for Newport. A hearty breakfast was consumed to make up for the lack of sleep and soon the combination of coffee and breakfast had us all up and running. 

Early discussions between our skipper and first officer led to the skipper refusing to discuss the matter further for fear of “getting it wrong”!! Not often that is heard on Grey Power and despite threats of getting such quote banned from our blog, the free press is winning on board!

An uneventful sail and motor took us to the approaches of Newport when a rain squall greated us. Rather than being ordered to wash as has been previous custom, all were allowed to reach for foul weather gear and ignore the soap bar!

The rain squall soon passed and much to the surprise of all, a headland was declared and rum was served to remedy any outstanding medical conditions. Needless to say biddies were also consumed as one without the other is apparently not the same! 

Grey Power was dressed with her white ensign and despite many attempts to raise the harbour master on VHF as per protocol, we proceeded to our anchorage. 

The good weather soon returned and as we moored to a vacant mooring buoy, we were greeted by Andy Green known as Jungly in the Imperial Puna Yacht Club. His vessel greeted us with the traditional flag and much to Dilip’s amazement a bottle of Indian Whisky!! 

Needless to say such delicacy was copiously sampled by all on board!!! 

But then it was time to say our temporary goodbyes!

And then all happened - we were first greeted by Gillian and Paul who brought us some lovely rations of wine, cheese and french bread - heaven to us as we were down to our last bottle of white! 

And then much to Robin surprised Robin Wallace joined us for another round of drinks. All in all a formidable welcome to Newport and if this is the start of things to happen here in the next then days, then bring it own - FABULOUS!!!

So as we settle down to pot mess and a nice earnt rest, we admire our first sunset of Newport. Goodnight!