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 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.