Daniel Hearsum, on Kealoha 8 of Southampton, blogs from the ARC
This event is great fun and full of surprises. Although there was a fair amount of work to be done to get a boat of this calibre “good to go” there was also a lot of partying and socialising – an early night was about 2.30 am in Las Palmas. This event is not just a transatlantic it is also all about renewing old acquaintances and making new friends.
It is hard to decide whether the crews or boats are more diverse. About 30 nationalities are represented, with people from every age group and background coming together in a tremendous spirit of camaraderie. The boats come in every shape, size, colour and configuration.
At the start line the feeling was very different with over 200 boats all trying to cross over a short start line at the same time – some were desperately vying for position whilst others held back, anxious not to damage their boats in the chaos of the start.
As luck would have it, or more likely due to the fifty years of racing experience of owner “determined David”, we had a great start and were soon catching the tail end of the racers who had started twenty minutes earlier. Within five hours, night was falling and there was not another boat in sight.
Life at sea on a yacht like this is both startlingly different from the norm and at the same time all too familiar. Having things like air con, full communications, flat screen TV’s, private “heads” and a very civilised atmosphere on board (no shouting and lots of pleases/ thank yous) makes it all feel rather like a grand hotel.
This feeling is rudely shattered with a call at 11.50 pm of “sorry but it’s time for your watch”.This familiarity is emphasised by the all too familiar feeling of cold, yes cold, “oilies” and that lovely blast of cool air as you come up on deck. Bring on the Tropics! That feeling of “there cannot be another hour of my watch to go is absolutely identical, whatever the boat.
Conversely, she is a very fast and powerful boat – so far we have had 13.6 knots out of her – well done the helm Rosie. She, K8 not Rosie, just consumes miles with consummate ease.
Despite all this luxury and speed, it’s the crew that make a boat and this one is very well made. Skipper (“Saint” – Adrian for his calmness and patience) is a joy to crew for, always clear in his instructions and happy to clarify anything that is not understood. His wife Jen, “the juggler”, does full watches and simultaneously prepares everything from full English breakfasts to home made Lemon and Coriander Humus for lunch – we’re back to the luxury hotel bit!
As to our racers Phil the pill – David’s brother and very chilled until the boat speed drops, Rosie Posie – a classic English beauty concealing a steely resolve to win, Irish Nick with a wicked sense of humour of masses of “round the cans”/RORC races under his belt, “Instructor” Gary – lynchpin of the foredeck crew and the delightful Dee always there to help with a ready smile and a key member of the foredeck team.
Better run – Rosie is after me with her camera???????..