01 March 2006

Maria describes climbing the mast in todays voyage log

1st March 06

Location: Flamenco Yacht Club Amador, Panama (Still)
Weather: Rain in the morning followed by hot sun, Southerly wind force 4 to 5.

Hello! Today Peter and I were given mother duty!!! (Me being dad and him being Mum!) First task of the day was to brush up the remains of last nights festivities (tiny pieces of white paper thrown at carnival!) this is involved hands, knees and tweezers priceless… next up was the exquisite cuisine of porridge beautifully prepared by Peter, I was on scrubbing duty while dancing to the beach boys, due to adverse weather conditions (RAIN IN PANAMA!!!) sunbathing was postponed and instead we donned the rubber gloves and cleaned all the food storage lockers. Lunch was served at half 1 we had tomato loopy loop (soup) and sandwiches which everyone seemed to enjoy(my amazing cooking skills eat your heart out Jamie Oliver!) We went swimming around half 6 and were too late back to cook mostly because us girls were overwhelmed at the sight of a hair dryer and hot shower, so we managed to skip dinner duty and grabbed a bite to eat at the hotel haha- over to Maria and Barbara tomorrow! Good luck the standard has been set!
Laura xxx

Today Sam was teaching Maria and I a little about the things on deck. He talked to us about the sails on the yacht and the names of them for example there are four sails starting at the bow working back there is the spinnaker-it is a large balloon type that moves from side to side, he then taught us about the head sail- it is the most important sail on the yacht, even further back there is the stay sail which is a small sail that has many uses for example in story weather or to enhance the performance of the other sails, finally the main sail, which is nearest the cockpit. Sam continued to tell us about the halyards for each sail and how to find where they start-end and how to figure out where they are at the mast. While we were being taught Laura was doing her duty as mummy of the day so she missed our lesson. Sam then kindly informed us that we had to teach Laura everything he taught us and then test us. The forfeit was if Laura got anything wrong we were going up the mast!!! Barbara

This afternoon myself, Laura and Barbara went up the mast on the yacht. I went up first, I got harnessed up, stuck the spinnaker halyard rope to my harness and then the headsail halyard. Once a safety check had been done I was pulled up the mast. As I was raised up higher and higher I experienced a brilliant feeling. The view was incredible, although it was a little windy it wasn’t that scary for me The way we in which we came back down again was like abseiling down a building. The overall experience was cool, I’m so glad Laura and Barbara got to try it too.
Maria xx

Hi another great day on the Gipsy Moth, the girls have been dancing all day after their first carnival last night, a fantastic experience for all to see the colour, music and the wave of thousands of people young and old dancing in the streets was incredible. Sam has been putting the crew through their paces with a variety of different tasks on board Gipsy Moth. The girls are enjoying every task, which is great to see, from the cleaning on board to learning the different skills for sailing the yacht. We have also been getting to terms with all the filming and interviews which, went well and have helped to bring everyone a bit closer as a team. Jon and Simon have been flat out with trying to get the coms system back into working order with not much luck as the carnival is a national holiday here in Panama and we are having problems getting parts. Apart from this problem the craic is good and all on board are having a great time.
Peter XX

Well as has already been mentioned I have been down below in Gipsy Moth again, but this time as it was raining, I wasn’t quite so bothered. Steve Rouse’s Bimini Cover worked a treat in the rain and kept us all lovely and dry. I managed to sneak a phone call home on the pay phone in the marina to my wife Fiona, son Jack, and daughters Emily and Lucy, to tell them about Sam, the Skipper’s, attempt this morning to catch some 4 foot Tuna, that dared to swim into Flamenco Marina. This time the Tuna Says Nooooo! Whilst I was talking to them, a flock of about 60 pelicans swooped in front of me into the sea for their midday snack, they can definitely fish better than Sam! The Ellen MacArthur Trust crew are certainly the life and sole of the party, and if there isn’t a party, they start one!!!
Simon Hay managed to teach Sam how to operate the coms today so hopefully, now we both understand it, when they are up and running again we can keep in touch after we leave for the Galapagos. No outside help today though as Panama is closed until Thursday!!!!!!!!!
Its late now and the crew are all asleep, the only sound to be heard is the gentle breathing of Gipsy Moth IV as her flags flutter in the breeze, Good night all.
Jon Curtis (Mate)

Today was my turn to learn how to work these very complicated time consuming hi tech coms fingimigiggis!……………………..dontlikeit!
Today I have tried every possible excuse to try and escape. “I feel like a buffalo soldier!” all I want to do is spent some quality time with the Ellen MacArthur crew, however I keep getting dragged back down below by Simon for a beasting on learning how to work these computers and editing footage. Dontlikeit! I think I would rather clean the bilges with my own tooth brush than be put through another 4 ½ hrs of bending over this flat screen monitor!

I have to say when I was first brought into the Gipsy moth program by the UKSA on the
Isle of Wight I had been informed that these coms would be hard but could not comprehend
How much work was involved, as well as crew welfare, the skippers log, astro nav, and the day to day maintenance and running of a boat.
Time to do what a good skipper does best…………delegate!

“The sleep of a labouring man is sweet.”
Sam Connelly (Skipper)