• JM BUSHA 54 Sailing Team

Day 3 - The Plague 

This story starts, as most stories often do -with Hearn. Hearn had earned his stripes sailing on the infamous South Ocean (read Vaal Dam). This backwater ravine is where most of the sailors on board had been shown the proverbial ropes (1), and had learnt to sail. The South Ocean is where most of South Africs's most amazing sailing talent is reared. It was no different With Hearn. At the tender young age of 12, armed with just a Gypsy (2) and his vape, Hearn Johnson took on The South Ocean -and won. News of this miracle had spread far and wide: from the Slums of the Veil Vale (3), all the way to the Wild West Rand. After hearing wind of this amazing talent (1), we began a mission to conscript him to our 2020 Cape2Rio Campaign. He needed no convincing. We enrolled him at the Robinson Sailing school for the extremily gifted (Aka the Wits Yacht Club). It was there that he mastered all four points of sail: beat, reach, run and Absolute Send (1, 4). It was upon finishing a sub 2-second boat race time that Hearn's grueling years of training were finished. He was ready to join the team. Fast forward to Yesterday. We were three days into the 2020 Cape2Rio race, and yet to recieve a breath of wind. As pleasant as bobbing around the West Coast sounds, we had a race to win. And with every passing day of no wind, the prospects of winning this race grew more slim. Things were on the up, though. We had just downloaded a Grib file (5) that indicated that a 30 knot easter was on route - due to hit this evening. We were frothing. We strategised, and developed the following plan of action: Full Send. We anticipated that the next 24 hours were going to be gut-wrenchingly tough. We were prepared for what was coming and we knew what we had to do. We were ready. Until disaster struck. The young Hearn, who had spent his entire childhood moment preparing for this moment, came down with an horrendous stomach bug. We were not sure if it was something he ate, or the Miltons and Bicarb cordial we had brewed in the water bags. All that we knew is that we were in trouble. It was at that point that the dominoes fell. As fate would have it, Michaela came down with a similar affliction. They were as sick as a dog - it was fortunate we had a vet on board who knows how to deal with that exact problem. We were two men down and had a roaring southerly at our coattails. We had no choice. There was only one option left available to us: Full Send! Mast head kite, no reefs in the main and shifts of: 2 people on 2 people off. We imagine the kind man who did our safety inspection would've had a heart attack. We quarantined the Port-Aft-Quarter-berth, strapped our 2 sicklings down with a Rehydrate and a bucket each. I wont lie, the following 24hrs were difficult. But we didn't let up. We had the boat surfing and the winch grinding the entire time. The night was lit up by not only the fire in our bellies, but also the lightning from the various thunder storms around us. We managed a top speed of 17 kts and averaged 11 kts. We knew we got above 14 knots because Jonathon would shout "WOOOHOOOOO!!!!!!!" while surfing down a wave. Despite what fate had thrown at the team, we were all still standing. Well actually lying down sleeping - like for real, there's only been 2 people awake at any one time for the entire day today. Fortunately, Hearn is also doing a whole load better. It is obvious that he has fought diseases much stronger than this one and his immune system is battle hardened. Unfortunately, Michaela is also doing a whole load better - and the beautiful silence that enveloped the boat has now been pierced. We've got some light wind on the way, so prepare for some more blog posts while the team tries to avoid being coerced into trimming the spinnaker.

Non-sailors definitions

1) Sailing pun, sorry not sorry.

2) A type of wooden dingy

3) Stay away, faaaar away.

4) Def. Send = to absolutely go for it. Push all boundaries of space and time. Break speed records - aka giving it horns.

5) Grib file = a detailed weather forecast report

- Ryan Robinson

© 2019 by JM BUSHA 54 Sailing Team