• JM BUSHA 54 Sailing Team

Day 6: My favourite place to be

Typically most people start their day when they wake up in the morning, but life at sea has had me starting my day at the precise time that my post midnight watch starts. At 00H30 I was woken up by Hearn, for my watch with my usual watch partner, Ryan. I always dread the graveyard watch as it takes the most energy to wake up for, but eventually you get used to it and muster the strength to fight your natural urge to sleep. The night was peaceful and the beauty of the open ocean was spotlighted by an almost full moon. We had some moderate breeze behind us as we powered through our watch, with Ryan steering and I tirelessly trimming the kite to maximise our speed the wind we had. "T, I think we need to change kites." These are the words you never really want to hear from Ryan at 02H00 in the morning, especially when you're the one that has to go down and wake up the others! So you always need to remind yourself that you're racing and this sail change might be the difference in the next position report. We brought up the rest of the crew and Michaela finally let her "trainee" bowman, Hearn, lead the sail change. The sail change was a success and signaled the handover of the tiller and the spinnaker sheet to the next watch duo and thus marked the end of our watch. The rest of the night was uneventful, I say this because I had my full 4 hours of sleep in the watch rotation. My next watch was at 06H30. Those of you that know Ryan, know that he is not a morning person and getting him to wake up took an extra 10 minutes as he fought the morning sleepiness. The morning watch is always welcome for me, the sunrise, the guilt free cup of coffee (because you don't need to get some sleep afterwards) and a head start on the day with the choice of a less communal breakfast. My morning watches always consist of me brushing my teeth, getting a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and usually eating my breakfast before steering the boat while my watch partner does more or less the same. The morning went on and with the sun sending down its hot rays quite early we had to put up "slim shady" ,the shade cloth. It's such things that really change the comfort of racing. Another game changer was the low camping chair and a couple of sports cushions that make being on deck more comfortable. The simple life of being at sea has made me appreciate the small things, like food. It's easy to be picky when you have all the options at your disposal but out here you literally have what you have, and I am enjoying every single meal more than I expected - even the really basic ones Lentils and Cous-cous. If you want to learn how to sleep at will then I recommend sailing across an ocean. Getting sleep is an important aspect of the race as we need our minds sharp and our bodies well rested. With the fragmented sleep cycles that we now have, getting a nap in whenever you can is a skill you certainly need, and a skill I've learned well. One of the most enjoyable things about this is when I think where we are on the map, to our eyes it looks like we are just in a field of blue, a field that more or less looks the same day in day out. Eventually your mind stops thinking about the sea and starts focusing on the boat and what happens on it. However, everyday I make an effort to appreciate that I am constantly moving along our continent, and across an entire ocean. I think about how we're quite close to Namibia and if we were to go East for a few hundred miles we would wash up on the shores of the Namib Desert. I've also noticed that as we've gone further West the water has changed from a dark greenish blue to a crystal clear royal blue and in the noon a sky blue. Although the seascape seems to look the same everyday, if you pay attention to the details and the bigger picture you'll always be in awe of how amazing this world is. My Parting thought that i want to leave you with is how hard it is to keep track of time! The only reason I can safely say I've been keeping track of time is because of the routine we have and the disciplines that require us to keep time, including the fact that we're racing. As I look back on my time out here I often can't remember when certain things happened or what day they happened, that's why it's absolutely crucial to keep a personal log or journal. Because each day is similar and because our sleep isn't scheduled to mark the end of a day all the days become one long experience. An experience that is truly amazing! The peace, the freedom and the time to think while living a simple day to day life with one big goal - crossing an ocean safely - and a few small daily objectives makes the open sea my favourite place to be. - Tawanda Chikasha

© 2019 by JM BUSHA 54 Sailing Team