I have just had one of those moments in life that I will never forget! But first, let me set the scene. We are six days out of Fremantle and gradually settling into life on board. We have rounded Cape Leeuwin (first seaman’s earring earned!) and are halfway across the south of Australia. It is 3am and I am wearing long johns, mid-layers and full follies. We are down in the “roaring 40s”, we are under spinnaker and it is totally dark – no moon at all. I have been helming and it is now my turn to aid the new Helm by shinning our trimming torch onto the spinnaker as that is the only reference point we have to sail too. When helming we have to change every 30 minutes as you have to concentrate so hard as well as it being extremely physically demanding in 4-5 meter seas and 25-30 knot winds. So, up to the luxury of the beanbag strategically placed on the safety rail up by the mast.
Now for the surreal bit!
It is time to get comfortable on the beanbag and as I settle down into it I suddenly have this wonderful warm sensation – the beanbag is obviously soaking wet but the water had been warmed up by the previous occupant’s bum – how considerate! I’m tethered on in two places and am able to rest my head back on the puffed up bag, I lie back, cross my legs and begin my stint with the torch- a perfect way to help my aching muscles recover. Bliss.
After a few minutes, I feel I have conquered the knack of the job and start to have a good look around and, being on my back, I look up and see the myriad of stars filling the night sky – it is truly amazing and almost beyond description. Up on my left is Orion shining in its full glory. There across from the three stars of its belt is the Southern Cross which I notice is occasionally disappearing behind the Australian flag we are flying itself depicting the Union Flag and the star pattern of the Southern Cross.
I glance slightly to my right to where the torch is shining a soft red glow on our spinnaker which is the size of a tennis court. And there, emblazoned across its middle in three-foot high letters, are the magic words ”The Race of Your Life”!
Suddenly the battery in the torch fails, the light goes out and the helm is sailing blind! It is as if someone is watching over us as 30 seconds later a full moon pops out from behind a cloud directly behind the spinnaker giving the helm a clear view once again!
There is only one problem with this which is I have no camera to record the scene for you but I will never, ever, forget it – it is burnt into my mind.
Dear readers, now you know why I am doing this – life cannot get any better!
(I am tired so apologies for any galactic errors!)