Friday, 15 April 2011

BWR: Clothing and Food Choices on HUGO BOSS

HUGO BOSS. Image copyright Alex Thomson Racing.

by Wouter Verbraak

“So you reckon it is the dog walker?”

Midnight watch change handover, and we are talking about the latest clothing advice.

“Well, the bear suit jacket had been doing well, until I got drenched not long ago.”

With water temperatures down and the wind picking up, I am not about to take any chances. It will have to be the dog walker – the foul weather zip up jacket, useless for any work forward of the cockpit, and more suitable for walking your dog. Also the hat is out again; within a day temperatures have plummeted and there certainly is a bit of a chill to the air.

Of course it is all due to the water temperature taking a fall as we have now entered the flow of the coastal upwelling along the Spanish and Portugese coast, where cold water from the bottom of the ocean gets pumped to the surface. Great for fishing as it brings lots of nutrition with it, but bad for the shorts and T-shirts type sailing we have been enjoying for the last few weeks. However, there is not a word of complaint to be heard here on HUGO BOSS as the wind is good, and we are pointing almost directly at the mark. Under a thousand miles to go to the Gibraltar Strait. On the big chart with our round the world track it is just a tiny bit.

The wind and wave conditions are rather changeable, so we are working hard to keep in tune with them. Hand steer, check the balance, adjust the trim, drive for 1.5 hours, have a bit of a break, trim and drive for another hour, wake up Andy and that’s another watch closer to Gibraltar. It is all beautiful sailing, with the boat in perfect balance, such a cool racing machine!

Food Quandry

Twilight on the BOSS. Image copyright Alex Thomson Racing.

“How is your weight?”

I am a bit puzzled and I am looking for an answer. It is not a question I typically get when I phone home.

“I am not sure. Other than breakfast we are on full rations.”

“Well, you look very skinny.”

To be honest I have no idea how skinny I look, and I have absolutely no idea where I am with my weight. Have I lost weight? Probably, as our diet is not very rich in chocolate cakes and caramel pudding for desert, and we are burning lots and lots of calories.

I guess the good thing is, we still have enough food for a finish on the 21st of April. After that we are only left with a bag of squashed fun sized chocolates, some small packages of raisins and about thirty packages of peanuts (we got tired of eating them!). Andy is adamant that we should divide these extras up now and be hungry for a day should we not make the 21st. “No point in having food left when we get to the finish.”As he says. Good point, however as the careful bean counter, having made the rations work for 100+ days, I am a bit cautious and would hate to run out should things take a bit longer. The Mediterranean is a funny place when it come to wind, and forecasts are certainly not very reliable. It is very easy to lose time.

A Spanish sailor, who I sailed with in the Med two years ago in the Round Europe Race, explained me the basics: “In the Med there are only three types of wind: light wind from in front, light wind from behind, or strong wind from in front.” And that is when there actually IS wind in the first place.

So unsure what to do with the food programme, what do you think?

Twilight on the BOSS. Image copyright Alex Thomson Racing.

Wouter Verbraak
Andy Meiklejohn
Alex Thomson Racing
Barcelona World Race