King Neptune's appointment with Spirit of Australia

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Trade-a-Boat’s exclusive weekly blog from Brendan Hall, skipper of Spirit of Australia in the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race

King Neptune's appointment with Spirit of Australia
King Neptune’s appointment with Spirit of Australia

G'day supporters,

Monday, Oct 12: As I write this, the good ship Spirit of Australia is hurtling south towards the equator, only 30nm away. We will cross it around midnight.

I have contacted Neptune, god of the sea, and he's going to come visit us tomorrow lunchtime to perform his equator crossing ritual, which involves all equator crossing virgins being covered in food slops and bilge water. I expect the smell on board to get much worse over the coming days.

We crossed the doldrums a few days ago, in very unusual weather. In fact, we sped through them on the tail of a tropical front and our speed barely dipped below 7kts. The same can't be said for five of our competitors, who are still there almost 300nm behind us now, well and truly parked up and going nowhere fast.

We did experience several heavy rain squalls, where the wind increased from 10 to 35kts instantly and the lashing rain reduced the visibility to metres.

During the day, a squall is easy to spot miles away and there's time to get the sails down before it hits. During the night, we couldn't see them, so our only cue to start frantically dropping sails was the cold wind which preceded the squall front by about 30 seconds.

Many of the crew were quite scared on those night watches, anxiously awaiting that cold gust on the cheek.

Until the next update from the southern hemisphere…

All the best,
Brendan and the Spirit of Australia crew.


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