RSHYR 2016

Taking Part in the Royal Sydney Hobart Yacht Race

December 2016 - January 2017

Hello Everyone,

Prior to joining CV5 in Sydney

As you will see from the blog as a whole, I am a keen sailor, enjoying every element of Clipper Round the World Training prior to my Circumnavigation next year... however, I thought I would squeeze in another challenge prior to that race start... the Royal Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2016. I have completed all of my Clipper Race training in Sydney, and what a way to end my Clipper Race training with the Australia Team base by competing in the Sydney Hobart!

By competing in this iconic race, I hope to achieve more sailing skills, apply my current knowledge and gain more skills hopfully in the engineering aspect - I know that sounds a little strange - but I'm keen to be as flexible as possible with my role on the boat!

I am a qualifed first aider, navigation instructor, and have a few thousand sailing miles logged. I love being on the helm - and hanging it out down below as mother, or navigating.

You only get out as much as you put in - so I'm going for it!

My feature in Clipper Events Sydney Hobart News letter No. 3 (14th Nov 2016)
All about CV5! - Check out this LINK for more information!

Training Week (16th Dec - 23rd Dec 2016)

Day One: 16th December 2016
Hello from Sydney, Australia! I joined CV5 at 0830 after making way from the hotel, and bumping into a couple of the crew on route. (Of course, I managed to grab a bacon butty at CYCA) 
Today was all about the crew introductions, training course introductions, and safety briefs. 
Sadly, the weather (in terms of wind) was not in our favour as we would be bobbing around and not gaining anything from training today. 
We have used being dockside to our favour, running winch drills, hoist and dropping sails, nav station, engine and genny checks as well as a "slow-mo-MOB" for technical revision. There is some new things that I have already picked up courtesy of procedure changes etc.
So far, so good. And LOVING being back onboard.
Not much opportunity for pictures so far, BUT I am sure there will be! Jess, OUT.

Glorious weather in Sydney - alongside CYCA

Day Two: 17th December 2016
Today sees the majority of the crew take part in their ISAF Sea Survival Course. It is a two day course, the remainder of the crew stay behind and help with "jobs on the boat". Tonight is the RSHYR Crew Party and "battle colours" will be worn.
Later in the day.... 
Hello Folks! The remainder of the crew have returned from day one of their ISAF Sea Survival Course. 
During the day, Skipper Drew, Mate Paul, Jane and I stayed onboard and completed some jobs for the boat... we did the "shop", and added the Rolex Decals to the bow, as well as repair our coffee mugs so the lids do their job! We also managed to play a very successful game of Tetris... how to fit too much shopping into a little space. All good fun. Crew bash tonight! Jess, OUT.

One of the "odd jobs"  repairing the cup lids!

The HOW TO GUIDE on Decals - this is "famous Jane"

Day Three: 18th December 2016
Good Morning Folks! Day 3 has begun. It's a quiet ship this morning. Majority are out completing their ISAF Sea Survival Course; remainder are onboard continuing maintenance and completing the odd jobs. 
Crew Party was a blast, so good to meet lots of other sailors and some more ex-clipper crew! We are likely to be setting sail tomorrow to complete some training, and to get an idea of potential crew roles onboard... likely to be away for three or so days, so the daily updates will happen on return. My blog will be updated during our 2.5 day shake down over Christmas, before we join the boat again on race day! Exciting times ahead! Jess, OUT.

Pretty Decals

Day Four: 19th December 2016
Pretty Decals
Woke up to someone singing "Morning Has Broken" and since, we have had breakfast and rigged the boat for sea. We are getting sailing today for two - three days for training and evolutions practice. I'm looking forward to getting sailing and getting CV5 moving. There will be a lack of updates as we will be out of range... however, I will make a note of what's happening onboard. Thanks for reading folks. Jess, OUT.

Days 5-7: 20th - 22nd December 2016
It has been a bit of a blur if I'm honest! I was so psyched to take CV5 out and get some training miles in... all was well until the nasty sea sickness took hold, and sadly developed into a little more, and resulted in having 3 days in my pit! Despite the mega low, I must say how proud I am of the crew that Are onboard, regularly popping by, checking that I'm OK. Etc. I didn't really come too until we go through the Sydney Heads. What an absolute nightmare. I hope to get better before Race Start otherwise I'm a dead weight! Time to rest,recoup and get ready for the start. Jess, OUT.

Day 8: 23rd December 2016
So! The last day of the training week has arrived... and deep clean is in progress!

Feeling a bit official prior to race start!

The Race (26th - 30th Dec 2016)

Prior to Race Start! PHOTO CREDIT - Salty Dingo 2016 © SALTY DINGO
Day One: 26th December 2016
Joined the boat at 0800 on 26th December. What a HIVE of activity the CYCA was! There were so many people there, visitors of the club, family members and friends, let alone the press. 
The morning was busy, we had lots of little jobs to do, get kit stowed ready for sea, get sails on deck, prep the storm sails for the "fly past" of the race committee boat. (I must say it was very weird to be on the sailing boat rather than committee! Haha) All of the boats were departing at slightly different times, and the entrance/exit to Sydney Heads Soon filled up with many many boats.
There were three start lines mainly to accommodate the different categories. We were in the second line.
We had to do a lot of short tacks to get around and through, and eventually we could make our final approach to the start line, cross, and we were away!
It was so exciting! I have never seen so many boats, there were so many (I mean LOADS) of supporter boats, and they lined the route out to the heads.
As so many boats were passing through the heads, it was like a washing machine.
The first order of play was get out safely, secondly we had to set our sails, the crew hoisted our C3 spinnaker.
The tack blew twice before we even managed to get the sail hoisted but with some quick thinking from the mate, skipper and advanced crew, we were able to retrieve it with having to do a complete drop, wool and re-hoist.
The start of the race is downwind, so, spinnaker is up, main is out and CV5 feels like a very happy boat.
We all took it in turns to trim, grind, helm, lookout etc.
At 1800 we split into watches. I am in PORT watch, (or the odd numbers). We are working a 4-4-4-4 system which can be a little tiring BUT can work well.
During our first watch we experienced some heavy winds, big swells, but managed to overtake something like 10 or 15 boats.
We did see a couple of collisions at the start line, and we also saw many spinnakers be hoisted and burst, or be ripped to shreds. I can say that so far so good, our spinnakers are still in tact!
I experienced my first ever broach, and that was scary under spinnaker, but we soon recovered and we were well on kit way. Later on the watch, just before we were to go below for sleep, we were caught by a "greenie" wave and gusty winds, and my watch were preparing to go below - we were overpowered and three of us fell out of the cockpit out onto the outer section of deck. All of us were clipped on short tethers, and were recovered just fine. I did hit my head, but I have been looked after, and all is well.

Day Two: 27th December 2016
My watch began at 0200 and I have never seen such darkness, it was pitch black on deck. I was late on parade as the previous watch didn't wake me, but, no worries. It was a very wet watch; torrential rain and no wind. We were bobbing for a little while, but eventually the wind did fill in, and we were able to get moving again.
It is quite hard to stay engaged/awake when there is little wind, and everyone is trying their hardest to make sure we can get some wind and get going. Wind filled in about 0500 and it was good to be moving!
Our Skipper came on deck and decided that we should "pole-out" the headsail, which we did, and then port watch were sent below.
1000 came on deck and the pole was down, Yankee was down, and the C1 spinnaker was up! There was very little wind, and we were going at the wrong angle to make Hobart! It's an interesting experience. I took over trimming the Spinnaker and did so for just over an hour. During this time, the rest of the watch were helping solve the problem with the pole. It had got jammed, and we had lost a bolt too!
It was all repaired within an hour, and we were still moving at snails pace with the little wind that we had.
After sometime, a helicopter came to views and circled us a couple of times! Very exciting!
There is a trend within our watch, whenever we go on deck it rains!! I will next be on deck at 1800.
At 1800 we shared a brief happy hour, so the skipper could update us with the state of affairs with the Rolex fleet, as well as current weather and forecast etc. We entered Bass Strait, which means we are now far from land, but well on our way to Hobart! We also learned that WILD OATS retired (for a second consecutive year)
It was a quiet watch, but we were constantly rotating. Well Oiled Machine.

Day Three: 28th December 2016
Alongside in Hobart
Came on deck at 0200 and the day didn't start well... we managed to wrap or C1 spinnaker quite royally! The off watch had only just gone down before we called then back up to offer support in our endeavour to unwrap / rescue / save the spinnaker.
I was in the pit when the incident happened, but everyone pulled together and sorted the problem. It did result in cutting the spinnaker in half. The initial attempt at dropping the spinnaker failed because the cover of the halyard had started to jam, and had broken at the "hotpoint" at the top of the mast. We didn't loose any of the spinnaker, but a watch we were now exhausted.
Our media guy came on deck, and we managed to hoist the C2 with only four people! Good work team!
Back on watch at 1000 and it was my turn to be mother. Me and my counterpart decided that we would thrash out the wraps prior to watch changeover. It took about an hour.
Once on deck, we were happily sailing under C2 spinnaker and all was well.
I will be on deck again at 1800.
1800: I didn't go on deck - I tweaked my back in the earlier watch, took some pain killers and went to bed, woke up to go on watch, and my bad was very sore. I decided that it was a better option to rest with more pain killers rather than return to deck with back pain and be less use.

Making our way (very slowly up the River Derwent)
Day Four: 29th December 2016
On watch at 0200 and it was really cold and extremely dark! This watch started out quite well but ended I extremely frustrating. We saw lots of phosphorescence! Dolphins look amazing! Draw their pictures in the sea! About half way through the watch wind died and we were in a bit of a Windhole. 
1000 quiet watch again! 

1800 - didn't make it to deck; sickness - the sea state was awful! Just couldn't get my bearings!
Crossing the finish line! 

Day Five: 30th December 2016
On watch at 0200 and we were getting closer to Hobart. 
Not much to say for today apart from; WE DID IT AND WE ARE IN HOBART!
We had to work so so hard today, the wind kept escaping us, and leaving not moving. But with the quick thinking of both the skipper and the mate, we did get moving eventually. We made a slow approach to the finish line, but when we got here it was magical. All emotions were felt. As we made our way to where we would berth mighty CV5 we passed "The Taste of Tasmania" what an incredible welcome we got there! Lots of cheering!

We got berthed and did our last bits of tidying up, then beer! Today has been a massive celebration and I for one can say that I am so immensely proud to be a part of this crew and gain this experience! What an amazing time!

I had the absolute, best time EVER taking part in the RSHYR 2016 - and despite the Sea Sickness, illness and injury - I feel I succeeded in taking so much away with me from it too! I made some new friends, learnt a lot about sailing, including some slightly unconventional ways of getting the boat moving when there is no wind and current starts taking you backwards! I also learnt a lot about me! 
There are so many pictures that I could add to the blog - but, I have only chosen a few, and the rest can be viewed via my FACEBOOK PAGE. I must also give a little shout out and mention to Knuckles! He was the photographer onboard during the race, and an incredibly nice guy! I have used one of his photos in the blog... but you should check out his website for the others! Click here to check it out! :)
Thanks for reading and looking guys - your support makes me feel happy!
Jess x