don’t quit your day job
Team Blog – Nick Dana from onboard Abu Dhabi – 22nd March 2012 – Sailing Anarchy Exclusive
Well Anarchists…not much different today. It’s getting colder by the hour it seems though, and the boat is beginning to sweat like crazy inside. Probably one of the only drawbacks to having most of our foredeck lines running below deck is the condensation created on the tunnels. However, it has to be pretty cold for this to become a real issue and hopefully we don’t get far enough south this time that the condensation begins to freeze down below. We certainly miss the warmth of Abu Dhabi!
If you happen to venture onto the foredeck down in these latitudes you’ll find that water temp can quite easily take your breath away when struck by a wave. Also, the frigid temps in these kind conditions affect people’s motor skills when trying to work. One of our biggest issues now on board is communication during a sail change or manoeuvre. At night, you would struggle to last very long not wearing some sort of neoprene hoody or hat when there is water over the deck (which is almost always). And your hands would lose their ability to work within forty minutes or so. But during sail changes our policy is hats/hoods off and gloves off. This rule is paramount we feel to having safe, fast and smooth manoeuvres in cold climates.
With bare hands and open ears, communication and motor skills are at their best. The pitman is able to communicate better with those on the foredeck and vice versa. Grinders and trimmers can hear calls from the driver or bow team and are able to handle lines far quicker and more efficiently. It may seem like an obvious solution, but it is always difficult to ask someone to stand half naked on the bow doing 20+ knots of boats speed into heavy ice-cold sheets of water.
Our resident Irishman and hardman, bowman Justin Slattery said: “Sometimes I am getting so blasted up there (on the bow) that I have to try and slow my own heart beat to be able to catch my breath. Your hands go quickly, but it would be next to impossible wearing gloves. All you can really hope for is a kind driver that bears away enough so the bow becomes less hectic.” Don’t envy that job!