May 5, 2016 - "We did it!"

A work-related personality survey I once completed offers the following insightful comment about my preferred work style: "She is at her best in work that involves people and task, where cooperation can be achieved through goodwill." The Clipper Race, and in particular, the culture on ClipperTelemed+, achieves this in spades, and this characteristic goes a leg way to explain why I feel I get so much out of a sailing adventure like this one. Already, we are developing into a cohesive team, and the striving, trust and goodwill from everyone is very apparent. Nothing on this boat can be accomplished individually.  Gybing is an example of a task that requires smoothly synchronized teamwork. Gybing is a multi-step complex maneuver, involving all hands on a watch. The main needs to be centered (sheet brought in using "coffee grinder" and preventer eased), the running back stays brought forward/back, The tack line adjusted, the active and lazy spinnaker sheets closely managed, outstanding helmsmanship, etc. etc., and requires 1-2 jobs from each person on the watch. We'd had several successful gybes both by day and by night, and were becoming familiar and comfortable with our respective roles and the carefully choreographed procedure overall. But this particularly dark night, with winds higher than we'd experienced so far and with a smaller (heavy weight) spinnaker flying, it all went wrong when the lazy spinnaker sheet got caught, pinned against the bow sprit, by the tack line, which wrapped itself around the sprit. We worked hard together to correct the situation.  Mighty bowman Han went forward and sat on the bowsprit (well tethered) to assess the situation. I followed him, stationed on the bow (yes, tethered, of course) to relay messages to the crew in the cockpit over the noise of the wind and flapping sails. With Herculean effort, using a jury rigged substitute tack line, he managed to free the entanglement. We reset to complete the gybe... And it happened again! This time the solution was achieved more quickly, and then we successfully completed the gybe. The mutual sense of satisfaction in our accomplishment was palpable - as in there was much back slapping and hand pumping. It was time to go off watch as the sun was rising and we lingered over breakfast reliving details of the achievement. Adrian mentioned he learned some words he'd never heard before. I don't think he meant nautical ones.