Life on board is finally beginning to look "normal" again. For the last four days (although it feels like more!) we've been living a flat life. Cooking, changing, sleeping, and eating were all incredibly easy. Yes, it's been excruciatingly hot so life hasn't been that easy, but you are easily spoiled by flat water, no wind conditions.
Nonetheless, those 'no wind conditions' do not get us very far very quickly. So the wind has finally come around, we're finally heading North, and we're finally back living at an angle. Life at an angle is almost like the ultimate catch 22-it's great for racing, but it's hard for living.
It took Libby 40 minutes to make her bed today, and it's a workout in itself trying to wrestle sheets at 20 degrees of heal!
Once again, everything becomes a little more cumbersome and time consuming. Life also requires a little more patience as other crew members take a little longer using the galley, or changing clothes.
We've been hitting some pretty hard rain-squalls as well. But instead of curling up under our duvets we're out in the thick of it, but at least we are on the move and in the right direction. We're trying to tick off the miles between the rest of the fleet and us; so far so good.
Squalls are great to rinse your body of the salt water. We live in such a salt water environment that just having fresh water rinse to rinse the salt off your body is just an amazing thing.
After the last few days though, we are more than clean. We've even been helped along the way by our sponsor SCA, who manufacture some of the world's best hygiene products - so we are very lucky in that respect. In fact, we are all so clean that we're all beginning to resemble cold, but very shiny, drowned cats.
We usually experience a good "washable" rain cloud twice or three times every leg. In the last few days, we have seen at least one "washable" cloud every few hours. A "washable" cloud is when you're able to wet your hair significantly enough to lather and rinse your hair and, if you're lucky, your body.
We have been going through our sail wardrobe faster than a "Tween" getting ready for school. Yesterday, before a squall passed over us, we were sailing with our large light- air sail. Before we knew it, the wind picked up, boat healed over, and we were off "sending it" (full throttle sailing, hand off the E-break) in lots of wind with rain pelting our eyes-easily checking off the miles between us and the fleet. It feels like trying to drive a fairly long distance at 5mph then ramping up to 40mph for an hour then going back to 5mph.
The feeling of rain hitting your exposed skin at 20 knots feels like someone is throwing small pebbles at you. Nonetheless, the rain is cold and somewhat of a relief after the scorching hours in the sun. I'm pretty sure we're all relishing in the rain as the last few days have been painfully hot. Sometimes though the temperatures drop so quickly that the freezing cold rain is more uncomfortable than anything. The other day, Liz was shaking at the helm as the temperatures dropped too quickly for her to put a jacket on. Thirty minutes later, she was practically dry.
Out here umbrellas are not allowed-hoods maybe, except those are only on our heavy weather jackets and in heat like this that's the last thing you'd want to wear. In most cases rain does not last as long as it does on land and rain clouds are quick to pass. However, there are always exceptions.
For Stacey, having a full four hour watch in the rain is quite challenging as it changes the temperature quite a bit because it's quite warm air and sea temperature. She likens it to when your laundry is almost dry on the washing line and it's just about to start pouring down with rain. So, you run outside to quickly collect your washing, but in our case, it takes four hours to get our washing in. Nice, ey?