Continuation Sail - Multicoloured Vomit

Cambridge, 30th November 2001
I mentioned the increasing wind the night before? You all know what's coming... The plan was for a sail around that day until around 4pm, then out again at 7pm on a night sail until around 4am. The original intention was for a full night, but given we didn't have enough people for two watches we would just do a number of reefs and sail changes then pack it in. So after a breakfast of bacon butties and a briefing about headsail changes we head off in the morning into the channel. Out of the shelter of the Isle of Wight, with the wind a bit higher than previous days, we're now approaching the conditions that I had on my induction sail in March. Still I had my secret weapon of a seasickness patch that I was trying. Supposedly better than stugeron, although it handles a stomach sickness rather than balance sickness.

I have to admit that I don't remember a great deal about the day. After missing lunch, we start a headsail change, with myself at bow and Jim as number two (numbering from the pointy end). At least at bow I've got the forestay to hold on to much of the time, whereas Jim was getting thrown around a bit. Still, we manage to get the new sail up and tacked on, old sail down and despite a bit of a fight it's tied up. Pass it back up the boat, and Jim and myself start to hank on the new sail. I'm not feeling too great at this point, but Jim also looks pretty knackered so we just get up there and get on with it. Most of the way through getting the new sail on, I'm going to throw up, which is done off the bow end. Not much comes out, and I'm not feeling too hot now. I get back to the stern of the boat, cursing all the time having to unhook and rehook on as you pass the various obstacles in the way of the safety lines.

From then on, I throw up a few more times. I go in a cycle around; I throw up - nice bright yellow/orange bile over the deck - then feel really knackered. I just can't keep my eyes open and focussing, so I just get my head down and switch off. Start to wake up a bit after a while, eyes open looking at what's going on, how everyone else is doing. Then after a bit of that, I throw up again; back to square one. In one of my more lucid moments, I see that Tony is sick of the back of the boat as well, which at least cheers me up - nothing like misery in company! Later on, when the other half of the crew undo our sail change, a couple of them don't feel too hot at the start but Cal gets them to work through it. From my vantage point in the cockpit I see Richard Two hurl black tar like vomit from the bow off the low side of the boat - even in the moderate winds I can clearly hear him as well; a pretty noise hurl all things considered. Richard One was also sick, which I missed, as was Zoe. She was next to Alex at the time, who told her to be sick over the side. However, in the heat of the moment she went for the high side (i.e. to windward) rather than the safer low side. Hand over mouth at the time; she manages to cover herself with sick. Worst to come as the remainder gets caught by the wind and is directed straight into Alex's face. Apparently there were a few small chunks. Lovely.

Since Cal is now left with Jim and Alex fully fit, myself recovering but not really with it, and the rest of the crew a little dodgy, he decides to call the night sail off, but put in a long day tomorrow for a last sail. At the time I was fairly grateful, since I know that this was the quickest way for me to recover. Looking back now, I think we were let off easy, but I think that one of the slight shift in ethos of the training sails is away from just pounding people towards teaching them, even if that means taking it a little easier. We've got to learn to do both, but at least this way when the going gets really rough we'll at least know what we're supposed to be doing. As we head in towards Cowes we decide to shake out the reef that's in, only to be immediately hit by a squall - rain coming down hard with the boat just a little overpowered. Just to remind us who's boss out there...

We arrive at Cowes, and tie up at the marina there. Dinner that night is steak in a tomato and black pepper sauce (with just a little chilli and Tabasco) before heading to bed for an early start to the last day.