50 Shades of Grey

"We are currently bouncing our way over a lumpy sea upwind with fluky unstable winds which is about as fast and exciting as being pulled down a bumpy cart track by a lame mule" Tough times onboard Spirit of Hungary

Emails from the boats FEB 5, 2015 20:16

Position… Lost in the great expanse of a grey ocean!

Conditions: grey.

Wind: upwind. 

Forecast: more upwind.

Spirits: not upbeat.

Today [we were] surrounded by endless permutations of wet grey and dreary white, and no, ladies, these are not 50 Shades of Grey that are worth getting excited about!

We are currently bouncing our way over a lumpy sea upwind with fluky unstable winds which is about as fast and exciting as being pulled down a bumpy cart track by a lame mule. Spirit of Hungary is enjoying the conditions almost as much as we are, banging on every wave and dipping the side of the deck in the water in the occasional gust. We did have one moment of excitement when a larger thump sent the boat rearing into a confused and unexpected tack. With the keel and ballast and all the material inside stacked to one side to improve our performance the boat wallowed drunkenly with the sails pushing on the wrong side and heeled over dramatically. I eased the sails and put on the other backstay to secure the mast and eventually got us on our way again, but discovered that the wind information was all screwy. The thumping had flicked one set of wind instruments off the mast, leaving us with just the one backup for the rest of the way around the world!

Between Nandor and I, one crew is always regulating the power in the boat with a ready hand on the traveller but this still allows the other to catch up on sleep or domestic pleasures. I took a sponge bath in the relative warmth of the day and I am reading Robert Louis Stevenson’s account of cruising amongst the coral islands in the tropical Pacific. Oh my kingdom for a coconut!

In the less tropical Indian Ocean we are accompanied by at times three or four wandering albatross and several aptly named Sooty Petrels that make a beautiful black silhouette against the grey clouds. The albatross sometimes come and fly in low formation with us, just meters away from the back of the boat, and appear to be inspecting these funny creatures dressed in red and fluro yellow. The father probably thinks that he could feed Edmond the egg and Harry the hatchling for months if only he could make off with one of us! On first glance they look like big seagulls but they are beautifully proportioned for long distance gliding and cut a majestic profile running a wing tip inches off the tip of a wave as they glide effortlessly over the furious sea. I can watch our private squadron for hours and appreciate their company in these backwoods of the world.

Conrad Colman, Spirit of Hungary