Horsington’s Mark Tucker’s yacht Great Britain is lying second, about 18 miles behind the leader, in the Round the world Clipper race halfway through the Doldrums corridor.
The conditions here are tricky. Some boats have started their engines (which they are allowed to do for 60 hours if they meet certain conditions). Others are sailing on. Big winds and challenges (like a new embryo hurricane, Jose), lie ahead.
Most days the crew take it in turn to write and publish the Crew diary.
Mark published his first report on Monday September 4th. Here it is, fresh from somewhere near the Equator. We like his style, very reminiscent of the Blog….
“Day 16: The Curious Case of the Carrot and the Kite
Strange things happen at sea. Very strange things. But, when a carrot dropped out of our hoisted windseeker this morning, the oddness reached a new level. Skipper Andy suspected foul play and ordered a full investigation; GREAT Britain‘s former police officer and recently promoted Chafe Inspector Ian Medland was to head up the inquiry and was determined to, er, ‘root’ out the culprit. Was this a ploy by the General Woollers Union to use carrotic acid to destroy the sail? Was this an attempt by a crew member to hide and secure additional rations? Medders had to find out and wasted no time in setting up a makeshift interview room; 20 Superkings, a vat of coffee and a supply of doughnuts were duly ordered.
First in the frame was Sailmaker and Watch Leader Simon Speirs. He certainly had the motive; one less sail would be one less sail to have to repair. Speirs had an alibi though – he’d barely taken a step away from the sewing machine over the last few days and certainly hadn’t been anywhere near the carrots. Medders deduced that Speirs and his apprentice seamstress accomplice, Tessa Hicks, could not be to blame.
Focus moved to the other Watch Leader, Spencer J Bienvenue III. Bienvenue was known to have a large appetite and could have hidden the carrot for later consumption. Forensic tests revealed the carrot had no trace of Sriracha sauce and Bienvenue was released without charge.
Medland worked his way through the watch rota and, one by one, suspects were brought in and ruled out. Graham Bell, our ultra-competitive Olympian, had neither the time nor the motive; Mark Tucker had been busy baking flavoured loaves and filing race reports; our resident Aussie Ray Gibson had been fully occupied fixing just about everything; Ian Munford had been leaving cheesy biscuits for sleeping crew mates (a separate investigation is to follow); Krish Patel had spent too long working on her stand-up routine to have come up with any vegetable related pranks; Catherine Foster had been reminiscing about her Grandmother’s peculiar shopping habits; Commodore Timothy Jeffrey (RN Rtd) had barely stepped away from the facts and figures on the screen in his stateroom; Gareth Blanks had been erecting a sunshade for the helm (but clearly is more used to horticulture than naval architecture – think fruit fly more than fly deck); Jon Milne had been keeping the deck gear in fine fettle; Pip O’Sullivan had been busy auditing rice pudding supplies; Antonia Hiesgen had been brushing up her Spanish ahead of arrival in Uruguay (Inspector Medland failed to note the Spanish for carrot in his notebook); Phil Gunn had been either too heavily engrossed in Modern Family or The Perkins Marine Diesel Service Bulletin to care and GREAT Britain‘s media mogul, John Olson had been busy processing photos and typesetting his memoirs.
Inspector Medland had more trouble ruling out the two remaining crew members. Nicola Thurlow, who had assisted O’Sullivan with victualling and had therefore had more access to carrots than most, was shifty and evasive. Edmund Aldworth (who immediately arose suspicion by also going under the names of Ed, Eddy, Edward and Eduardo) was unable to provide an alibi and was known to have close ties to the GWU.
With insufficient evidence to prosecute, Inspector Medland added the case to the dusty pile of unsolved crimes on his desk and joined the rest of his watch to spot sharks and head south.”
Mark is supporting UNICEF, the Round the World Race official charity. You can donate to Mark’s cause by visiting his “Just Giving” page.