AN­OTHER DAY AT THE OF­FICE

AS THE ALL-WOMEN TEAM OF EF ED­U­CA­TION EASE THEIR WAY THROUGH THE DOL­DRUMS DUR­ING THE 1997-98 WHIT­BREAD ROUND THE WORLD RACE, ANNA DROUGGE DE­SCRIBES A DAWN WATCH IN WHICH VERY LIT­TLE HAP­PENS, BUT WE LEARN A LOT

Yachting World - - Great Seamanship -

It’s hard to be­lieve that al­most 20 years have elapsed since the Swedish EF team of two boats took on the Whit­bread Round the World Race in 1997-98. In at the birth of the Code 0 sail, EF Lan­guage proved the even­tual win­ner. EF Ed­u­ca­tion’s all-women crew com­pleted the course in fine style and were not dis­graced in the plac­ings.

Look­ing back on these epic con­tests we are for­tu­nate to have Risk to Gain, a large-for­mat book from Mark Chis­nell with images by Rick Tom­lin­son. As a pho­to­graphic record, the book would take some beat­ing. Much of the text, skil­fully compiled by Chis­nell, comes from the words of Mag­nus Ols­son on Lan­guage and Anna Drougge, sail­maker on Ed­u­ca­tion.

This ex­tract is Drougge’s fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight into the de­tails of a dawn watch in the trop­ics where al­most noth­ing of note hap­pens as the Whit­bread 60 creams along in state. We can al­most feel we’re there . . . The hand on my shoul­der was light. I turned quickly and looked up, eyes open, but un­see­ing. ‘Ten min­utes,’ said the voice. I stared at the un­der­side of the deck above me un­til the world came into fo­cus. A trickle of con­den­sa­tion rolled off a screw­head and slid down the hull un­til it dis­ap­peared. The silk sheet was twisted around me, damp with sweat. I rolled clear of it and slid off the bunk.

The boat’s mo­tion was easy, the sea flat. I fum­bled in my bag for the still-damp shorts and T-shirt. Leah, who came on watch with me, was just stir­ring from the other top wind­ward bunk. Dressed, I found a wa­ter bot­tle and filled it, be­fore climb­ing up through the hatch and peer­ing into the soft light of dawn. I flipped my sun­glasses off my fore­head and into place – it was bright enough to need them. And it was still blis­ter­ingly hot, which was no sur­prise when you con­sider that the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture had only just dropped be­low 30°C.

Katie glanced across at me from the lee­ward trim­ming

The all-women crew aboard EF Ed­u­ca­tion ben­e­fited from a joint Whit­bread pro­gramme

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.