Joe Powder is one of the main-stay crew on Richard Loftus' Swan 65, Desperado, whether its hammering away at a winch or climbing the pole to spike a kite, Joe is an an all action monkey with a cheeky nature. Joe is a long standing RORC member, (overseas as Joe lives in the Jungle).This year, due to the inaugral presentation of the Joe Powder Trophy, Joe has stayed on in Plymouth after the Rolex Fastnet Race to help the race team and be available at the Prizegiving Ceremony. During his time in the Race Office, Joe has especially enjoyed reading the 'story of the race' and here are his favourite blogs from the boats.
"As a veteran of the Rolex Fastnet Race I know what agonies and ecstasies it takes to round the Rock when people start pilfering my secret banana stash." Chattered Joe. "This year I preferred to follow from the comfort of the jungle and with such a choice of ways to keep up with the crews I found myself drawn to reading the blogs. Swinging from my tree, I sympathised with the grim tales of malfunctioning heads, equipment breakdown and the inevitable repercussions of choppy seas. It seems the preoccupation with food has not changed since my day, but dried food, vats of chilli and 'come dine with me sailor' - what happened to a good old-fashioned banana and monkey nuts?
I read tales of endurance, initiative (fixing heads with a champagne cork - genius!) and hearty debate on the proper etiquette of offshore racing (etiquette isn't the word I'd use to describe the land-based antics...and I'm a monkey) I suggest you read them too!"
[Editor's Note: You can now help to decide the Best Blog Trophy; a brand new iPad, in a poll on the RORC's Facebook page]
To be leading such a great fleet almost from the beginning of the race is a huge thrill, but now we really come under attack. It is clear that whoever wins over the line will break our record of some 44 hours by a good margin...As the breeze builds as expected we can expect a real dog-fight on the remaining 100 miles to the Rock and a rocket ride back to Plymouth...Life on board cheerful with usual rubbish jokes with the Nav station as popular as a Comet store in a riot.
Love to all, Mike Slade
Best sailing ever, surfing between 16 and 22 knots of boat speed. Rounded the Fastnet rock at 8pm or so last night. Difficult to blog. All good. Very wet, very bumpy, but what an amazing ride and fabulous team making this happens! More later. #end
...This race has not been without its drama. Two early retirees ...then came the 100' Rambler. At first we heard it was MOB (man overboard), then it was confirmed she had capsized... It's a sobering reminder that no matter how well prepared the boat and the crew might be, an angry ocean is a powerful force.
Still some debate on board about the need for showers over beer; Ive tried to explain the offshore racing rational to the crew (we dont want to be the only ones smelling good in the beer tent) but I dont think they are buying it. Plus its been decided that instead of the usual Dubarry boots and shorts combo with the odd climbing harness thrown in we are going to wear our sailing gloves and head torches to the pub....you never know it may catch on in Hamble.
The crew of JIBE were too busy on the wet and windy run up to the Rock to worry about the developing leak on the inlet circuit to the heads. The boat was wet anyway.
On the reach back across the Celtic Sea the problem was addressed with determination and vigour. A blanking plug was found to be leaking.
No problem: the cork from the Rock Rounding champagne was still on board. Nifty whittling with a penknife and the problem was solved. Dry heads: bliss.
If it looked on the tracker like we were run over by banque pop then don't worry - we weren't but we were close enough to smell the gauloise.
Into the Irish sea. Eating well and even sleeping enough. Just asked Tom if he's having fun and he's 'not sure'....