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A few words from the guy really in charge aboard Rona II...

I thought it was time for me, the mate, to say a few words. I've been doing
my mate duties day by day, which to be honest has been made easy by the crew
and afterguard. My job is to ensure the safe running of Rona II above and
below decks. This task has been made easy by the strong afterguard and very
capable and hard working crew.
I have the general overview of what's going on, and make decisions on when
to change sails or charge batteries. My role is often not visible, but all
the same happening. I've just been called to the deck by the on watch as
they have noticed an upward trend in the average wind speed. I've not
called for a sail change but warned them that they may need to hoist a
number two Yankee (a smaller high cut sail, which goes on the front of the
boat) and put reef two in (making the main sail smaller), if the trend
continues. It's not all decision making, I've just been asked if I'd like a
coffee and afternoon cake - its clearly not all racing decision making
skills that the mate has to contend with.
One of our highlights of the day is the 14:00 UTC positions and safety radio
chat. (All our communication with race control are in UTC, ship's time is
local time for the time zone we're in, so on this trip we add one hour to
local time every time we cover 15 degrees longitude. So local time now is
17:05 +0100 and the UK time is 19:05 DST - yes it's confusing for us too!)
However, back to communication schedules: so we turn on the MF/HF Radio and
immediately know it's working because the noise emitted from it is white
noise beyond all white noise you've ever heard. Eventually it crackles into
life with the sound of vague and distant voices, which then turns into 30
mins of other boats relaying positions to each other and lots of mutual
respect and appreciation between skippers. However, what I can never
understand is how Jolie Brise, a 104 year old boat, has the best working MF
radio of all time, they really did build thing to last in the old days!!

Other mate duties involve checking the bilges have been pumped, surfaces
have been cleaned, the rig is still pointing upwards, some mechanical
checks. Today's challenge is that the generator seems to not be playing
ball. It's not a problem, we can use the engine until its fixed. I also
police the helmsmen's courses to ensure the on watch are steering in the
right direction - sometimes it's a wonder we arrive anywhere that we aim
for?!?

Okay, I think you've had enough from me, we've had a watch change and the
new watch are treating the course as
optional......................................time for a mate grumble! Oh
and the owner, sorry, skipper has just woken up, so I need to allocate him
his list of jobs to ensure he doesn't interfere with the smooth running of
my boat ;)

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