Friday, December 18, 2015

RORC Transatlantic Update- Just 1,128nm 2 Go!

J/120 Nunatak sailing for in RORC Transatlantic race Donate Now to!
(Tenerife, Grand Canary Islands)- The J/120 NUNATAK, skippered by the United Kingdom double-handed duo of Elin Haf Davies and Chris Sharp, are flying down the offshore trade-winds wave trains in the second edition of the RORC Transatlantic Race.

As of Thursday, December 10th, NUNATAK was sitting on first in IRC 2 Class, first in IRC Double-handed class and fluctuating between 1st and 4th in IRC Overall depending on the latest predictions!  They are competing against world-class Class 40 teams in the double-handed division.

Elin’s story is both remarkable and heart-warming.  How she came to be on the J/120 NUNATAK and why she’s so passionate about supporting the FIND-A-CURE FOUNDATION is a worthwhile read.  Here were Elin’s comments:

Elin Haf Davies- sailing J/120 Nunatak in RORC Transatlantic race“Escaping to the sea!?  Yes!  On Saturday (Nov 28) I’ll be heading off across the Atlantic as part of the RORC Transatlantic yacht race.  Eight years exactly since I last set off across the big pond in a little rowing boat.

I can’t begin to explain what a journey the last eight years has been for me, and how different my life is now compared to what it was then. I was in a pretty dark place back then, going through a divorce and deserted by a couple of people that I had thought were my friends. My row across the Atlantic in 2007 gave me the opportunity to escape from my troubles on land, and to re-boot my life. It gave me the chance to start again.

During that adventure across the waves, and in my journey since then I have discovered what my passions are, what true friendships are, and most importantly, what I want (and don’t want!) from my life. Going to sea this time, therefore, is very much about living my passion, which is what makes me feel alive!”

You can learn more about Elin’s personal voyage here at JUSTGIVING.COM.

J/120 NUNATAK Daily reports
Since last week, Davies and her co-conspirator, Sharp, have made it their quest to do better than they’ve ever imagined.  So far, so good.  They are sailing beyond expectations on their “cruiser”.

December 5th
“AWESOME!!  Were did that week go?! A 1,000 miles down. We had saved first packet of Haribos for that milestone which tasted great- although Elin insisted on eating all the yellow and ginger men!! Its been a great 7 days; the only issues being with weather communications (gribs) on first couple of days and some chaffing of sails (put right by a quick trip up the rig). Other than that NUNATAK is holding up well.

Elin and I might not be the fastest two-handed co-skippers, but we do it with a smile!! The speed in which Elin has learnt the skills of two-handed sailing is incredible. However, her decision to experiment with Spanish tinned meat has been less impressive and I never would have believed that freeze dried food would seem so appealing! :0

A packet of Jelly Bellies awaits at the 1500 mile mark….”

Chris Frost and Elin Haf Davies- sailing J/120 Nunatak in RORC Transatlantic raceDecember 7th
“Hi all.  Hope all is well and that you’re partying hard in Grenada. Hope all our blogs have been coming through, sorry about limited photos but we don’t have the right software to compress.

What a contrasting 24 hours. We’ve barely had any wind and making very slow progress as a result. Highlight of the day has been bilging the water from the forepeak.

Not sure Chris will appreciate me sharing this with the world, but I think it’s funny to share (the caring nursing instinct in me coming out). You see, Chris has a little problem – ear wax! Which generally means he whispers (thinking that he’s talking normally), so I can barely hear him. In response, I have to talk at the top of my voice, which he still barely hears. It makes for an amusing conversation when we’re discussing which flavour noodles to have for lunch. Not so much when I’m on the bow and he’s on the helm though. Makes for having to use a lot of hand gestures! Not all of them suitable for day-time TV viewing!!

As a result, I spend most of my time plowing through the medical kit wondering what I could use to attack his ears with. Chris, on the other hand, seems more than happy to be only hearing only 50% of what I have to say. I can’t possibly imagine why ...

Despite our minor on board inconveniences, we both feel extremely lucky to be able to have the chance to do this race. Extremely lucky that our health (minor temporary hearing loss aside!) allows us to do it. Luck not granted to all.

As with all my adventures, I hope that my two-handed sail across the Atlantic will raise awareness about the amazing charity that I passionately support in my work – FIND-A-CURE. Findacure works to support patients living with rare disorders. There are around 7,000 different rare disorders, affecting around 32 million patients in Europe. 50% of them being children. Collectively, therefore, they are not rare.  Findacure works to promote patient empowerment and drug repurposing– that is, research to the use of already available drugs for different conditions, but because of the small number there is not enough commercial incentive by big pharma!

In the pre-Christmas build up, if you could spare a couple of pounds and donate, I’d really appreciate it! I have set a target of £3,000 (a £1 a mile), which would be enough to run three patient group workshops. More information her on

Off to make another scrumptious dinner of wax flavoured noodles.”

December 8th
“Well, it’s all happening here on NUNATAK as we finally crossed the halfway mark! HOORAY! But, boy it was a long time coming.

Yesterday morning was particularly hectic as we had two squalls hit us in quick succession. Not sure if I’ve already mentioned, but we don’t use snuffers, and drop our kites via the letter box. Which obviously means completely repacking each one each time. On a good drop, I can manage to get the kite down the companion way all by myself. On a bad one, Chris has to jump from behind the helm (in Ninja-style!) to help me out. The second squall resulted in a particularly bad drop which required a major effort by us all...! Thankfully, with no damage to kite or boat.  But, my morning porridge did fly across the deck and land in my already very smelly deck shoes. Yuck!

In other news, the nights are now becoming a little bit lighter, and we’re able to see an amazing galaxy of stars. Including a lot of shooting stars. I saw one spectacular one last night, and made an extra special wish– that Chris would let me eat all the halfway celebratory jelly beans to myself! Not all shooting stars make your wishes come true it seems!!

My cooking skills have also reached new heights. For lunch today, we had a tablespoon of Nutella and a handful of salted cashew nuts. I was able to persuade Chris that it was the right combination of protein, carbohydrates, sugar and salt to count as a nutritious meal for all top-performing sailors...!

Wind is all over the place, in terms of direction, but grib files promise that it should be better soon. Keeping everything crossed for a faster second half.

P.S any Guardian readers out there – keep an eye out for Wednesday’s edition, where my digital health start up “APARITO” is featured as one of the Nominet Trust Top 100 Tech Social Enterprises!! Thrilled to hear the news, if a bit disappointed to be missing out on the party!!”

Elin Haf Davies and Chris Frost at RORC Awards dinnerDecember 9th
“Hmmm... I have been inundated with ideas on how to improve my hearing from olive oil to offers of grand parents hearing aids. However, I have chosen to ignore these suggestions so I can continue to enjoy a level of peace and quiet on this trip. :)

As Elin has spent 155 days of her life aboard rowing boats living on nothing other than freeze dried food, I had expected the level of catering to improve once we moved onto our freeze dried rations.  However, I was sorely disappointed as I was presented with Chicken Korma soup last evening. Not the standard of curry night I am used to!!

The highlight of the day was devising a new preventer system. I was very excited, but surprised, by Elin’s comment- “you mad duck”. Apparently, a preventer system is not something normal people get excited by...

Being pushed along today by a strong NE breeze.  Getting very bored of 80 degrees TWD, mind you, and starting to wish we had a land-yacht that would go down the 180 freeway!  Must be getting delirious!

We sailed past a French yacht yesterday who chatted on VHF for a while and said how grande NUNATAK looked. Have to say, she feels a little petite compared to the other competitors in this race. Has everyone else finished yet?

I really can’t get bored of the flying fish displays we see regularly. Although, a couple of them have had the misfortune of landing on deck. Elin’s not been so great at getting them back to sea in time to save them.  Off to do some sailing”

J/120 sailing downwind on RORC Transatlantic raceDecember 10th
“Yesterday was an amazing day surfing under the A4. I won fastest surf, getting an 11.6 kts surf in while Chris only got an 11 kts surf in! Yeah! #SmallThings

Chris’s Welsh lessons haven’t progressed much last few days as we probably realised that it was more important to concentrate on my sailing lessons. Having said that he’s very good at saying “Dwi yn hoffi coffi.”  Speaking of which, we’re getting close to having a critical shortage of coffee on board, which really could be a major disaster as both Chris and I are very grumpy without a constant supply of caffeine.

We’re eating down the miles and getting very ready for Grenada, some rum, fun and beer (as promised by Louay). To be fair, my hair has been ready for the Caribbean fun for days, with Afro dreadlocks well and truly in place.

Chris is shouting for his lunch so I best go muster something.  Ciao for now.”   RORC’s TransAtlantic Race Facebook page   Here is the RORC Yellowbrick fleet tracking   For more RORC Transatlantic Race sailing information and NUNATAK blogs