Time for a little blog recycling!  This blog was written approximately 2 years ago about my fellow leg 5 watch mates as we sailed from Brisbane to Singapore on the Clipper Race. As I’m now in Sydney and getting to hang out with some of my down under boat family again I thought it would be nice to bring on the memories! So with no further ado, here it is…

After many days at sea with my new family in our humble abode Dixie I figured it was time (or maybe somewhat late!) for some belated introductions.

First up my big sister Ursula with whom I share a ‘room’. As the little sister I get the top bunk which sometimes sees me climbing the walls as I get into and out of bed. Our room comes complete with an ensuite sauna (otherwise known as the motor) which is a dubious bonus when sailing through the tropics! As our room is next to the galley we get to watch ‘the galley show’ from bed. The architect of our home clearly didn’t rate corridors or doors for that matter, with only three (watertight) doors throughout our whole house our room is not so much a room but more of a thoroughfare which has been likened to Piccadilly Circus. Big sis likes to keep the window open even when it’s wet outside which can get us into trouble at times!

Ursula & I sailing again! I'm the one hiding on the left!

Ursula & I sailing together again, this trip was from Hobart to Sydney. I’m the one hiding on the left!

So anyway back to Ursula; Ursula got the creative streak, a talented blog writer and poet she can even sing which is sadly is not a streak which runs through the rest of the family! Ursula likes to keep clean and can often be found showering at the back of the boat. She is generous with sharing her shower (quite possibly to stop us smelling) and sharing her sweets which she has managed to ration far more effectively then her little sibling! Ursula loves her salt, loves to laugh and has a definite mischievous streak.

Big Chris & Matt tucking into cake for Australia day

Big Chris & Matt tucking into cake for Australia day

Next along the port wing of our mansion the powerhouses of our family sleep, Matt and Big Chris. Big Chris, otherwise known as Dad, as his name suggests is a giant of a man, capable of plucking sails from the water single handed. He keeps us entertained with stories of pygmies, a constant supply of dad jokes, makes sure we are wearing our suncream and is great for keeping up morale. He doubles up as the boss/supervisor ensuring we are rotating through our roles correctly through a complex system of bird calls. Dad sometimes gets woken by wombats rustling for food under his bunk which may not amuse him but the stories certainly amuse the rest of us! Big brother Matt is the cool older brother, our ever talented poet laureate, top tea maker, engineer and menu planner. With the strength of an Ox, Matt is proof that strength can come without meat, an ongoing topic of discussion in our family.

We are a modern family and have not one but two Dads so next up is Dad 2, Derek. He gets his own room as befits his position of responsibility and head of the family/watch leader status. However his room also doubles as the shed where we keep the tools, the larder where we keep the fridge and a cave which gives Dad Derek somewhere to escape to when the rest of the family gets too much. Dad 2 can be somewhat serious, which is probably necessary as someone needs to be! But underneath this serious exterior lurk wry smiles, cheeky winks and there has been a sighting of a Mr Happy water bottle! As any good parent does he educates our family with knowledge on navigation and has a wealth of sailing experience which we like tapping into.

Derek & Nicky

Dad Derek & Aunt Nicky grinning away!

Next to Derek’s shed/cave/larder is the nerve centre of our home, the navigation station and the family computer. If we weren’t such a well behaved family we would likely squabble over it as it offers our only link to the outside world. Luckily we keep pretty strange working times which allows 24 hours of computer time to keep the whole family entertained.

Sliding across the navigation station we enter the starboard wing where we find Aunt Nicky and my annoying older brother Neil. Aunt Nicky always looks pristine with a healthy dose of pink and a ready supply of clean clothes, a non-remarkable feat you might think but our washing facilities leave something to be desired! Nicky runs on tea rather than sleep and can often be found writing a journal which will be the envy of all of us when we try to recollect our journey in the future. Nicky has a stash of real coffee and makes a mean mocha! Nicky has plans to own her own boat soon so is keen to learn all things sailing. Big brother Neil is a constant source of amusement, always up for a random conversation, game of sheep herding or snap, he tends to lose so tries to change the rules as he goes along, but I know I’m winning really! After losing out on the last bowl of porridge he declared there would be no more Mr Nice Guy! Luckily his Mr Nasty Guy needs some more honing! As assistant watch leader Neil keeps us in order, often with the patience of a saint.

Did someone say something funny?! Ursula, Neil & Rich (from the other family!)

Did someone say something funny?! Ursula, Neil & Rich (from the other family!)


Finally in the last ‘room’ of the starboard wing are my other sister Gem and Uncle Paul. Gem is another over achiever of our family, when the boy next door ground up the main sail single handed, Gem couldn’t resist doing it too with a very impressive attempt to beat his time! Tristan won out on that occasion but I’m sure Gem will be back for another attempt. She is as comfortable on the bow, at the helm or in the galley, she’s even spent a fair bit of time in the lazarette but I doubt she enjoyed that as much! Last but not least is Uncle Paul, with a raft of sailing knowledge he’s the best coach for beginner helms. He doesn’t like it up the pointy end of the boat but boldly rises to the challenge when required. He has also been known to rescue halyards from up the mast when they have been mistakenly eased rather then taken up (50:50 chance right?) by someone who shall remain nameless (oops!).

Paul & Big Chris at race start

Paul & Big Chris at race start

We share our home and our food with another family who go to ‘work’ when we sleep and vice versa. We often pass like ships in the night but have a daily happy hour (two hours in length like any good happy hour) where we get to spend some time together. Like any family we share our rooms, our food and our toothpaste should someone’s run out. We have our minor squabbles but surprisingly less than you would imagine considering we are living in each other’s pockets and even sharing our bunks! We have developed our own repertoire of songs and in-family jokes, so apologies if much of this doesn’t make sense to those out in the real world!

Australia day celebrations

Both families enjoying Australia day celebrations!

And speaking of family jokes, to my real world family, soon we will be on our way to Qingdao where I will be eating everything, except of course the black pudding! NB: This blog was started on the way to Singapore so our family has been switched around somewhat since the time of writing and sadly we have lost a few members to the bright lights of Singapore, Dad, John and Paul we miss you :-(