30th May 2022 – Rotherhithe
11 days before the Scoresby Sund Expedition starts
..and I’m not even talking about the crew, what about ME!
I often spot sailors lying under their yachts dry-sanding their antifouling without wearing a mask. Many of them are on tight schedules and work seven days a week and sometimes well into the night. They are (probably) making a great job of the boat, but it’s a shame they won’t be alive to enjoy it. Especially if they don’t secure that doggy ladder!
So my advise, for what it’s worth, is ease up!
Take some time to look after yourself as well as the boat. Don’t set sail all stressed out and knackered.
My last big voyage was to Jan Mayen in the Arctic. It involved hauling packs up a 2,277 m high ice covered volcano. So for that trip we trained hard, really hard. We ran trail marathons, loads of half-marathons, plus full-on military fitness training.
This year’s Greenland voyage does not involve any serious climbing. There may be a few hill walks and some mini camping trips but nothing extreme is planned, at least on land. The training has been more moderate, to suit the voyage.
Every year we do three half marathons, with the last one being the Steyning Stinger which is a gruesome trail run. As we have run them so many times, we can easily gauge our fitness levels. It’s interesting to watch your times gradually drop off over the years. Beetroot juice is the secret trick to getting around the course.
For some reason we have stopped doing the Saturday Park Runs but will probably take it up again on return from Greenland.
I’ve only been to a gym once, that was enough for me. Horrible places!
My fitness training takes place in the big outdoors via BMF. That used to stand for British Military Fitness but has morphed into Be Military Fit. I go to the Greenwich Park Group a couple of times a week and join in either the fitness training or their running club. The park is a beautiful hilly venue with stunning views over London. They work you pretty hard – press ups in the frost, dragging buddies up slippery hills and such like, but right now, with just a couple of weeks before the voyage begins, I am easing up slightly. The last thing you need is a torn muscle or twisted ankle just before you set off.
Ray, who is sailing with me to Greenland, has gone to the extreme length of giving up alcohol – one step too far for me! He is also weight training, which will be handy for hauling up that 15 kg anchor as there is no windlass on Sumara – just a pair of grippy Guy Cotten gloves
I saw the Doctor for a check up a while ago and she said I had raised cholesterol, pretty common as you get older. She offered me statins which I would normally flatly refuse, but with the trip looming, I thought it would be a shame to drop dead right now so I’ll go for it, at least until I come back from Greenland. I’ve probably trashed the effect because I simply can’t give up cheese and bacon completely, life just wouldn’t be worth living.
The only other medicine I take on a regular basis is Cod Liver Oil. However, I only like the Icelandic stuff “Lysi” so I shall stock up again in Husavik.
Toothache can be a hassle on a long trip. I had a wobbly tooth which didn’t seem to do anything useful and was out of sight so I had it pulled out. It was never going to stop wobbling and would no doubt flare up while out at sea.
At sea, I clean my teeth with sea water. I keep a brush in the cockpit bag.
Talking about teeth, on land I brush my teeth standing on one leg. Why waste two minutes twice a day when you can do something constructive. It is great for your balance and, if you drop down to a squat position, it’s good for your muscles too. Not possible at sea though!
Sleep is important too.
As a skipper whilst sailing, it is still important to try to rest-up if you possibly can. There is a very tricky balance between ensuring you get enough sleep and making sure the crew will definitely wake you up should anything concern them. It’s far better to be woken by a gentle shake and a crew saying there is a ship coming towards us, rather than the sound of a ship’s horn blasting away to say “Get out of my way” – or even worse!
I suppose what I’m saying is don’t forget to pamper yourself just as much as your boat, its only fair after all.