Saturday 7th December
Finally, it feels like the weather is beginning to warm up! Today started for me at 0130 when I came on watch to swap with Tilly. We were burning past Gibraltar with 20 knots of wind on the starboard quarter and a heavy sea state pushing us along. As day broke the wind swung around onto the nose and we started to get wet on deck, but this didn’t matter much to us and the weather continued to spark a great mood on board. But as we tracked our way through the Mediterranean Sea, I was reminded that it takes more than just sailing to move a boat like Maiden around the world. It takes a whole family, to make this slightly unconventional lifestyle work. I have tried to capture this with the images attached, through these small moments on camera I hope the day-to-day complexity of life onboard will be captured.
Of course, our Skipper Nikki, being at the top can be a lonely place, continuously trying to manage and adapt to the conditions, weather, navigation, shipping, food and water supplies, speed and keep everyone happy. Nikki’s bed is her chart table, surrounded by the brains of the boat she can access all the information she needs at any moment. But this sometimes make rest hard to find, the welcome reach of a cup of tea, passed from the galley can be the only break on a busy day.
With constant interruptions to sleep for watch keeping and continuous noise, grabbing some sleep can be a challenge, but Tilly has managed today to get her head down off watch. With the temperatures increasing during the day, our once very appropriate arctic sleeping bags, can at times be a bit much. But Tilly knows how to work around it and so far from home she is always reminded of those people who she loves the most with her small collection of photos on the wall by her bunk.
No rest for Tilly for long though, because as we arrive in a small town on the South of Spain, down to the last 10% of our fuel tanks, we need Tilly to translate to Spanish and try and find us a marina operator to sell us some fuel. This is not an easy challenge at 1900 on a Saturday night. But she comes through and we are able to fill almost all of our tanks and jerry cans before the port runs out of fuel and we have to leave.
Meanwhile the crew still need food, and we have no time to pop ashore for dinner, so Belle starts work in the galley. She is making a butternut squash and Parmesan Risotto, these two ingredients amazing as they have almost no expiry date on them and well after the fresh food is gone we can still eat. It’s not easy for Belle, cooking in a constantly moving boat, the hob gimbles to the waves, but it is still hot and tiring work. But all the crew are waiting and expecting her food, so she endures and makes an amazing meal!
Of course, everyone on board has a vital role to play to make every mile we journey happen, whether it be cooking lunch, begging in Spanish for fuel, keeping the engine running, helming through the night or planning for every eventuality. We are a family and together we will keep Maiden moving.
Maiden’s restoration has been made possible by
HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan in memory of Her father,
HM King Hussein I, via Her ‘Anything is Possible’ initiative.