With Leg 3 well underway, Dee and the team turn their thoughts to Christmas on the boat

We are faced with just 1600 nautical miles to go on our first Southern Ocean odyssey in this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. Yet again we find ourselves sliding across the top of the ice exclusion zone preparing to head south again as soon as it permits us to. We are heading south into gale force winds one final time before we turn and head north towards Australian sunshine. We will not be in for Christmas but we have written our letters to Father Christmas explaining where we are and letting him know we have a jolly good mast to climb down that is cleaner than a chimney!

We are racing hard and trying to catch Scallywag in front and keep Akzonobel behind us. Lots can happen in the short time left. We have had our share of issues down here which is typical when pushing hard in these conditions. As a result Liz has been up the mast several times to try and fix wind instruments and navigation light issues. Rather her than me. She loves the challenge but I have seen the bruises she encounters first hand after swinging around the mast 33 metres in the air. What little boat movement we feel we have on deck is always escalated at the top of the mast.

Wisdom, the Volvo Ocean Race Albatross mascot, has felt at home on the boat enjoying being near his family and even ventured up to the top of the rig with Liz on one occasion. Sail repairs and general wear and tear have taken place but my concern is the crew. Some are faring better than others. There are some who are tired and therefore feeling the cold a little more. There are some that are sad to be away from friends and family at this time of year and then there are others that are relishing the conditions and where they are. My role is to keep them all together pushing to the end and getting them enough rest in the short stopover of Melbourne ready to go again on the next leg to Hong Kong. That starts on 2nd January.

Being out here does give you time to reflect. We talk about our message and how we can make a difference to people's behaviour regarding single use plastics and how hard it is to live differently as we are not often given the choice. One of our crew uses disposable contact lenses and we discussed how disposable are they and can they be recycled? Questions he had never considered before. Packaging for what we carry on board is so important to keep stuff dry against the wet conditions we face. How can we pack things differently? How do we keep our food for three weeks on the boat so it can still be eaten but use less plastic and packaging? As we know plastic has been designed for a reason because it is good at what it does, but we need to make sure we can re-use it and use less of it. We have all bought into our message of a change of behaviour, reducing single use plastics, like no to straws, using a bag for life, having a refillable water bottle and carry our own thermal mug.

So that leads us onto our New Year’s Resolutions. These need to test us a little further and maybe challenge those around us to change behaviours.

Dee and Team TTTOP