The whole crew knows that every 11th day, their numbers up. Today, it's Michi's (Michael Muller) turn. I'm talking about the Minister of the Interior, easily one of the most important jobs on the boat. A clean ship is a happy ship as they say. Here's the list of responsibilities that Michi must attend to today:
1. Bail boat at end of every watch.
2. Wipe down galley after every meal
3. Clean head once.
4. Check for loose items that can be stacked
5. Clean tail bags.
and that's it, probably 10 to 15 mins out of his day.
On this leg however Michi is being particularly vigilant about another of his responsibilities. Michi and his partner, called Micki are soon to be blessed with the arrival of a third potential Micki or Michi, depending on the sex, so he's checking his email ALL THE TIME. Now, Michi is known for being a man of few words, but I had a chance to talk to him a little earlier and he did admit that the situation is actually starting to get to him just a little.
Considering our current situation on the boat, looking at 30 + days at sea, I can totally empathise with him. I was in the same situation with my daughter, now 11 years old (amazing), in the 1997/98 race onboard a Whitbread 60 called Chessie Racing. She was born 4 days after we set out from Southampton bound for Cape Town on a leg that actually took us a little over 30 days with a distance of around
7500 miles - it shows how much quicker these new Volvo 70's are. The first 4 days of that leg were easily the hardest of the whole race and the sense of relief when I found out that Isabel had arrived safely and that mum was OK is hard to describe.
So why not just stay home? I hear you asking....it's this race man, it's like a disease. You make the commitment to yourself and the team a long time out. It takes many years of work to get yourself in a position to be considered as part of a team and there is always the nagging doubt that if you step out for a time, well someone else will move in! It's the reality. Finally I can only speak for myself when I say that on top of all the other reasons to do this race, we do this for a living and kids aren't cheap.