Atlantic Crossing: November 2003
Sporting his Caribbean gangster tag, Chief Nyce Wun, or Chief Wiggum, (as in the donut-eating character from the Simpsons and the fact that he constantly says ‘nice one’) he’s a fully qualified galley bitch with plenty of miles under his belt (over 5,000 now). This leg of his sailing exploits is the bit he has patiently been waiting for all these months. Nice one.
Simon is so laid back the guy is horizontal. The only time I ever heard Simon raise his voice was when we won the rugby world cup. For a three thousand mile crossing of the Atlantic you couldn’t ask for a better skipper. As well as keeping his cool when the spinnaker pole broke, the mainsail halyard dropped and the batteries went flat, Simon was our personal trainer, encouraging a healthy competitive spirit with our daily exercises.
If Simon is horizontal then Rich is set roughly at one hundred and thirty degrees. For a twenty six year old he’s done more than most, including numerous Atlantic crossings, as well as Pacific ones as well. Hailing from the Isle of Wight what would you expect? It’s in his blood. With his Bowie eyes and his unkempt hair he attracted more than his fair share of Spanish chicas in Las Palmas. A young, cool sailing expert and a hit with the ladies. B@stard.
Timmy Fish (can’t keep him out of the water), who constantly describes anything good as ‘clean’, is Foxy’s sailing buddy, having done over 3,000 miles together. Tim’s cooking skills finally got the thumbs up for his mid-Atlantic pizza feast, as well as his special sag aloo. Tim spent the entire trip with book in hand, sunning himself at any opportunity. A man with the right agenda.
You thought Tim coming from a neighbouring village was a coincidence? You’ll never guess where James is from? Yep, my hometown Saffron Walden! Although we’d never met it turns out we share a fair few mutual friends. James’s real nickname is actually Dobby, due to his uncanny resemblance to the House Elf from Harry Potter, an image only made more appropriate when seen sporting his travelling towel around his waist. This item of clothing has become a regular item of Dobby’s wardrobe whilst in Antigua, hence the new gangster name The Gandiman. The Atlantic crossing was actually James’s first ever crossing in a boat, believe it or not. A fact made even more interesting because of his trade: he’s a boat builder!
Proving that the French can actually be relaxed, laid back and a good laugh, Michel was a great asset to have on board Ocean Indies. Despite his hyper intelligence (currently studying for his PhD in neuro-something) he still can’t get to grips with Yahtze. His knowledge of the stars, however, was impressive and sharing a night watch with Michel was always an education. And that French accent is always a winner with the ladies.
Roger was perhaps the most important crewmember, bagging us many dorado on our crossing. I’ve only included him out of the four lures because he was our top goal scorer and had a marvellous season. This started in the Pacific and continued into the Atlantic, bagging tuna (though not on our leg), so much dorado we were getting sick of them, a nasty looking barracuda, and even teasing the odd sailfish as well. Unfortunately Roger’s career ended abruptly with a horrific snatch. He will be sorely missed.
Dave the Egret joined us for a 24 hour leg somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic. Obviously tired from flying he decided to take passage on Ocean Indies and earned his keep by staying on anchor watch for the entire time he was aboard. When he parted he left behind a little present for us on the deck.
Ocean Indies is an Oceanis 473 Beneteau. To you or me this is just another fibre-glass modern 47ft yacht. To yottie snobs this is a joke boat simply because it’s mass-produced. Well, it got me across the Atlantic without too many problems, is roomy inside and even the fore cabin was comfortable enough (remember the front of the boat is always more uncomfortable than anywhere else). OK, if I’m honest it did actually fall apart in a number of places but it is a charter boat after all.