From Bex Hielkema – crew on Django

Being the only girl on a small yacht for 7 days with 4 other guys is not such a big deal really.

A typical day starts for me at 0100, woken from a crazy strange dream by Lefty telling me its my “turn to shine”.  For the past 2 hours i have been “sleeping” in what we have fondly named the “skylounge” which is the winward bunk ontop of all if the damp sails, a token bean bag and a soaking wet pillow. The sleeping bag, aka “fart sack” meets its purpose perfectly by keeping the wet in and the warm out. I have been double bounced out of my bunk a couple of times and am grateful for the leecloths that go to the cabin top.

I climb out of my bunk into my boots…
1. climb through piles of wet wet wet weather gear to find my middle layers.
2. boots off bear suit on
3. clumber to the bow to find my trusty yet soaking wet trousers.
4. boots off trousers on
5. Probally should pee prior to getting up on deck so start that process all over again!
6. Slip on my smock
7. strap my lifejacket on
8. now where did i leave my beanie and head torch?

This tedious process has meant that 4 days on I am the only one on board that still has dry socks!

I head for the galley to find some goodies to hand to my watch mate Lefty, he is always pleasently suprised and grateful by what treats I can find in the cupboard.

I sit by the mainsheet getting pummelled by waves.  Two nights ago I was thrown onto the mainsheet cleat I thought that on the moment of impact I was pretty glad that im a girl (that kind of injury for a boy could be potentially life threatening!) After an hour of stinging needles of rain in my eyes and 43knot squalls my hands are more wrinkly than if i had been sitting in the bath tub for 4 hours.

I check my watch constantly counting down the minutes until I can drive and warm up a little and have a stretch. Finally its 0200 i wake up AJ for his “time to shine” and i jump onto the wheel attempting to keep the Django with a double reefed main and number 4 jib going fast in what feels like the opposite direction to Fiji.

I try not to slam the boat down waves that are more like pot holes soaking AJ and waking everyone who is attempting to sleep downstairs.

When my watch is finished I climb in to a warm damp bunk for 3 hours sleep if I’m lucky only to be woken as its my time to shine once again!

When it comes to girly stuff:
1. Nails
I have a really nasty sore ingrown big toe nail

2. Hair
I cut the handle off my brush to save weight (it only came out of my bag on day 4!)

3. Make up
baby wipes, chap stick & sunblock

4. Toilet
Well that was nearly a massive drama when on day 2 Seamus blocked the toilet with “flushable” wet wipes. Easy solution for me stop drinking water for a couple of hours. Not so easy for Seamus he sat in the bow slamming at 25 knots upwind unblocking it! He now has a new nick name ASSS (At Sea Sanitation Specialist) he showed real dedication and I’m sure the double dose of paiha bomber sea sick pills really helped!

Well to be honest being the only chick on board is no big deal, one of the boys even has more toiletries than me!

I feel like im hanging out with a bunch of my big brothers and racing to Fiji!

I know that when we arrive in Fiji I will be the first to jump in the shower to wash my hair, but i will have rums with the boys first!

I love what I do and I’m on a awesome boat with a great bunch of guys!

It could be worse…. I could be at work!
650nm done 3000nm to go!

Bex Hielkema
Team Django Yachting
Nurse, Bowman & Freeze Dried Master Chef