Archive for April, 2012

The World’s Longest Yacht Race – Heather’s Update 4

No birds onboard

So I don’t think I am ever going to get tired of looking at the night sky. There are so many stars spattering the sky. It is magnificent. One of the other crew members has an app that shows you the constellations in the sky. The things you can learn! There was a “star” just on the horizon line that turned out to be Visit Finland.

We get giddy as school children when we see a shooting star, or dolphins, or other wildlife. But not birds. The crew have a hatred for birds for some reason. There was one today that had a particularly pointy beak. I could imagine it poking its little beady head through our spinnaker sail and then ruining our race. But…thankfully he just circled us and flew away.

So tonight my watch was on duty just as the sun was setting. We were all sitting there doing our thing when BAM!!!  Some fish just up and jumps out of the sea and crash dives into Nathan’s face! Now it makes me a little nervous to yawn as they might consider it a target…

Night time watches are increasingly becoming my favorite. Not only for the stars, but also for the relief from the heat and the sun. Today we took our first showers in a week. We each took a turn sitting on the “sugar scoop” at the rear of the boat and took a bucket of sea water to wash and then rinsed with fresh water. My hair hasn’t felt so good! A few of the guys even got haircuts. We’re a good-looking and good-smelling boat now.

Until next time!



Celebrate Great British Beef on the Menu, says LIB

A team of all female farmers are marking St George’s Day (April 23) by launching the second Great British Beef Week (GBBW).

Ladies in Beef, who are backed by TV star Lynda Bellingham, are encouraging people across the UK to celebrate in the traditional way by ensuring delicious Red Tractor assured British beef is on the menu.

GBBW has harnessed support across the industry from livestock markets to independent butchers. Major supermarkets including Asda, Tesco, Waitrose and Morrisons have also agreed to add their weight to the initiative by carrying special on-pack logos. This year, Ladies in Beef are on a mission to raise funds for the national Help for Heroes charity which aims to provide better facilities for British servicemen and women wounded in action.

Agriculture Minister Jim Paice, who helped launch this year’s GBBW inWestminsteron Monday, said: “With the world’s population growing fast, Britain’s got huge opportunities to export our high quality beef and breeding stock to the world. I fully support the valuable work being done by Ladies in Beef to generate growth in the industry, which will go hand in hand with all the work this Government is doing to rebuild confidence and respect for British farming.”

Minette Batters, Ladies in Beef co-founder, said:  “Great British beef is delicious, versatile and great value. It can be bought from your local butchers, farm shop or supermarket and is perfect for any occasion, whether you’re having a large gathering with family and friends or looking for a quick, simple and low-cost meal option at home.”

Robert Dunk, Manager, Sales Massey FergusonUKandIreland, said “We are delighted to help promote Great British Beef Week with the loan of an MF 5450 tractor and fully support the Ladies in Beef initiative. There are thousands of Massey Ferguson tractors working in the livestock sector – an area which makes a huge contribution to the UK’s agricultural output.”

To help inspire people to get cooking with beef, the Ladies in Beef have created a variety of mouth-watering recipes which can be found on the website

The World’s Longest Yacht Race – Heather’s Update 3

Deckercise & Flying Squid

Well, things are going great on the Big Blue Canoe. And getting quite hot. As we near the tropics, the winds are dropping away as the temperature rises.

I am feeling good. I do have to admit that I was a bit seasick the first couple days, but the crew was very supportive as I recovered, and I am now totally acclimated. I am really enjoying myself, apart from the difficulty of getting into the watch-system routine and breaking up my sleep cycle. I’m not always “all there” when I wake up…and I have to basically fall out of my top bunk (rather ungracefully as the ship rocks) to get down. It makes for a rocky landing…

I do miss home, but it is not unbearable. I appreciate the messages y’all post on TrueBlue. Plus, some friends from home sent me off to sea with a letter a day to open with words of encouragement…

We are all going to be slowing down as we near the tropics. There are a series of gates set up, and the Clipper office might call the race at any moment if the winds die away and we’re not able to move forward any longer by sail. We keep hearing the other skippers talk to each other and discuss the wind in their part of the world. And then they tell jokes or talk about the fish that they’re not catching. (I think they are rather jealous of our 2 fresh tunas and the delicious meals that came from them.) Speaking of meals, this morning we had the 2am-6am watch, and it was our responsibility to make breakfast. I made blueberry pancakes that were a hit! However, I have to say that they are most definitely the ugliest pancakes I have ever made in my life as the boat was rocking back and forth and made the pancakes into very unnatural shapes. But still delicious.

Other items of note:

1: Deckcercise: as the wind fades and the waves are relatively calm we are able to exercise on deck a bit.

2: Flying fish: they exist. A very strange sight. I thought it was a bird the first time I saw it, but then it disappeared below the surface. What a crazy creation!

3: Flying squid: Okay. They don’t fly, but they are attracted to the lights on-board at night. We had one that was about 5-6 inches long that just leapt onto the deck. It was the strangest thing!

Much love!


The World’s Longest Yacht Race – Heather’s Update 2

Greetings from the ocean!

All is going well…we are keeping an eye out on the competition who are just a few miles behind us. We want that scoring gate!                           

It is getting warmer and warmer by the day. I started off with thermals, mid-layers, and my foul-weather gear on top, with boots on. Now I’ve gotten rid of my thermals and am down to shorts and a t-shirt…It’s gonna be a scorcher pretty soon. And there are no fans or AC on board the good ship De Lage Landen! Maybe we’ll even get to shower?!

Last night was just glorious! We watched the sun as it disappeared over the horizon. A couple hours later, we saw the most amazing shooting star. It looked like it was relatively near to us. It lasted about 5-6 seconds and we could see it burn up in the atmosphere.

We’re still flying along with our spinnaker up, constantly trimming it night and day. The boats further out have a bit more wind, but we’re hoping that being inshore at the moment will pay off. It can be a bit grueling when you have to look straight up into the sun to see what the sail is doing. The freckles on my face have already come out, and now I’m just plain red. Gotta get the 85 SPF sunscreen out!

The crew dynamics are just wonderful. Yesterday we all enjoyed the catch of tuna fish, fresh from the sea tastes nothing like from the store! Mmmmmm! And surprise of all surprises, we have a few chefs on board. We all take turns preparing the meals, and it is quite nice when we have someone with creativity. I have a few tricks up my sleeve as well…

Thank you for the encouraging messages, and Kudos to my colleagues in Duluth, GA, USA who are taking up the slack in my absence. That’s what teamwork is all about, and I really thank you!



Massey Harris Collection in Beauvais, France

We are in the process of beginning the restoration of our Massey Harris collection here in Beauvais, France. In doing so, we realise that we know much more about our Ferguson heritage models than our red and yellow forefathers.

We have four tractors here in the collection. One is an M-H Pony built in France so we know a bit about it, then we have a four wheel drive general purpose M-H tractor, again, we know its history.

We are interested to find out more about the two standard M-H tractors, dated around 1945 / 1950. Where were they made? How did they end up in France? What engines did they use etc… of course any details about these actual models would be greatly appreciated!

One of them is of special historical significance because it was the first Marshall Plan tractor supplied to France, as part of the US sponsored economic reconstruction plan for post war Europe, torn apart by the ravages of  six years of invasion, counter invasion and bombardment.

If anyone can shed any light on this one, we are very keen to hear about it…