James Jermain, prepares for his first ocean crossing aboard GMIV

One of Europe’s most experienced boat testers, James Jermain, consultant editor of Yachting Monthly, has shipped aboard Gipsy Moth IV in Tenerife for her second and his first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

He filed this report: ‘The crew for Antigua is assembled, here in Santa Cruz, and we are at that awkward stage when nobody knows anyone else and we are all tiptoeing round each other: ‘Who’s that old fart? Who’s that young whipper shapper?’ Apart from skipper, Richard, we are all on a steep learning curve as well with silly mistakes and other idiocies coming thick and fast – mainly from the mate, who should know better.
But the two-day countdown to Thursday’s start of the second leg of the Blue Water Round the World Rally is going well. Kirsty (15,) and Kimberley (also 15), members of the Pompey Study Centre are being restrained from a water fight as I write, and Richard in pleading for help getting the boat ready – could be a familiar story. The third youngster, Anthony (15) also from the Pompey Study Centre is already proving a tower of strength volunteering for everything and getting properly stuck in – He’s been up the mast three times, into the forepeak and down into the bilges.

Clare is the final member of the team – she teaches the three youngsters at the PSC, which she also manages. She is, as if that wasn’t enough, a very competent yachtswoman with several long passages to her credit. The PSC is worth a quick sentence; it is a place for youngsters to do extra curricular studies in support their school work. At the moment the centre is based at St Luke’s School while Pompey’s ground is being redeveloped. When Clare returns from this trip she is faced with a major fund raising effort to raise cash for the move back to Fratton Park.

I promise I won’t rabbit on too much about food, but on a trip where we are all going to experience a range of firsts, I have to thank Kimberley for my first first – a tomato, cheese and frankfurter, sandwich followed by a poached egg made in boiling water – hmmmm!
Our first shopping trip was a bit worrying. The Blue Water Rally Crews seemed to have got there before us and the shelves of the supermarkets were stripped of tinned meat products. On the other hand there were 60 varieties of tinned tuna. ‘