From Bonnie MacGregor, longtime Matthew Turner volunteer and supporter.
In 1970, I crewed on a Yawl-rigged Vanguard 32 in the Victoria-Maui race. We were a crew of 5, 2 ladies and 3 men. There were 12 Canadian yachts and 12 American. We were the only boat with 2 women aboard. That was a daily topic on the Ship-to-Shore. Two or three others had one woman on crew. This was the longest race in that Cup’s history. We were out for 23 days. The lead boat was out for about 17 days. The race distance is about 2000 mils as the crow flies. We covered 2300. The Pacific High was in the shape of a tuning fork that year. It had two very wide and long prongs. So, once you escaped one, you shortly entered the second one. All told, we spent well over a week in the Doldrums. The weather was quite warm, probably in the upper 80’s during the day and probably down to the 60’s at night. We sailed without any refrigeration, which was a good advantage it turned out. Some of the larger yachts had freezers and most had trouble with them, which caused them to lose a good deal of their food. We ate fresh food for the first several days and then to canned and dried. Our fresh potatoes and eggs lasted for the entire trip. We only lost 2 eggs. In the Doldrums, none of us felt like eating much any way, t’was too hot. OK, the sea was totally a mid-night blue glassy all around the horizon and the surface was covered in Man-O-Wars. Swimming was out of the question. We substituted buckets of water over the head for a swim. Our little boat liked to rock back and forth as well as pitch and yaw constantly. causing the main sail to “slam/whack/slat” from side to side on its boom rig. It was driving us nuts. No matter how much weight we put along the cup in the main, nothing worked, so we took turns lying along the boom in the pocket to try and stop it. Needless to say, it did not work. We were all in very good trim, so no extra lard to assist as ballast. We did seem to adjust to the noise after several days. After all what choice did we have, suicide or adjust. We tried every sailing trick we could think of to get the boat to move. We sat all on the lee side, tip-toed around the deck, shifted everything we could move below to the lee, noting worked. SLAT-SLAT-SLAT went the main. Of course, we kept it raised hoping to attract a whisper of a breeze. For entertainment, we counted Man-O-Wars on a timed clock for first place, learned fancy knots, polished the brass, scrubbed decks and below, read recipes and other books. The site of ripples along the surface in the distance was as exciting as anything we could think of. “MAYBE we can get out of this situation now!” Of course, since I am writing this, we obviously eventually sailed out of the Doldrums to a First Place in the small boat division and a 4th overall. Not bad for a bunch of first timers.