FROM 1-10. South Atlantic-Going up

Mar 30, 2005 - 1600hrs UTC │Clench-Inducing Sequences IV

1600hrs 30 Mar 2005 UTC Map Ref 137

So much to say. Things we know: Liferaft lost because pelican clip came undone. Shouldn’t have and dont know why.

Have not been able to get close to it yet to examine. Too dangerous to recover raft last night but was able to winch raft close to hull by timing waves. Once in lee, would have ridden out the night but I was not prepared to leave cockpit to secure it to foredeck so decided to try short tow. Also couldnt get close enough to salvage any contents. Poo – could have used the survival biscuits. But very very sad to lose it. Rubber ducky in package next to raft on coachroof lashed to grabrail hasn’t moved – in future, I’m going to lash the raft too, with sharp knife attached.

Plodders motto: Planning, Practice, Prudence, Patience and Perseverance. And a Pee bucket for our far too agile bladders, but that’s another story. We’re in the patient persevering stage right now. Wind has dropped from 80’s down to 30-50’s in squalls and waves dropping too. Still too much for even poled storm jibs so using engine at idle to give a bit more bite for Kevvo.

Waves were huge – Peter B, if you’re out there, I’ve now seen and surfed them all in HWS except Moitessier’s 1000 metre breaking southern ocean swell, the which I’d fervently like to avoid. When I was lashed to the back of the cockpit at first light, wind still steady 70s, I was pulling the turbine line directly out of a vertical wall of frothy grey water about 15 feet from my face, and as Berri rose up it, the line rotated downwards to be almost vertical. Had to do it else we might have lost self steering gear. Very difficult to judge height at that order of magnitude but easily over the mast and some of them seemed to be at lease two masts – nearly 30 metres. Pointy and breaking. Mostly all white with foam and wind lines all over. Sadly, no good photos -far too wet for non waterproof video cam although got some a bit later after things got a bit calmer.

Huge lid dip to Kevin Fleming – once again the self steering gear kept us alive. Thanks Kev – still have a couple of mods to discuss tho. Kept the wind and swell more or less on the quarter. Knockdowns happen when the boat gets beam on to big rolling breakers – there were lots – thousands – of these, and Kevvo only really lost it once – second time may have been because of towed liferaft. But wearing my instructor’s hat, I should stress that quartering wind and sea works for Berri but may not work for other designs – practice going down smaller waves when things aren’t critical and you’ll find out what works.

Best thing I did in the Falkland was to buy a new satphone – thanks to Derek and Cable and Wireless for bending their rules re billing and for their help setting it up. Enormous relief last night when unable to raise Chile sailmail station to be able to get on the satphone and within seconds be talking to Malcolm Robinson, who notified authorities about raft and spoke to hilary and jeanne and Sailmail.  I was also able to speak directly to NASA when email iffy early in storm to tell her we were in a spot of bother under some clouds and couldn’t play with the ISS. Worth the cost just for those few calls yesterday.

There will be more as I think about things. Still bloody blowing 50 – never ever thought I’d be glad to read 50 on the anemometer but I sure am. Rather it was 20 though. Occasional remnant monsterwave still threatening to engulf.

James, had read about Cone – amazing – and boats are for purposes – Cone is brilliant while she hangs together and I’d like a go sometime, but I’d rather be in Berri down here. Glad you like this nonsense. Hi Virginia, and thanks; youtoocroo; and, of course, Kim in his michelin suit – go bees! Fenwick, we’re still your friends even if all your others have deserted you – where are you?

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