FROM 1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 08, 2005 – 2130hrs UTC

2130hrs 08 Nov 2005 UTC 40’05”S 047’19”E Ref 535

Another black, bleak night out here in the boonies. Can you sense the despair? It drips off the fibreglass with the condensation and slides little knives in around the kidneys and waggles them around a lot as poor Berri crashes off yet another wave and comes to a shuddering stop, shakes herself, Kevvo gathers his tweakers again and off we go to the next one. I think I have made a subtle but essentially showstopping mistake in planning all this, probably  about a year ago at least. I failed to notice that the weather systems – the highs and lows – move from WNW to ESE instead of broadly west to east. This movement means that we can’t establish ourselves on a favourable latitude to drive us westwards – instead, we cop what I’m sure all y’all can see quite clearly on your screens but we can’t – the worst quadrants of both systems. To get a continuous win, I think, but have no way of knowing, that we would need to be at about 45 S and beyond, where conditions would be too severe for Berri – even more so than they are up here. That is what I think has happened anyway. Perhaps Malcolm or Steve could comment with the benefit of a nice animated weather site. The Examiner certainly has the initiative at the moment and she’s starting to exert some serious pressure.

We are back on the GC route but doing it exceptionally hard – we’re now so far north and east of where we started to head down it that it has moved north of Kerguelen. The wind is still broadly SE, but less steady and we are corkscrewing and crashing heavily every few minutes in one of the nastiest bits of sea we’ve experienced. Sitting here typing is not easy and only possible because I can wedge and brace across three dimensions. I hate doing this to the boat – she doesn’t deserve this sort of treatment.

I’ll try and send this now – it will only get tempered if I leave it to fiddle with later and I think you should get it from the hip, as it were. A dark and lonely moment on an awful night. I don’t think Pete feels so despondent – he’s better at optimism that I am. My strength, if I have one, is in using pessimism as a goad to get the proper prior planning right. I think we are rapidly depleting the tiny margin I tried to build in. One for you, Chris – is it wise to admit so publicly to a sort of blind desperation and in any case, does that add another meaning to wisdom? On with the motley, enter stage left and here we go again.

I’ll feel better in daylight.

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