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

Nov 12, 2005 - 1545hrs UTC

1545hrs 12 Nov 2005 UTC 42’52”S 056’15”E Ref 545

As i sit here midst my slowly collapsing systems, I’ve been pondering metaphor and simile. But first, news of what might – just might at this stage because Herself the Examiner still stalks the wide open spaces – might be a small success. My little bypass job this morning in the cold and the spume, half in and half out of the lazarette on my back across the back of the cockpit, taking out the through-deck fitting and direct connecting the ATU to the backstay aerial a) has worked – the little black duck is transmitting and b) may have improved the signal strength – I’ve just connected to Africa with no problems – you’ve got no idea what a relief that is, or would be if if hangs in there.

So on to an apology to all the users of Sailmail Africa from a little bird hanging on grimly right at the end of its twig with cracks appearing on the branch and the tree roots wobbling in the ground. We are short of battery power with no generator and short on signal strength because 80 odd days at sea does that to systems and we can’t transmit above 10 megs for,I suspect, similar reasons. Even our SatComC is shaky – I hope it’s only because this bit of ocean doesn’t get the satellite coverage we’ve been used to. Accordingly, I try to connect at the best propagation time and when I manage to establish a tiny fragile connection, it takes an eon to transmit and receive our messages. I sit here watching each byte shuffle across the screen and I grit my teeth and try not to stress and the knuckles go grey and Titan Uranus is the order of the day. So it takes an age and I know how frustrating that must be for other users waiting patiently to get their go – I apologise because I’ve been there too and I know. But to the two people who gazumped my connection by coming in over the top last night and the night before, I’m a little less apologetic. Please listen before you transmit. Yesterday I’d been trying for ages and just got connected, very low on battery and wham bam someone blasts me away with a stronger signal. Weeping and gnashing of teeth occurred.

Observations from The Supine Position:

1. when I lie in my bunk on the port side, warm and toasty with my hotty, I have my feet towards the bow and my head aft, under the switch panel. Above my middle bits, there is a  window in the side of the coachroof and because the coachroof slopes inwards, I have an attenuated view up through the window. This evening, I could see the clew of the storm jib, all dayglo and quivering in the roaring wind with its working sheet vibrating and the lazy blowing out in a loop. The sun was low on the other side of the boat and it shone briefly – blazing through a tiny gap in the rather angry overcast – and lit up the storm jib as if it was a neon sign at Kings Cross. There was a lot of water crashing across the boat – anything from a bucket to a small swimming pool – and this was cascading down over my window and catching the reflected sunlight off the storm jib, so for a few moments I had first, orange cordial, then blood then pink cherryade cascading down the window. Good fun, disconcerting at first though.

2. From the same position, looking upwards to the middle of the coachroof, I can see up through the hatch amidships. Pete was cooking and he lifted the lid off a steaming pan of Hearty Broth and the vapour flowed rapidly forwards through the boat just under the roof so I had the light shining down through it. Close to the fibreglass, it was turbulent, as you’d expect, but lower down  it seemed inert and I could see the boat gyrating around it – a completely weird feeling because it immediately reversed my frame of reference. Think about it!

The remainder of the journey to SE Cape is roughly two Australias. We are at 55E and Oz starts at about 100E and goes to 154+. Or 6 and a bit Hobart races. It’s getting to be imaginable. But still only 36 k with all the work to be done. Perhaps the 45 th over of the second innings in a one day match and the equation is running to its climax.

From Barry Duncan

If the weather allows you to see them, November has two major meteor showers, the Taurids and the Leonids.
The Taurids peaked November 5th, can been seen about midnight early November and have a peak rate of 12 meteors per hour, or about one every five minutes. Includes bright fireballs.
The Leonids are visible about Nov 17-20. View early morning as there is earlier interference by full moon

Barry – thanks for meteors – sadly, we’re unlikely to see them – no night sky for days and days, it seems.

Mark in Perth, seems we’re going to miss you guys – sorry, and thanks heaps for your offer of help and all the info. There will be a coming home Bash next year some time – come over with K.

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