FROM 1-24. Closing on the Barn Door

Oct 17, 2005 – 0400hrs UTC

0400hrs 17 Oct 2005 UTC 40’03”S 003’57”E Ref 447

The roaring forties are doing their thing. Barometer has dropped 12 mb in 18 hours, mostly in last 12. We’ve got a gusty 35 – 40 kt NW with very nasty quartering sea that occasionally – quite often – catches Berri unawares and throws her 60 degrees around and everything slats for a bit till Kevvo gets his wind back and sorts it out. Disconcerting though. Storm Jib and tri and going too fast most of the time. Will go up and ease the tri to see whether it helps. Into party gear. …

Now done – still in full PG – tri eased so that forward half flat against shrouds and only small aft corner curling back and pulling. Seems to have helped tho wind has dropped too – short lull between squalls. Wish I could have filmed the scene – spreader lights on, orange storm jib quivering under the load, tri taut and rigid, big steam trains of waves roaring in from std qtr with tops breaking and luminous from spreader lights – sometimes crashing against the side and exploding into flying diamonds of solid spray three metres high across the whole front half of the boat – sometimes just sliding underneath pussy cat like – Berri slewing and pitching violently with each one, storm jib occasionally stalling and shaking.

Wonderful sight and experience, but always that grab of fear as the violence unleashes. So have made a cup of tea with 2 T bags – strong enough so, as the Scots say, ye could trot a mouse on it. Lots more to tell you about – the wriggle,shimmy and slide can perhaps wait – have contacted Justice, who runs the Maputo sailmail station and we are conducting tests for his aerials and reception. A good thing – gives me something to do and will leave something behind for those that follow. The sail mail people have been wonderfully helpful the whole way around – more on this later too, but thanks guys.

We are also trying to establish contact with Juri, the single hander from Slovenia, 800 miles astern heading for Cape Town. So far no go.

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