FROM 1-25. Blowing a (super) gale

Oct 19, 2005 - 0350hrs UTC

0350hrs 19 Oct 2005 UTC 40’44”S 008’02”E Ref 455


Here’s a warts and all sail change. If you’re enjoying your breakfast, perhaps you should leave it till later. It’s about 8 pm and I’ve just laid me head on the pile of old socks and fleece jackets that constitutes my pillow or so it seems  when I’m awake again because Berri is beefing about the wind strength and the #2 we have up. The rather nice bowl of Nathan’s Chefsway dried bow tie pasta (my favourite) I’d had about an hour previously was down there in it’s little bucket of acid doing whatever stomachs do and not comfortable.  So wriggle shimmy and glide and into – today anyway – lovely dry party gear and really stir the pasta. Pete says it’s cold and drizzling so put extra fleecy waistcoat underneath jacket and wear balaclava under hood. Michelin man and sweaty already. Up we go and it’s just as the man said – cold driving drizzle, nasty. Drop the 2, run the sheets, tie them onto the inner forestay, Pete goes to get pliers for recalcitrant hank while I sit feeling bilious on the pitching foredeck. Help with hank, lying across wet sail and holding spray can while Pete works hank with pliers. Take can and pliers back to cockpit down the obstacle course along the lee side and return to foredeck while Pete finishes rolling up the 2. Eventually fight the 2 into its bag and into the hatch, tie the sheets on to the 4 and P hanks on while I go back to the halyard. Pull it up, tummy by now boiling with anger, make it all fast and wind on the sheet. Serious hard work and abdominal muscles in full stride bracing the shoulders and arms. Really sweating under all the gear, even in cold and rain, and feeling dreadful. Go below to resume sleep – just manage to get gear off before expiring with the heat and now I’m sitting here feeling puky, sleep impossible and about to be back on watch. It’s quite often like this, I expect for Pete as well, but we can’t choose the time to change sail. Usually better to cool down on deck before coming down but too dank and dismold tonight. Should have anyway. Bleah! A cup of mouse strength tea, perhaps, to subdue the collywobbles.

Decided to forego the tea and I’m having it now. With 3 McVities dunkers. Noice. Everything changes so fast here – we go from 40kt astern to 0 to 25 from the NE to NW to W in a few hours and to make real progress, someone has to be dressed and ready to go on deck at any time and at least adjust the sails and keep Berri heading roughly East. My estimate of 42 days to Freo is likely to be wildly out based as it was on a daily run of 120 miles E. Not going to happen – I think we will be snaking along at about 5 knots average but all over the place. Todays run at 0900 will be interesting. More likely to be 50+ days. Gloom – but We Shall Overcome.

Just been up making a 60 degree course change. Cold. Fluffy cu overcast. very low, with gaps. Sunrise an hour or so away on the starboard bow, silvery blue grey sky silhouetting hard grey edge of cloud to starboard, moon setting on port quarter – orange yellow glow behind mottled wispy cloud. Just wish we could point at the sun! Black shapes of birds all around. wind still backing – may have to gybe and put the pole on the 4.

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