FROM 1-22. Still heading south south east

Sep 28, 2005 - 0530hrs UTC

0530hrs 28 Sep 2005 UTC 17’20”S 026’48”W Ref 390

The night started dark and overcast – gloomy and drizzly and very empty. We haven’t seen any sign of other humans since Pete saw a distant ship near the CapeVerdes nearly 2000 miles behind us – and I stood out in the cockpit a few hours ago and had a little crisis of confidence. We really are a long way from anywhere with an even longer way to go. Keeping it all together for another 72 days and half way around the world is a bit daunting. That’s a few hours longer than it took Dame Ellen to break the record. Circumnavigating at walking pace is not for the squeamish. Or the sensible.

And then the sky cleared, with the astonishing speed that the weather does change here and there are stars and distant Universal time out there and it doesn’t seem so long after all. But there’s very little to report. I think we will reach Trindade in the next couple of days, passing about 100 miles to the east. We will start to feel the high and its attendant uncertainties from about there and it will govern just how far south we will have to go before we can really turn to the east. For the meteorologically challenged, high pressure systems in the southern hemisphere rotate anticlockwise and the wind moves out from the centre, so to get around the South Atlantic high we must go with the wind down its western side and then turn east as the wind flows around its southern side. The trick will be to avoid the calm patch in the Horse latitudes along the southern edge of the high. As I look at the grib files, it seems to me that around 32 S will be decision time.

In the last couple of days we have pulled the insides of the boat apart, delved for buried gin and cider, found clean clothes and soon to be required thermals, repacked emptying ready use food boxes, inspected the remaining supply of The Doctor and found it to be in excellent condition and repacked it along with the remaining Smoothies. Spraying the cans with WD40 seems to work, but keeping them dry is probably the real secret. We have raised the storm gear from the bottom of the heap in the forepeak and generally transmogrified things. We have calculated that we will run out of tonic before we run out of gin, probably with at least a month to go, so we are preserving a litre of lemon squash, just in case, and moving into an alternate day regime – G&T on odd days and cider on even days – to eke out the supply. There just wasn’t room to cram in anything else. We have some bacon and eggs left and we will set about despatching these fairly quickly to make sure that we don’t have to chuck them. Berri seems to be in good nick and, as far as we can see, everything is working. I am never sure from day to day whether I will be able to keep resurrecting the USB link, but so far so good.

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