FROM 1-22. Still heading south south east

Sep 30, 2005 - 2330hrs UTC │It’s Woolly Black

2330hrs 30 Sep 2005 UTC 21’10”S 026’05”W Ref 400

It’s woolly black. It’s raining. There’s nowhere to sit inside the boat on the port tack so out in the cockpit, crouched under the dodger. Berri and I move through the night together – there’s no outside world,  just the glow from the instrument lights reflected back from the cockpit sides and the shiny bits of Kevvo and the pushpit and the backstay and the eerie shadow of our Oz ensign flapping on the tiny afterdeck in the light from the sternlight at the masthead. Rhythmic thumping as the  waterlogged RANSA burgee flaps against a shroud in the 25 knot breeze. The occasional crash as we hit a wave and the spray flashes back over the dodger and I cringe back even further underneath its friendly but very limited shelter. The shudder as the forestay shakes after the impact of the wave. If I pull my hood tight around my face and risk peering over the top for long enough for my eyes to fill with rain and accustom themselves to real darkness, I know that I will be able to – just – make out the dimmest, faintest silhouette of the #3 against the background of the cloud which seems to wrap the horizon very close all around us. The surge of water around the hull and the brilliant gleam of the masthead light reflected by the glowing white of the spray and froth as it bustles past us and occasionally a few sparkles of phosphorescence. Lovely. Uncomfortable, dank, miserable but lovely. Wouldn’t be anywhere else. I wish I could film it so that I could replay it some time in the noisy city and remember how I feel and how at the same time, perversely, I long for dry clothes and a comfortable bed and more that a couple of hours sleep. About 68 days to go.

We must still cross 45 degrees of longitude to passCape Town. FromCape TowntoTasmaniais another 130 degrees, so 175 in all, just under half way around. FromSydneyto Cape Horn was about 140 degrees, plus another 70 toGreenwich. 175 against 210 – definitely on the way home. The log says we’ve sailed 21,800 miles since leavingSydney. Probably a slight over-read, but we have also lost some miles when it failed just after leavingHobart, so near enough. And about 8500 to go to Hobart and another 600 back toSydney, so it’s looking like about 31,000 if we finish the job properly. That will be a reasonable year’s work for a battered old boat. The wind has just pounded in at 35+ knots – must go and sort.

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