FROM 1-6. Below 50S

Feb 26, 2005 – 0715hrs UTC

0715hrs 26 Feb 2005 UTC 52’39”S 110’18”W Map Ref 82

Today has been one of those perfect days in the sun, except that there has been almost no wind. Seems we’ve found the only hole in the southern ocean. We’re trying to work our way south back into the westerly flow. We are at the confluence of a couple of lows and a high here, according to the grib, and there ain’t no wind for a couple of days. Hard to believe. Parked amid house sized swells in the middle of the ocean with not a breath of wind. Bang, once again goes any sensible ETA for the Horn. And the troops get the stir crazies. Done all the odd jobs and you can only sponge out the bilge so many times. May have to have another go at bread tomorrow.

It’s been the end of the line for Pete’s first 30 bottle brew of Dr Coopers (after something like 50 days we’ve been truly abstemious) – we had the last one in the sun in the cockpit this morning and tomorrow we will celebrate the new vintage that’s been cooking away in the second icebox since Hobart apart from a minor airborne journey to the forepeak and back south of NZ. And this evening we finished the last of the G & T. And yesterday we finished the rather mouldy plonk too. Seems there’s some incentive to get moving – just wish we could. Cricket on the radio – we can sometimes get Radio Oz. Very hard to get involved – is there a new Labour leader?

9 hours later 26/0651Z – we’ve found a smidgin of breeze – main is filling, headsail up again, pointing at the Horn and we’ve knocked off another mile – 1502 to go. VMG 5kts. Hoooooley doooley! If I’ve got the grib file right, we should be able to hold this for a while but still very light and confused (me and the breeze..) – fingers crossed. Lovely cool cloudless night with the moon’s reflection yellow on the backs of the swells but hazy up high so only first magnitude stars visible – a bit like a city sky without the grot.

Tactics from here – if we can follow the plan – point towards the Horn until we get to about 55 S wherever that happens then run the latitude east past 80 W and then duck down to 55.47 S and around. But that is not likely to be achievable – it’s just The Plan, so you know what’s on.

Thanks for your notes, H & K. I’ll write soon.

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