FROM 1-31. Sooo close to Hobart

From Peter: The Cold and Damp

Hi Pete here, I haven’t written for a long time because of our communication problems but today the sun is out we have blue skies and last night I saw the stars after such a long time of complete blackness. All this light has lifted our spirits and the warm sun is a feature we haven’t enjoyed for weeks. I wrote an email about the cold and damp some time ago and I think now is the time to get it to you.

I’ve just been on deck to reposition the solar panel but where is the sun? I always seem to be looking through a  grey-white translucent mist which covers the sky from horizon to horizon. The sky has been like this for many weeks now, sun appears occasionally sometimes there is blue sky but not for long as the next low moves in to the south of us and again paints the picture white. If you were thinking of using solar in these latitudes I think you would only get about one third normal output. We are running along the convergence zone between the warm high to the north and the parade of cold lows to the south. Here you get rain, mist, fog and lots of condensation inside the boat but you also get westerly wind. We don’t have an outside thermometer but the water temp sometimes hovers between 5 and 6 degs. at the moment its fairly warm at 9 degs.

I have a problem with cold and damp, I cannot get to sleep with cold appendages i.e. ears, nose, fingers, and toes. A wool beanie pulled over the ears and the tip of the nose works well, the fingers can be warmed in the armpits or groin but the toes are a task, you are unable to warm them anywhere on your body unless perhaps you’re an tenth dan in yoga. The easy answer is a hot water bottle. We don’t have any of the conventional variety but a plastic home brew bottle filled with warm water did very well until the cap unscrewed and emptied into the bottom of my sleeping bag just after a a very cold late night sail change. Yes there was salt water in the bottle and yes the bag is still damp after drying it in the sun one day. I am now warming toes by friction (a rapid tight rubbing with the palms does the trick) then placement in a warm sock just before bed. Now, how to warm the sock, if the engine has been recently run use that. I was also having great success warming them on the pot lids while cooking dinner until one night a sock fell into the curry when I was about to stir it in the dark. I then thought I had a foolproof method, when I got out of bet the sleeping socks were stuffed up the front of my thermal top, there they would remain warmed by body heat till required. This system went really well until one night I was using the pee bucket when the boat rolled violently, my reaction was to bring my arms together to save the bucket this movement collapsed the tension on the front of my thermal top and the socks tumbled down into the bucket. I am still using the socks up the thermals method except now with a lot more care.

Some sage told me once if things can go wrong they will go wrong more often on a small boat, I think I agree but its still a hell of a lot of fun……Cheers for now Pete.

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