FROM 1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 02, 2005 - 0250hrs UTC

Sitrep: 0250hrs 02 Mar 2005 UTC 54’43”S 099’44”W Map Ref 91

Cold, early morning – just come in from cockpit. Doing this with ski gloves – fuzzxy. SAnd too hard so back to cold fingers. Today has/is been/being a day of celebration in local, Australian, GMT and Malta timezones. My mum’s birthday in 4 timezones and yesterday St Davids day (also in 4 if we need an excuse) and we will soon cross 100 W and soonish get under 1000 to go. Sunshine, wind in breaths, hand steering with the hand not holding the mug, and still a long way to go. First mail call in and, Steve says, another to go. Life’s a bowl of cherries.

Now the other end of the day, spent mostly hand steering at less than 3 kts. Lots of toasts in various timezones and we crossed 100w. Not much achieved in distance though, only about 80 miles for the 24 hours. One of the consequences of our early dive south is that now we are down here, we are below a series of very small lows that seem to be forming like eddies just along our track and moving north east, so giving us NE/SE winds and bugger all at that. Some chance of a steady westerly flow at 35+ some time tomorrow if we are lucky. We will start with a reasonably flat sea surface over the swells, which are still quite big and it will build as the wind starts to pile up the waves. Anyway, some wind – any wind – would be really nice. We have closed the boat down – no point in headbanging all night for possibly only a couple of miles in the bag and we’re going to sleep. Rolling a bit, in a series of phases but not constant and not violent. I will turn on the satphone at 0930 gmt for birthday greetings.

Pete is on deck identifying some stars. Has Canopus (too high for sight) Rigil Kent and Sirius so far. Yesterday, as the sun set behind us, the moon rose directly ahead – huge and yellow and seemingly distorted to almost egg shape until enough of it was up to see that it is about a half moon. Should see it again soon.

Both of us have swelling hands, particularly around the nails. Pete has a small split in the cuticle of one thumb which we are treating with Betadine and fresh air and trying to keep dry and uninfected. I’ve seen these before and they have to be taken seriously. I’m being a bit religious about lanolin and latex gloves and my hands, while rough, dry and sore, seem to be under control so far. Otherwise, apparently in good health apart from headbanging all day. We almost certainly smell, but it’s not noticeable most of the time – mainly as the foot slides into boot amongst the ferals and a gust of the warm foetids wreathes past the nostrils. Same with the pits when putting on the party gear and, of course, sliding into the sleeping bag. I think that’s probably enough of that, kiddies.

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