FROM 1-28. How Low To Go? Towards 45°S

Nov 12, 2005 - 0840hrs UTC

0840hrs 12 Nov 2005 UTC 42’46”S 055’20”E Ref 544

I’m writing this in the hope that the Satcom is back in business. (it isn’t – so transferring back to sailmail – I hope it’s just poor satellite coverage – don’t know) It’s one long juggle with ephemeral electronic links at the moment – 3 months at sea in these conditions make a right mess of anything sand everything that is in any way exposed to salt or condensation. I have just bypassed a through-deck fitting from the aerial tuning box for the HF to the backstay aerial – not because it is corroded but because I couldn’t get it back together when I took it apart to clean it. People who design these things – ‘weatherproof’ electrical sockets in particular, should be out here with us testing them.  A simple connector, with big coarse threading, easily undone wire connectors inside and the whole thing with minimum parts, not needing special tools would be wonderful. The ones we are using are a nightmare to maintain and they were the best that we could buy. Anything and everything on a boat should be maintainable by the crew under extreme conditions or directly replaceable with a spare. No exceptions. Sounds sensible when you think about it but there is so much stuff that isn’t.

We’ve just cracked 3800 to go to SE Cape. The numbers are starting to look better but we will need lots of this to make that start line. We’ve got about 40 kts from the WNW so top right corner of a low and Steve says there’s a soft high behind it so we are heading down to 45 S where we will test the water – as it were. There is a better chance of cracking a permanent westerly flow down there, although it could be quite violent. We have just the dayglo orange storm jib pulling us along – patches of brilliant sunshine, sparkling crests, iridescent amethyst and jade in the wavetops, lovely glistening wave backs with wind lines of spume and the occasional blue smoky swimming pool behind a bigger breaking crest as it rolls away from us. Ravenous petrels all around – they have come along way with us for very little gain. We are now down to subsistence Consultations only – we have some special Wendies for half way and SEC and a few ordinaries plus some screech and plonk and about a litre and a half of gin with plenty of tonic. A small stash of emergency rum is held in reserve. Roll on Taswegia!

Caro, great if you can call us after you’ve done your stuff at the RORC presentation – which same, savour for us! – could you pse ask Janet what time she thinks it will happen so that we can turn on the satphone and wait for your call. If the phone goes into answering service, keep trying till you get us. Be warned, it’s very expensive, but I’ll refund when we get back.

Now 12/0900

DB DMG 131, GPS 147, DTG 3794, day 84, 45 to go.

Yesterday’s little tragedy. It’s so cold and damp out here in the bus shelter that even the local dogs don’t venture out to sniff around and offer us a warm stream. We are making ourselves hot (warm, really) water bottles to shove down the sleeping bags to make the cold damp foot end just a little bit more inviting – at the moment, mine is even too inhospitable for the ferals and they tend to stay in the waterproof sox in the boots. Of course, if the bottle is shoved into a pair of sox, it warms them too… We had a dismal wet, very cold sail change yesterday evening and we got back inside pretty glum, except that Pete knew he had a warm spot for his feet as soon as he could get them there and he had little excited gloats as he shed the party gear, processed the pee bucket and went for it. He wriggled and wiggled the bum down into the bag, pushing feet ahead, so to speak, only to find that the plastic bottle had burst and there was a cold wet puddle and wet sox instead of the tiny cocoon of warmth he was expecting. Poor lad – his disappointment was desperately moving – so much so that if I’d known under which pile of rotting polystyrene, dead leaves, dog poo and discarded McDonalds wrappers the emergency rum lives in this outrageous tip they expect people to wait for buses in, I’d have slipped him one. Memo – find out, silly bugger.

Just surfed off a wave at 13 kts. Was going to put more sail up – might wait a while.

Comments are closed.