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Well, if you’re following the tracker, you’ll know that Mo and Randall left for San Francisco yesterday. And very quickly turned around and came back. What’s the problem? Well the AIS antenna (tested before he left) apparently is not doing what it’s supposed to do. Sailing 9000 something miles back to San Francisco with no radar to see what’s out there just seems like a bad idea. Team Figure 8 thinks that maybe the mast (probably actually) went for a swim during the various knockdowns and the atenna is just busted. So back to the store (thanks Darryl) it is. Quick repair and we hope to be back out again in a day or two. Keep your fingers crossed on the weather.

Quick reminder for anyone in the Bay Area this weekend. Best wife in the world, Joanna, will be at the West Coast Boat Show on Sunday. She’ll be speaking in the Venue Space from 10.30-11.30am More information and to get tickets click here. https://pacificboatshow.com/seminar-type/free/

 

Thanks! Team F8

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This post is dedicated to Burt Richardson, friend, restauranteur, avid sailor, and owner of Joe Greensleeves Restaurant in (landlocked) Redlands, California, upon whose wall Burt placed a full-scale half hull of his favorite boat, a Dragon (photo at bottom).

—-

April 14, 2018

Hobart, Tasmania

Any report of accomplishments during my Hobart layover must include a note of gratitude to the people I’ve met here, who rank among the friendliest, most helpful people I’ve yet encountered. And any such remarks must include effusive thanks to Daryl Ridgeway, my boat-work companion, consultant, second set of hands, and on-call chauffeur, all for the price of a beef pie and a pint.

Ridgeway is a member of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Mo’s current home, and was the first dock-walker Captain John Solomon button-holed upon my arrival with the introduction, “here’s that Yank in from Cape Horn who needs loads of help.” Ridgeway took Solomon at his word and daily has been poking his head in Mo’s companionway hatch.

“I think I’ll put in storm windows after all,” I say.

“OK. Come on then; I’ll run you down to the plastics shop,” says Ridgeway.

“Again? You have time?”

“I told you I could give you Thursday. I’ve nothing else on today.”

“Yes, but that was last Thursday, which you gave me, and Tuesday and Monday as well.”

“You can sport us pies for lunch if you like…” Pies are four dollars each and hardly a fair recompense for the time Ridgeway has invested in getting Mo seaworthy again.

As if his assistance wasn’t reward enough, Ridgeway invited me out for weekend races aboard his Dragon. Ridgeway is a lifelong resident of Hobart, a boat builder by passion and, fortunate for him, by trade, and a dedicated racer. He has specialized in the Dragon, a much-reduced replica of the America’s Cup 12-meter designed by Johan Anker in 1929 and introduced into the Olympics in 1948. Among Ridgeway’s distinctions is that he was the first builder to make a plug for the fiberglass version of this International One-Design. His son, Zane, continues the tradition at his shop, whose shingle reads, “Ridgeway Dragons.”

The race was a casual, five-boat affair, until the gun, and which point it became dead earnest. During the third heat, we were hanging tough in second place until the last mark, when new crewman, Reeves, missed his grab on the lee jib sheet during a tack and tumbled into the bilge, leaving the sail to beat in the wind a mere few seconds, which was all it took to achieve fourth place at the line. I will say in defense of Reeves that sailing a Dragon is akin to playing a 26-string mandolin when you’re used to a six-string guitar; there are at least that many mandolin strings crammed into the cockpit of a Dragon.

But what, besides aiding in the loss of races, have I accomplished?

Here’s the list:

-Monitor Windvane: rebuild pinion gear assembly. Specifically, replace aft pin bushing, which Mo has seen fit to wear to powder on each of her two ocean legs (reason unknown).

-Watt and Sea Hydrogenerator: refresh pinched and partially broken three-phase wire at the water line. Unit now produces full amps per spec rather than about half that. Here’s hoping my heat-shrink splice will last the trip home.

-Electronics: replace what was wiped out by the knockdown, including new Vesper AIS, Iridium GO, MAHA Powerex AA battery charger, and Sailor FB250 Below Deck Unit (found used on mainland Australia).

-Jordan Series Drogue: Tony Gooch had pre-ordered a new drogue to replace the one lost at sea, which was waiting for me in Hobart upon my arrival. What a wonder! The new make is about half the size and a third the weight, this due to the employ of light but super-strong Dyneema line.

-Broken Window: remove remainder of glass shattered in the big knockdown along with the frame, sand and paint the area, install new 6mm tempered glass.

-Starboard aluminum rail: straighten aft pushpit and weld in place the rail that I had cut away when the sea bent it over the winches. Thanks to Zane Ridgeway for accomplishing both at the dock and in less than ideal conditions. 

-Engine care: As reported earlier, during the several knockdowns, enough water got into the fuel tanks through the tank vents to fill the primary fuel filters and make its way, unbeknownst to me, all the way into the engine injectors. Luckily, a full bleed and an oil/filter change at sea got the engine running again. One in Hobart I did another filter and fluids change. I also replaced the hot-wired ignition switch and took the opportunity to renew the failed engine thermostat.

-Clean the bottom: I’d seen a few barnacles on Mo’s quarter, even while underway, and did a quick haul at the club’s slipway (cheaper than a diver). What a surprise! No soft growth at all, but I found an entire garden of goose-neck barnacles, some up to six inches long, growing out of sight. Epaint SN-1, reportedly the paint used by the US Coast Guard, has been applied on three occasions since 2016, the last coats going on just before we departed San Francisco in October 2017. Not a particularly glowing endorsement of this antifouling’s repellent properties.

Storm Windows: Daryl Ridgeway had already made plywood storm boards for me, but at the last moment I decided to install clear plastic storm windows over the top of the existing glass in the pilot house. The 12mm polycarbonate we used is bolted and glued in place and so functions as a protection of the glass and as double-pane insulation, which will come in handy in the far north.

All that remains get a haircut, do a little laundry, take a last shower (or two), grab some veg from the market … and shove off.

None too soon. I woke this morning to snow on Mount Wellington.

The interior of Joe Greensleeves Restaurant in Redlands, California, where I joined the kitchen crew fresh from school and first learned to work hard. Only commercial fisherman work harder than line cooks. The restaurant’s concept, interior design, and menu design were all Burt’s doing. I don’t know where he got the half hull.

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Hey virtual voyagers!

First, thanks to all the people who’ve reached out about Randall’s news to check in and see if I’m ok with the decision to basically extend the project by a whole extra year. I’m 100% in support of the plan. And for those of you who know me well, you know that I make the best of the situation when Randall is out at sea. Don’t tell Randall! 🙂

Second, a while back I asked the Figure 8 Facebook community if I should speak at the upcoming West Coast Boat show about what it’s like to be the one left behind. The presentation would be to those leaving about what I go through staying behind, and also to help to those contemplating letting their other half leave how not to lose one’s mind. The response was an overwhelming “do it!”

So if you’re in the Bay Area on April 22nd come see me speak at the West Coast Boat Show (click on the link for ticket information), I’m speaking at 10.30am. I’ll also be joining the awesome folks at Latitude 38 in their booth afterward. I promise to have plenty of wry wisdom and stories to make you laugh.

If my shenanigans aren’t enticing enough, there will be lots of very expensive fancy sailboats you can climb aboard and pretend you want to buy. Its fun!

Hope to see you on the 22nd!

Jo

 

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April 8, 2018

Hobart, Tasmania

I raced those last few weeks to Hobart so as to arrive in time to see my wife, whose inflexible schedule required that we meet-up at the end March or not at all. During her brief stay here, “what now?” was a major topic of our conversation.

Below is the result and then the rationale for our decision.

The New Plan

Mo and I will depart for San Francisco non-stop in mid-April and should sail under the Golden Gate Bridge as early as middle June.

I then plan to begin the Figure 8 route all over again in September of this year.

When I arrive home, I will have completed a solo circumnavigation of some 25,000 miles via the Southern Ocean and in two stops—not so remarkable except that it may be the longest shakedown cruise in history.

 

 

 

The Consideration Set

There were several ways to attack the Figure 8 continuation problem. Here are the options we considered.

Option 1

Continue on with the original route now; depart Hobart for Cape Horn and the Arctic via the Atlantic as soon as possible.

Why not? I left San Francisco later than I’d planned, over a month later, and now that I’ve stopped twice for repairs, once in Ushuaia, Argentina and once in Hobart, Tasmania, Mo and I are significantly behind our original schedule. If I departed Hobart by mid-month, I’d arrive at Cape Horn toward the end of May or early June, the equivalent of northern November/December at the latitude of Sitka, Alaska—but with heaps more wind. The Pilot Charts show as much as a five-fold increase in gale activity in certain southern quadrants in May over, say, February, and even if I got lucky with a clean rounding of Cape Horn, I’d still need a picture-perfect passage up the Atlantic in order to arrive at the Arctic’s eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage in time—i.e. early August. Continuing on now would leave no room for error, and we see how that’s gone so far.

Given that, I judge continuing on with the Figure 8 this season as too risky.

Option 2

Wait here until southern summer returns, explore Tasmania and New Zealand as weather allows, have some fun … and then continuing on with the original route around the Horn and to the Arctic via the Atlantic in November/December of this year.

Why not? It’s personal and difficult to convey but, simply put, such an approach is not how I envisioned the Figure 8. This adventure is meant to be an Everest-type attempt, not a site-seeing tour.

Option 3

Sail home and start over.

To me, this is the only logical choice. I have made a number of mistakes in this first attempt–a late departure; poor storm management; omission of key safeguards (e.g. storm windows), all of which make for great story but poor accomplishment. Another attempt allows me a chance to correct these.

The Figure 8 is a true BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). Such opportunities are rare, and since I have the right boat, am willing and able, and have a wife who (miraculously, mysteriously) is supportive, I owe it to the project to give this another go.

Other options I did not take too seriously were, for example, heading up the Pacific and through the Panama Canal for the Arctic (though attractive, see reasons for declining Option 2) or heading through Panama for a port in the northeast, e.g. Boston, from which to start over again next summer. This last idea was offered by Matt Rutherford and has the benefit of getting the Northwest Passage, the most time-sensitive part of the Figure 8, completed first. Disadvantages included having to wait another year before starting and finishing-up in Boston rather than my home on the west coast. Again, this goes back to the initial vision: beginning and ending the route at my home port.

What’s challenging about starting all over again?

1. Home is a long ways off; roughly 8,000 miles and another two months of non-stop sailing. The route back to San Francisco means a southern ocean leap south of New Zealand, down again to 49S between the mainland and Snares Islands, before looping up through the mass of tropical islands below the equator and by the Hawaiian Islands above it–tricky, difficult, lovely cruising and many miles.

2. As of this moment, I have sailed 17,000 miles of the Figure 8, or just over half the total route, and thus know intimately how difficult repeating those 17,000 miles will be.

3. Starting over means being gone from home, wife, and family an additional year. This is a big ask for everybody, especially my wife, who has to manage all our personal affairs while I’m gone.

Which is to say, the final choice, though “logical,” is not to be taken lightly.

The Figure 8 route is attended by significant risk and requires a kind of “eyes on the prize” commitment that I find challenging to maintain over the months and (now) years of preparation, not to mention during the cruise itself. That said, its successful completion offers a kind of accomplishment opportunity I’ve never had before, an opportunity that is still thrilling.

 

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April 5, 2018

Hobart, Tasmania

In the following video, it’s March 17th. As the sun sets, Mo and I have fewer than 80 miles to Tasmania. It’s been a month since the knockdown that is requiring this stopover, and now we’re racing another large low-pressure system. I can see it coming. Will we beat it to South East Cape? …

(P.S. Go to the next day’s post, South East Cape, to see how the approach turned out.)

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April 2, 2018

Hobart, Tasmania

It’s March 13. We’re a week from Hobart–if I can keep Mo moving. But at latitude 44S, we’re encountering light winds. I decide to motor, but five minutes after I start the engine, it dies.

Great, what now? …

(Spoiler: my sincerest thanks to Gerd Marggraff for helping me get the engine going again. I read all the pertinent parts of my Calder book, but Gerd’s experience and expertize turned out to be the more valuable.)

 

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March 31, 2018

Hobart, Tasmania

One can fret over (and clean up after) a knockdown for only so long before life insists on returning to normal, even in the Southern Ocean. It’s March 8 in the following video. I’ve got 1,513 miles between me and Hobart, and I’m hungry for fresh-baked bread. The weather is stable and warm here at 44S…so have at…

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March 29, 2018

I shot the following video on March 4th, two weeks after the knockdowns previously discussed. It’s day 110 of the Figure 8 Voyage, day 50 of this leg, and by now I’ve decided to put into Hobart, Tasmania, for repairs. The race is on. If I can make the remaining 2058 miles by March 19th, I get to see my wife.

Then I find this strange red lid wedged behind the stove…

 

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March 27, 2018

The previous post told the story of the knockdown that has put us into Hobart. As companion to that post, below are three short video tours. One takes you through the damage in the pilot house, the next offers a look at the rail, and the third complains of salt water’s effect on paper. All of these were shot during the fine weather we had directly after the gale.

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March 25, 2018

What follows is the video story of the Indian Ocean knockdowns that bent Moli’s starboard rail and shattered her pilothouse window. The gale that precipitated the knockdowns occurred between the Crozets and Kerguelen Islands at latitude 46 south on February 18, 2018. A written report sent-in the day after via the Garmin InReach can be found here.

The video was recorded three days after the incident, by which time Mo and I had mostly recovered. The weather had turned fair; we were back underway and making fast easting. That said, nearly all the electronics remained offline, and I was still picking glass from corners of the pilot house. I also had no idea where we were headed.

There’s a comical note to any emergency…

Water came pouring in, but I didn’t realize the window was broken until the boat righted and I could hear the ocean through the void. Note water on the ceiling.

Water cascaded down the steps into the salon and then flowed into the bilge.

I used two hatch boards from the forepeak to plug the hole. The boards weren’t quite the right size, so I plugged the gaps with silicon.

One of the knockdowns bent the starboard rail in over the winches due to the impact of the solar panel with the water.

The rail had to be cut away to allow for the swing of the winch handles.

The only physical casualty was my left wrist, which I caught briefly in the drogue line as it was deploying. All parts moved, so I figured it was merely a sprain.

Hobart

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March 22, 2018

Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania

Tony had recommended staying at anchor a second day before completing the 40 mile leap to Hobart, but he hadn’t said why.

First light next morning revealed an open sky and Mo floating motionless on a surface made of glass. From our berth at Lady Bay, it appeared the low we’d been racing this last two weeks had blown through, the only contrary voice being the barometer, still stuck at 994.

I weighed and was underway before 7am.

Mo made quick work of D’Entrecasteaux Channel, passing the large Marine Farms, scooting by Zidpool Rock and into the Central Channel. Here the wind began to fill in from the northwest, so I moved Mo over to the more protected water of the west headland and hugged Long Bay.

By the time we reached Oyster Cove Point, winds were west at 35 knots. While crossing North West Bay, winds screamed to 45 knots, gusting 50. The bay’s several miles of fetch allowed a small chop, whose tops were blown off, and the water was streaked with white as far as I could see. Mo layed right over, rail awash, though we were flying no sail. The boats on moorings in Tinderbox Bay pitched and heaved uncomfortably.

There was cloud above the mountains, but here the day remained clear and sunny. What on earth is going on?

Turning the corner into the River Derwent, winds along the cliff went sharply north. Suddenly, Mo was headed and could only eke out 3 knots. I eased her out into the main bay. Here we were hit by the westerlies. I eased back. No good options.

At this rate, our arrival at the Customs Facility within Constitution Dock would be well after they closed for the day; actually, well after dark. I began to look for an emergency anchorage. The cliffs below Tinderbox Hills were solid rock right down to the water. Nothing there.

We crawled on…

Kingston Beach might have good holding. Taroona Beach, too.

We crawled on…

Near Cartwright Point I heard Mo being hailed on the radio. “Moli, Moli, Solomeo.” This was John Solomon, the Port Captain for the Ocean Cruising Club and my guide while I was in the area.

“Randall, all of us in Hobart wish to welcome you and thank you for the big winds you have brought with you. As if yesterday’s low wasn’t bad enough, this current low has just knocked down two trees on my property. Typically, March and April are such lovely months…”

At Constitution Dock I was met by four officers rather than the required two. One, the master of a 60 meter boat that patrolled Australia’s brutal, western coast, started immediately with questions. “What were the seas like in the Indian? How did you take them? What was the damage? How did you handle the emergency? How did you decide what to do first? If you haven’t been there, you just can’t appreciate the power of the Southern Ocean.” We talked for an hour.

At four o’clock Captain Soloman arrived to escort Mo to her temporary berth at the yacht club. “Well now, that’s very satisfying,” he said as he came on deck. “That’s the second time I’ve climbed over that damned rail of yours. Did you know this yacht used to be called Taonui, and her owner, a Tony Gooch, sailed in here once after a breakdown? I helped him move the boat to the club just as we’re doing now. You’re a Yank, aren’t you? Well, that’s OK, I guess.”

At the club Soloman immediately introduced me to anyone who would hold still. “This is that Yank whose just sailed in from Cape Horn. He started from San Francisco, a city in Southern Canada. He’ll need your help with…” A broken window, a broken rail, engine repairs…

And just like that, people materialized who knew what to do. And just like that, projects have commenced.

Welcome to Hobart.

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March 21, 2018

Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Hobart

All day we ride due east on brisk northwesterlies, which Mo takes beam-on with double reefs. Hour after hour she froths the sea, giving off a sense of intention, as if she too understands the urgency. Tony has made it clear we are racing a large and strong low pressure system–“Westerlies to 45 knots and up; at your current rate, you are five hours ahead;” and later “given your progress, you should be under Tasmania’s South East Cape two hours before the weather turns.”

And what Tony did not say, the barometer did. For days it has been dropping a point at every log entry, reminding of the sailor’s proverb, “short notice, soon past; long foretold, long last.”

I want no part of it and feel pleased we are outrunning this final Indian Ocean gale. Only 70 miles to Mewstone Rocks, a nothing compared with where we’d started. In the evening I take photos of the sunset, have a beer and a slow dinner of beef hash and potatoes. I think about Hobart; the pleasure of meeting my wife at the airport.

9pm. The wind eases dramatically and turns northeast. Suddenly we are making but five knots with full sail and are close hauled in a sloppy sea. I start the engine to give us an extra knot. Situation stable, I decide to take a quick nap. The landfall will be rugged and met in the dark. This is my only chance for sleep.

I wake with Mo laying right over. In the pilot house, the gauge reads NNW 35 knots with long pulls of 40. I kill the engine and douse the main in a hurry, then triple reef the working jib. We charge on, close reaching, slanting up for the Cape. Slowly we pass pulsing Needle Rocks light and then are under Mewstone Rocks, unseen.

At 2am the South East Cape light begins to bob. We are well over the continental shelf now. Seas are racing short and steep. Mo shovels water high into the air; immediately it is swept beyond the range of her running lights. I am standing in the cockpit, knees braced and holding the rail with both hands; head under the dodger for some protection from the bullet-spray. This is the most secure place on deck. Still, and for the first time, I am compelled to clip in here. The gauge shows winds to 45 knots.

4am. Dawn. Wind howls in the rigging. A diabolical sky, as dark and heavy as the sea, so low it feels barely above the mast-head. The Cape, a black, evil-looking smudge too far too windward, our goal, D’Entrecasteaux Channel, a tight squeeze on this tack.

I remember my fear at the Cook Bay entrance in Tierra del Fuego. There the landfall was lee, right below the westerlies, and the challenge being that, once committed, there was no turning back. Here, the opposite. Here the headland is decidedly up wind. A mistake means being swept out to sea.

5am. We need to hurry. To the north and west I can see the front carrying the long foretold westerlies, a single roll of low cloud extending from the Cape to the horizon, a giant, inverted wave; behind this, a solid wall of gray extends from sea to sky. But we are behind the weight of Tasmania now. Seas are still a mass of confusion, but smaller by half. We’re still on time.

Mo begins to open D’Entrecasteaux Channel. I can just make out the western headlands, and its eastern border, South Bruny Island and Tasman Head.

Suddenly the wind shifts into the NE, straight down D’Entrecasteaux, without losing any of its strength. And with it the sea changes direction, pushing in a rush through the channel and stacking up as it exits. Now our goal, a mere 6 miles north, is a dead beat in gale-force winds. Mo is still flying a deeply reefed working jib, and our new course, I see, puts us far below D’Entrecasteaux; even Tasman Head and Storm Bay are now up wind. I need more drive, a seeming impossibility in these conditions.

I douse the working jib and raise the hanked-on staysail. With the boat awash, it’s slow work. I’m on all fours or seated with legs wrapped around rigging. Finally the sail flies, but the result is no better. Mo can’t develop enough speed; each sea sets her bow back, heaving the boat bodily southward. We need more drive if we have any hope of raising the land.

I throw triple reefs into the mainsail and haul away, but before I can pull the halyard taught, it fouls in the mast steps. I free it and try again. It fouls again. With the main partly up, I have to climb the mast fifteen feet to grab the line. Boat movement is extreme; keeping hold of the halyard and mast, difficult. I lower the sail and try again. And again. Each time, same result. We are losing ground fast. The great wall of cloud is approaching. I’m running out of ideas.

Gerry Clark in The Totorore Voyage recounts being blown off a southern ocean island in just such a gale and having to motor the  60 miles back. It took him three days. This, I decide, is my last option. I start the engine, but instead of pounding directly into the sea coming down D’Entrecasteaux, I turn Mo northwest, taking it slantwise. This heading is just south and west of the Cape. If I can tuck in under the landmass, I reason, the land will block sea and wind, and I can make for the channel by coasting along the cliffs.

To my surprise, Mo can do this. It’s a crawl, but within two hours we are under the headland. There the wind is still strong, but without any fetch, the sea is flattening. We are nearly kissing the black rocks of the Cape when I turn Mo north toward safety. The front is now here, the great rolling wave in the sky right overhead. The northeast wind dies right away. A heavy rain. Astern I see a whiteness rushing toward us at water-top and in a moment we are slammed. The westerlies have arrived. But they are too late. We are sliding behind the protection of South East Cape. We’ve made it.

Inside the weather is sunny and bright. The gale is entirely stopped by the western mountains, the great wall of cloud and its falling mist creating a rainbow high above green forests and smooth sand beaches. We motor slowly north to a divot in the channel called Lady Bay. Anchor down in 25 feet at 2:30pm. I spend an hour cleaning; have an early dinner and am asleep by sundown.

Mo departed Ushuaia, Argentina on January 12th; arrived South East Cape, Tasmania on March 18th; 63 days; 8,500 miles; four lows of Force 8 and 9; three knockdowns; rail bent; window smashed; water-logged electronics. Still safe. One tough boat is Mo!

 

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Day: 122

Noon Position: 43 44S. 140 25E

Course/Speed: E6

Wind: NE15

Bar: 1014 (dropping steadily from 1020)

Sky: Overcast Sea: SW10 (long, slow rollers); NE3

Cabin Temp: 64

Water Temp: 56

Miles last 24 hours: 167

Longitude Made Good: 136

Total Miles: 16,956

Miles to Hobart: 353

Wind light but due east overnight. Slow going. The engine purred as we pounded, but our progress toward the goal of 150 miles a day suffered. 136 was the best I could do.

Today winds have gone into NE at 15 to 20 and have flirted with the NNE. Now we are on the move again with the engine pegged at 2600rpms and a double reefed working jib and main.

We make 7 knots. But do we ever pound unmercifully and are sailing on our ear to boot. The very definition of uncomfortable. I hate to motor, but the race is really on. I have 48 hours from this morning to be in sheltered waters, at which point winds go to W40 and more. All for tonight. Too much going on on the boat and I don’t feel I can pull my attention away.

 

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Hi Virtual Voyagers! As you can see from the fact that we have an image to share, Moli and Randall have made it to an anchorage and within cell phone range. It was a rough and challenging sail into safe harbor (the photo was from last night’s shenanigans). This means getting rested, clean and checked into Hobart/Australia will take priority over writing posts. Plus Jo will be there in a day or so to add to the distraction. We have a couple more posts from the last days to share but if we go quiet a bit we hope you understand. Thanks Team F8

 

Day 121

Noon Position: 43 40S. 137 17E

Course/Speed: E6

Wind: S13

Bar: 1018

Sky: Overcast Sea: SW8

Cabin temp: 60

Water Temp: 56

Miles last 24 hours: 168

Longitude Made Good: 149

Total Miles: 16,779

Miles to Hobart: 489

We’re pushing to make Hobart ahead of the low pressure system that smacked around my friends on Drina. To do that we need to average 150 miles a day. Over the last five days our average is exactly that, but today the scene has changed. Today winds that were west and northwest and then south have dropped away and gone, as I type, east. We’re motoring hard to maintain 5 knots.

The jib is down; the main has two reefs and is just acting as a steadying sail.Apparent wind is 12 on the nose and we pound into a small chop. I must be grateful. After the punishment, the engine took, that it  runs at all is a minor miracle. That it has been purring beautifully these last six hours, sounding like its old self, is nothing short of fantastic.

The forecast calls for wind to veer northeast by tomorrow and stay 15 knots or below. Then it will veer further north northeast and built to 25. Neither of those is great for a boat trying to make fast easting, but our opinion was not solicited, so we’ll try to make use of what we get.

By four days from now, winds go back into the northwest and west, and  then the front is upon us with winds to 35 and 40 The importance of that 150-mile-a-day target is that, if maintained, we are around the southern tip of Tasmania, South East Cape, and in sheltered water when the front arrives. And if not. Well then…

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Day 120. (Day 60 since Ushuaia; now longest leg. SF to Ushuaia, 59 days)

Noon Position: 43 46S. 133 51E

Course/Speed: E7

Wind: WSW15-20

Bar: 1017

Sky: Overcast, drizzle from passing low squalls Sea: SW8 (big background swell)

Cabin Temp: 60

Sea Temp: 57

Miles last 24 hours: 162

Longitude Made Good: 138 (odd such a wide variance, especially compared to yesterday’s very narrow variance. Winds were lighter overnight, causing more wandering.)

Miles to Hobart: 637

Total Miles: 16,611

The author is Matt Jensen Young, one of the crew, a professional seaman, and all-around nice guy. We became friends when he crewed aboard DRINA on the Northwest Passage back in 2014, and it’s just one of those happy sailor’s coincidences that, in 2018, he and DRINA are plying some of the same ocean as MO…at the opposite end of the planet!

Of course, I may take his report more personally than the average Joe, having just experienced a similar happening. That said, the things from the report that

jumped out to me are:

1) Location: The knockdown that shattered MO’s portside window occurred between the Crozet’s and Kerguelen at 46 42S and 56 28E. DRINA’s knockdown occurred between the same islands at 47 20S and 60 54E, positions roughly 240 miles apart.

2) Sea: Matt notes early the exaggerated size of the swell from the northwest and the challenge of managing the secondary swell. 3) Whereas on MO we lost a key and a deodorant bar, DRINA lost a toilet bowl brush.

The conjunction of similar locations, sea states and outcomes makes me wonder if, in difficult weather, that area is somehow effected by the banks surrounding the Crozets.

DRINA Blog:

Sunday & Monday 11 & 12.March.2018 Position: S 47 20 E 60 54 Knock-down – Stirred, not Shaken

We had known a blow was coming & had secured for heavy weather as we had countless occasions previously. We had been commenting on the lull before the storm for some time, with winds just 20-25kts but the army of SW swells marching ominously toward us from the NE left no doubt that something big was out there, and all too soon, here. In hindsight, also of significance, was the secondary SE swell on our port quarter which was moderate, but was dwarfed by the SW’ly swell.

We hove-to with the tightly sheeted triple reefed main and so that we could enjoy in relative comfort, yet another South African beef roast. An hour or two after we had hove-to Matt checked the cockpit wind indicator which showed we had already experienced a gust of 71 knots (131.5kmph). Our wind indicator has been anything but reliable since departing Australia, but one thing it has always done reliably was underestimate the wind.

During the evening watch it was apparent from the motion, and amount of shipped water, that this was heavier than most other blows we have weathered on this voyage. Matt ventured out to get the metal companionway plate and thereby improved our watertight integrity by some degree.

The noise was incredible – for the first time it was truly understood why they call these the ‘Roarin’ 40’s’. We’ve a lot of year’s experience on the water but that sound in the rigging will remain with us to our grave. The roar was nothing short of primal.

At approximately 01:00hrs on Sunday morning, all hell broke loose.

It was pitch black and we were battened down – we can only surmise what happened next.

Hove-to we are typically orientated to the wind about 30-45, up to 60 degrees. The extent to which we can sheet-in the main is dependent upon the wind strength, and thus assuming wind and wave alignment, our orientation to the oncoming wave. Estimates now differ, but we agree the angle to the wind was greater than normal as Mike had felt obliged to sheet-in tighter (decreasing drive into the wind) for fear of leaving our keel-induced slick behind. One may speculate being set with an estimated 2 knot current may have been a contributing factor. Nevertheless, general consensus remains we fell off the front of a wave. Having dissected some of the events discussed later herein, we believe the wave had been indeed breaking. The roll was clearly in excess of 90degrees, from the path of the deck plate & projectiles we surmise at least ~105-110 degrees, but it is largely irrelevant anyway. Scooting down the fore part of the wave we were brought up in the trough causing the cushioned but sudden deceleration, which likely likely was the force behind the change of direction of some of the cabin missiles later described.

This is the first knock-down in Mike’s 330,000 nautical mile sailing experience – clearly the conditions must have been somewhat unique.

Most people that were around at the time can put their finger precisely on where they were the day man landed on the moon. (We weren’t, obviously, but we are looking for analogy work with us here).

In any case none of us will likely forget that instant – or rather that eternity in the moment – when we were pitched to starboard.

Mike recalls being in his bunk and claimed he does not know how he remained in his bunk, nor how everything on the port side of his aft cabin landed on the starboard side, totally clearing him whilst laying horizontal in his berth.

Rossco lay awake in his port saloon berth & sensing the statistically significant larger roll, wedged himself tighter between his berth cushion and his lee board, thereby effectively defying gravity.

Matt was wedged in the nav station on the starboard side beneath and just forward of the companionway. The roll to starboard pinned him to the bulkhead, so when the cockpit was filled with water entering via vents in the companionway, he suffered the sensation of water boarding as the salt water cascaded directly into his face. All the while we continued to roll to starboard & then, like some scene from Matrix, he watched as items levitated, hovered slowly and then accelerated towards him.

The galley wood chopping block hit just 1.5ft above his head and left a hefty dent in the woodwork. The deck plate port side aft in the galley was in midair and must have taken out the nav station and all that dwelt there, had it not been for the deceleration of the boat as her bow plunged into the bottom of the wave, the deck plate (which needed to have cleared the galley sink cabinetry), flew to starboard and (thankfully) this forward, ending up in Matto’s starboard berth bunk: this together with the top of the fridge and nearly everything else that was not screwed down. Food items from the fridge cooler recessed into the port galley bench were also sent careening. Items stowed in the bilges which rarely see the light of day were flung throughout the cabin. Food staples (oats, lentils, cous cous etc) stowed in Pyrex locked & sealable containers wedged on the port counter were launched & smacked the starboard bulkheads; the largest container containing rolled oats exploded and rained oats. Evidently water had made its way there in advance as the oats remained plastered on the bulkhead for the duration of Sunday.

Humorously though (& if you don’t laugh this shit’ll kill you) – we found a # potato balancing atop of the GPS unit, a Pyrex container wedged in to the deckhead (ceiling) skylight as well as tomatoes and (additional) garlic in Matto’s sleeping bag. A day later we have yet to find the toilet brush.

Anyone who knows Mike would appreciate the symbolism of the potato on the GPS; the “Irish Navigational System” of potatoes, a net and a bucket being one of his favorite jokes to tell.

Sunday dawned bleak, winds had abated to 30-45 knots but the swell, although short of mountainous, ’twas altogether eerily impressive nonetheless. The wind still streaked the surface and wave crests were whipped off by the angry, unrelenting wind.

With the coming of the light it was also opportunity to witness the above deck toll to our faithfully robust DRINA:

On deck:

• Dodger shredded

• Mizzen sail cover shredded and mizzen sail torn

• Mizzen vang line wrapped around prop

• Starboard emergency

• Water jerry can swept overboard

• Anchor compressed into the rail

• Port water tank cap washed loose & overboard

• Dinghy center chock washed overboard

• Teak cockpit deck grates & cushions washed overboard

• Starboard upper solar panel torn loose

• Port quarter life-ring swept overboard but remained attached

• Ladder washed overboard

Down below:

• Radar waterlogged

• AIS’s GPS input cable severed by internal cabin missiles

• Nav station drenched

• Starboard saloon berth & starboard bulkheads drenched and battered

Working (thankfully) ok:

• GPS

• VHF

• AIS (after cable repair)

• Autopilot

And

• Rig, main & head’sl

• Duo-Gen water generator

• Engine starting, batteries and charging capabilities

Sunday we were still weathering the storm and simply put, we were all a little waterlogged (boarded) & shell shocked. During the morning it was not really considered safe on deck but by afternoon it had moderated sufficiently for Matt to take a turn around the decks to order and re-lash what he could, Including sealing the water tank.

Monday’s motion and weather had abated sufficiently to enable the day to be spent more productively:

-The nav station was wiped down with fresh water & dried; the nav chart was retrieved from a plastic bag in which it had been dashed sopping wet and dried.

-The starboard saloon berth was cleaned of oats (now porridge) and the cushions removed to the cockpit to benefit from some sunlight & wind in the afternoon.

-Galley was re-stowed, as too the majority of the port side projectiles.

-Rossco & Matt rigged the GoPro camera so that we could capture some underwater images of the mizzen vang line wound around the propeller. When we could see “how” it had been wound, we knew then ‘how’ we could unwind it from the deck. The skipper didn’t want to risk Matt overboard with a knife in his teeth which would definitely would have been faster (haaarrr), but riskier (errr?) … & certainly colder (brrrrr).

-Afternoon conditions meant we could move more freely around the cockpit where together we could cut away the shredded dodger and re-stow the dinghy on the foredeck.

-More cleaning, more drying, more cleaning. No doubt we will be finding oats for weeks to come.

When the prop had been cleared we felt comfortable to start sailing once again. Despite making 7 knots over the ground, it was evident that the we were still benefiting from the +2kts east setting current. As we could not totally rely on the water generator for charge Mike started the engine to positively charge the batteries. Relief that we are good on that front given our friend Randall’s recent trials and tribulations after his knock-down in this very same stretch of water between the Crozets and Kerguelen.

Now Monday night the wind has picked up and although right now we could potentially be sailing, thanks to Stevo we now know to anticipate yet more wind tonight and all though tomorrow. We are therefore happy for the 230′ or so of searoom ‘tween us & the next bit of hard stuff – which is incidentally Les Îsles Kerguelen, & which remains, luckily, our next destination.

We pray the Kerguelen team are just half as accommodating as the Crozet team. The ability to wash some clothes and sleeping bags would be greatly appreciated as we have yet another +3.5-4 weeks sailing awaiting us after departure Kerguelen in order to make Tassie by mid-April.

More on our itinerary changes in a future VLOG update.

https://www.facebook.com/DRINASouthGeorgiaExpedition2017/posts/1610685502379431

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Hey virtual voyagers. You get an extra post today as we’re catching up with Randall. As you can see, he’s much closer to pulling into Hobart than this post suggests. Joanna’s heading to Tasmania Sunday night and looks to rendezvous with Moli and her Captian on Tuesday.

Day 119

Noon Position: 43 50S. 130 39E

Course/Speed: E7

Wind: W15-20

Bar: 1025

Sky: Overcast, occasional drizzle

Sea: SW6

Cabin Temp: 60

Water Temp: 55

Miles last 24 hours: 170

Longitude Made Good: 164

Total Miles: 16,449

Miles to Hobart: 775

I bought a selection of dry sausages in Ushuaia, the kind that hang from the ceiling in butcher shops, and have been adding them to stews ever since. I’ll bring one out from the larder (forepeak) and hang it from the fan in the galley. It fills the cabin with a rich and earthy punk until consumed. If memory serves, I was eating through the last one when we  encountered our big gale a few weeks back. In any case, there’s no sausage hanging from the fan, and I have assumed that the above noted rich punk now coming from the starboard side of the boat and across from the galley was from a sausage that went orbital during the knockdown.

As we are soon to make port and likely to be inspected by the authorities, today I made a diligent  effort to track down the sausage. I cleaned out all the cupboards, emptied the bookshelf, removed my boots from their cubby;  I cleaned behind and even inside the diesel heater, all to no avail. There was simply no wayward sausage to be found.  I was standing over the heater pondering my next move when a sock bonked me in the head.

I have three pairs of heavy wool socks that I rotate through, and when they are not on my feet, they hang from a string over the heater. The heater is not used during passages, but I figure the socks have a chance to air dry as they swing back and forth. When the sock bonked me again, I noticed the fanning effect filled my nostrils with a familiar scent. Wait a minute! The smell is coming from my socks, which, after nearly 60 days of intermittent interment in damp rubber boots have taken on a distinctly sausage-like aroma. Rich and spicy as my socks have become, I have not been tempted to add them to stews. Moreover, I promise to put them and other, equally aromatic outer-wear into plastic bags before making civilization. Fast sailing these last days. Mo has been running before a lovely westerly that, sadly, is soon due to peter out. I’m still pushing to get ahead of the coming low; am shooting for landfall in five days.

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Day 118

Noon Position: 43 58S. 126 51E

Course/Speed: E7

Wind: W20

Bar: 1029

Sky: High Fog Sea: SW8

Sail: Headsails poled out full

Miles last 24 hours: 169

Longitude Made Good: 150

Total Miles: 16,279

Miles to Hobart: 939

A note from my friends on DRINA, the green hulled ketch that is exploring those southern ocean islands now 2,000 and more miles astern of us. Last I heard they were just off the Kerguelen Islands. I presume they have since departed and are heading east, because the not read… “Knocked down. Recovery mode. More later.”

I met Matt, Roscoe and owner Michael Thurston back in 2014 in the Arctic’s Northwest Passage. By now these three must have 15,000 ocean miles together, and Michael has been cruising DRINA since the 70s. I only mention that by way of saying these three know what they are about. It’s also curious that their difficulties have occurred in the same general vicinity as did ours—ours, between the Crozets and Kerguelen. Back in Ushuaia, I had the pleasure of an evening with the crew of Sir Enst, who’s skipper, Jiver, said two things of note: 1) “Randall, it is a beautiful cruise you are making” and 2) “The Indian Ocean” (whistles, rolls eyes) ”be careful.” No kidding, Jiver.

This just in from Matt (we communicate via InReach):

“We are up and sailing and charging on again. Also had to clear the prop  of a fouled line. Very lucky. Still all wet; still airing, and no doubt we’ll find spilled oats for weeks.” And correction: they are still on the approach to Kerguelen; i.e. very close to where Mo and I saw our window-breaking action.

Fast sailing for us on moderate westerlies last couple days. Hobart is now less than a 1000 miles off. And good thing as I suspect that the gale that caught DRINA will be making a house call here in a week or so.

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Day 117

Noon Position: 43 50S. 123 23E

Course/Speed: ENE7

Wind: WSW17-32

Bar: 1031 Sky:

Overcast Sea: SW8

Cabin Temp: 60

Water Temp: 55

Miles last 24 hours: 162

Longitude Made Good: 152

Total Miles: 16,110

Miles to Hobart: 1090

Part I

Slate gray the sea,

Slate gray the bird,

Slate gray the sky,

And the wind blows.

Slate gray and ice blue the sea crashing;

Slate gray and white the bird passing over;

Slate gray and ash the sky,

And the wind blows its empty howl in the rig.

Slate gray and ice blue the sea crashing,

its endless, blind march from the rising sun

unseen to the unseen setting place.

Slate gray and white the bird passing over,

swinging from one crest to the next,

in taunting arcs just beyond the angry reach fo the sea.

Slate gray and ash the sky,

burnt without fire and unconsumed.

And the winds blows its empty howl in the rig,

a spirit chorus calling out an incomprehensible warning.

Slate gray the sea,

the bird, the sky.

And the wind blows.

Part II

From the cockpit I yell to the wind,

“I don’t mind 17 knots or 32, but pick one.

Don’t make me be on deck all day!”

Always on the quarter,

the sea stacks up and kicks Mo in the ass.

She slews around broadside.

The helmsman corrects but too late.

The sails spill; the rig shakes.

We lay over. Fist to sky.“

Must it always be like this?

Can’t we sail without your torments?”

And Jeffers whispers:

“Be angry at the sun for setting if these things bother you.”

 

Part III

While studying the sails,

I glance at the horizon.

A whiteness there,

not the stark white of the sea,

but a cream white and Not diffuse like a collapsing wave,

but compact.

More like a lump on the sea

that turns out to be a Wandering Albatross squat on the surface,

asleep, its head tucked under a wing and,

as we pass within three bird lengths,

I see its bluey feet slowly treading,

keeping the body pointed into the wind.

It never wakes but keeps on treading over and under waves.

Perfectly at ease. Comfortably at home.

 

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Before we launch into today’s report a quick thank you to Mark Gibbens who created the awesome sketch of Randall after watching the Seeker Video about Randall. If you haven’t seen it take a look. It’s got some footage from Randall’s departure day. They certainly ramped up the drama. 🙂

 

#team F8

Day 116 (56 days since Ushuaia)

Noon Position: 44 08S. 119 51E

Course/Speed: E7

Wind: WSW25+

Miles last 24 hours: 168

Longitude Made Good: 152

Total Miles: 15,948

Miles to Hobart: 1240

Quick report tonight as the day has been long and the night may be … eventful.

Wind swung into the WSW today and went to 25+. At noon I switched to the twin headsails poled out and we’ve been running before fast, squally weather ever since. Seas are running high due to winds further south, so Mo is a bit of a roller coaster ride. Winds have come up to 30 tonight, so I don’t know where this is going; thus the need to stay “on watch.”

This afternoon I performed more engine tests and found seawater in the crankcase oil (by boiling it on the stove and watching for bubbles). So, did an oil and filter change that took until after sundown due to Mo jumping around like an electrocuted cat. But we make good easting, for which I am happy.

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Day 114

Noon Position: 44 08S 113 31E

Course/Speed: E7

Wind: NW18

Bar: 1016

Sky: Overcast, though clear till noon 

Sea: NW5–big roller coming in from somewhere

Cabin Temp: 64 Sea Temp: 53

Miles last 24 hours: 169

Longitude Made Good: 164

Total Miles: 15,653

Miles to Hobart: 1513

When you have the opportunity to see your wife some 1500 miles on, you do the distance math…a lot. Wind machines, that are slow by nature, and schedules aren’t a good match. Much could go right, and wrong. In the 17 days since Mo lost her port pilot house window, we’ve made 2309 miles of easting for an average run of 136 miles a day. This is somewhat below our 139 mile-a-day average from Ushuaia to now; winds have been lighter up here at 44S than down at 47S. It’s also nominally below the 137 miles a day we need to average in order to arrive Hobart on  the 19th. Any way you slice it, it’s a close run thing. Which is why as winds eased today, I went for the big guns, that being the big genoa and full main…wind on the beam, 7 knots.

I am largely happy with the foods I’ve packed aboard Mo. Over a hundred days on, the dishes are still appetizing, though there are only four breakfast recipes and five for dinner. This could be due to the fact that, in the case of dinner, curry paste, chicken stock and butter added to any recipe make it a winner. But they are winners. There have been some exceptions, however. At home, I enjoy Quinoa and so featured it in one recipe, whose quantity required I pack aboard 40 pounds of that grain. I don’t know why except that it is simply a matter of taste. I found for that recipe that I preferred Polenta, of which until this week, I hadn’t even opened the first bag. brought but 15 pounds (stocked up in Ushuaia).

Yesterday I forced myself to use the Quinoa. Bingo. Now it’s a favorite. De gustibus non disputandum. Another example is Soylent, one of the very generous Figure 8 sponsors. I have aboard enough Soylent for one meal a day, a favorite easy meal for me. But, I’ve not been taking advantage as often as I anticipated due, I finally figured out, to friction in the process. It was the bag, which can be messy to open and scoop from on a boat bouncing six ways from Sunday. The fix occurred last week: transfer the  powder to a separate container with its own scoop! Simple. And I’ve had Soylent every day since!

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Day 113

Noon Position: 44 30S. 109 43E

Course/Speed: ENE7

Wind: NW18

Bar: 1018

Sky: Clear: cloud front windward

Sea: NW3

Cabin Temp: 58

Sea Temp: 51

Miles last 24 hours: 132

Longitude Made Good: 125

Total Miles: 15,484

Miles to Hobart: 1673

Light winds overnight—from the southwest until early morning, and then gently they swung into the northwest and stayed light. I rose every hour and a half. Each time there was more south in our course. Finally at 4am it was too much south. I dressed, had a snack, and then swapped the headsails—larger genoa to starboard, smaller to port. And off we raced east. Wind kept its migration into the north as the day matured, and by noon we were back to main and the working jib. Average speed, 7 knots.

Yesterday I did an inventory of beer and wine aboard, this for Oz customs, who apparently don’t mind my having a liberal supply of both…as long as they know how much that is. One locker reserved for beer is the ice box in  the galley. It’s long term storage—I don’t go in there much. Upon lifting the lid, I noted a peculiar smell, a smell very unlike the malty, hoppy odors left over from a can that exploded in the tropics, though those were present as well. This odor had a spicy quality to it reminiscent of the aftershave splash my dad favored, pleasant enough on its own but not the best accompaniment to stale malt and hops. Some digging turned up a disfigured and desiccated Old Spice deodorant stick sans lid that had wedged between two bottles of Cape Horn Lager. Aha! One mystery solved. How did it get in there?

One thing that is coming home to me is just how far Mo went over during the knockdown that blew out her port window. This icebox lid, for example, came off. That’s no mean feat. The lid is about a foot long and a foot wide and six six inches deep, and under normal circumstances, it takes two hands lifting straight up to unseat it. But I recall looking into the galley after we righted. Mostly I saw water sloshing everywhere, but there too was the icebox lid tipped up against a cupboard. (Luckily nothing came out as much of what it contains is glass.) This can only mean that for a brief moment, Mo was well past 90 degrees over, and I’m beginning to suspect that we weren’t simply slammed over by a breaker but actually were pushed off the top of a sea and fell into the trough.

In my estimation, only that kind of force could have blown out the window, leaving nothing but shards around the rim. And unbeknownst to me, as Mo fell, a red stick of deodorant flew from the head and across the boat to the galley, where it collided with a cupboard, which separated it from its lid. The lid fell behind the  stove and the stick did a hole-in-one into the icebox, neither to be found for days and days. Which begs a curious question: what  is a solo sailor doing with deodorant aboard anyway?

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Day 112 (Day 52 since Ushuaia)

Noon Position: 44 16S 106 50E

Course/Speed: E6

Wind: SSW15

Bar: 1015

Sea: SW8

Sky: Clear, Cumulus: look like Tradewind weather

Cabin Temp: 56

Sea Temp: 51

Miles last 24 hours: 143

Longitude Made Good: 116

Total Miles: 15,352

Miles to Hobart: 1800. I need to average 138 miles/day in order to arrive Hobart in time to see my wife, who arrives on the 19th.

Weather building. It started on the 4th. At first NW 20, then 25, then 30. By 6am  on the 5th winds had gone 30 plus, at which point I opened our course up from E to SE to make the ride more comfortable.  I’ll ease back up on the coming W and SW winds, I thought, winds I anticipated any moment. But the bar kept dropping. 1007, 1005, 1004; every hour or two, down a point. And then the wind veered into the N, as high as 350 true. Now, instead of a SE course for comfort, I was locked in. I couldn’t point any higher without taking a building, toppling swell dead on the beam. And we were racing, a steady seven knots on a double reefed working jib and a three-reef main.

After sundown, wind increased to the high 30s gusting 40. I dropped the main. Bar down to 1002. By 11pm there was more 40 than 30 in the wind. Bar down to 1001.I rolled in the working jib until it looked like something you could fold up and put in your pocket. Swell had built to a steep and sloshy 8 or 10 feet, but was nothing serious if left on the quarter. After a time I figured this was the max we’d get; Mo was riding fine, so I started sleeping. An hour later the radar alarm woke me. “Targets in your guard zone,” it said. Nothing but sea clutter, I thought. But before I could check, I noticed was Mo was off course. The chart plotter showed her heading due north, and her turn on the screen was sharp. A glance at the wind indicator showed wind still 40 and still on port, but now the direction was not 350T but 210T; from nearly north to nearly south—same velocity, in about an hour. Then I noticed pounding. Now we were pushing into the NW sea. Our speed, 3 knots. I had to gybe around.

On deck, things were wild. Mo jumped and kicked like a wild mustang. Sea spray and rain flew every which way. It took an hour to move the sheets from starboard to port; roll in the jib; gybe, and unroll it again, simple work when you don’t need to hold on with both hands and feet. I kept checking the wind indicator because I simply couldn’t believe wind could do a one-eighty like that and hold its punch.  Indicator kept reading 40. Gybe complete I came below and waited.

By 3am winds were down to 30-35, so I called it a watch and started sleeping again. In the morning, blue sky filled with tropical cumulus and a sea full of birds, prions, storm petrels, albatross. And the sea itself, a lumpy, heaving, chaos of opposing swell. But by afternoon it was all over. As I type, wind is coming into the west at 10 knots. I have the twin headsails out full, and we make 5 knots on flat (for the south) water.

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Day 111

Noon Position: 44 21S 104 08E

Course/Speed: ESE7

Wind: NNW20-30

Bar: 1005

Sea: NW10

Sky: Overcast, rain

Cabin Temp: 61 Sea Temp: 52

Miles Last 24 hours: 168

Longitude Made Good: 157

Total Miles: 15,209

Wind moved into the northwest and increased overnight to the high 20s and low 30s. At 4am I took down the main with three reefs and made our course off the wind a bit for comfort, which in this case was east-southeast. However, this system has a sharp corner to it, and by late morning had pulled winds well into the north and has pushed us much further south than I wanted to go.

As I type we are past 44 and a half south, which could put us at 45S by morning. Seas are not well developed nor large, but they have their own heft, and I’m not particularly eager to wear them on the beam; so, for the moment, we’re stuck with this course.

It is simply amazing how much air flows down here. Look at a weather map and the south looks like nothing but one low after another. What could be the terrestrial purpose, or more interestingly, effect, of so much wind frothing so much ocean?  It is quite humbling to be a part of such a large and organized mass of weather. All this wind of 25 and 35 knots, blowing steadily now for 18 hours and due to go on for more, all of it is flowing toward a common center. And we are fighting to get out.

I am still sweeping-up Mo’s nooks and crannies of glass from our deluge of two weeks ago. Yesterday, while cleaning under the stove, I discovered a red lid, plastic, oblong, just a few inches long. Last I had seen it, it had been atop the Old Spice deodorant stick, whose job it is to protect. But in all my cleaning, I’ve not unearthed the stick. The deodorant flew across the cabin during the knockdown when its cupboard door opened and the contents emptied into the air. So, somewhere on Mo there is dark, sweet-smelling corner well protected from the odors of perspiration.