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December 28, 2018

Day 85

Noon Position: 45 45S 16 51E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): SExS 7

Wind(t/tws): NWxN 17 – 22

Sea(t/ft): W 10

Sky: Stratus; flat gray sky

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 1011 falling

Cabin Temp(f): 63

Water Temp(f): 48

Relative Humidity(%): 66

Sail: #2 genoa to windward and poled out; #1 genoa to leeward and free footed. Broad reach.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 166

Miles since departure: 11,551

Avg. Miles/Day: 136

I let Mo drift SE overnight on twin headsails poled out, three reefs. Pretty fast, but wind continued to veer north, so mid morning I took the leeward pole down and ran that sail, the number one genoa, free for a few hours. This gives Mo another ten to fifteen degrees to windward while still running both headsails. In the afternoon wind increased to the high twenties and low thirties, and I’ve gone all the way down to the number two with two reefs.

Again, the lesson is that wind velocity is not the sole factor in defining how much sail one can carry. The sea now is a boulder garden; not high but steep and confused and flat on the quarter. It slaps Mo around as if she were the new kid in school and this is the first recess. Two reefs settles things a bit. Monte works less hard. Mo falls over less often. It is also not fast, which is painful to the skipper.

At least having the clew of the sail close allowed me to change out a chaffed sheet end.

I woke at 4am with a throbbing headache, an occurence now frequent enough to count as a pattern. The pain is like what one would acquire from having gone on a bender followed by a rolling hitch with several round turns for good measure. But my nightly consumption of adult beverages on Mo is limited to one beer followed by, every few nights, a small glass of red wine, which hardly throws one three sheets to the wind. The issue just has to be dehydration, but on this particular day, I’d been careful to drink my two full liters of clear water.

The word that woke me was scurvy. The question: is a headache an early symptom? The realization: I’ve not been at all careful about vitamin C intake this voyage. The double whammy: I’m not even sure how much vitamin C I have aboard.

I’ve made a few ocean passages by now, but they are rarely long enough to run entirely out of fresh foods; even the longest Figure 8 1.0 leg was only 68 days. So, I’ve never been forced to establish a vitamin C intake regime. But the Figure 8 2.0 is now approaching 90 days, and we’re just getting started.

In the morning, I went directly to the medicines inventory list. My first aid kit and medications were assembled lovingly by my sister, a retired nurse, for the first Figure 8 attempt. She did such a thorough job that I didn’t even glanse at, much less audit, these stores before departing on the Figure 8 2.0.

I scroll the neatly laminated five pages of alphabetized indications, also the work of my sister, till I reach “Scurvy.” The note states: “Ascorbic Acid deficiency. Take vitamin C.” In red next to this it says, “Randall says he will handle getting vitamins.”

I did?

I have no recollection of that or of “handling” it either. What an embarrassment, to have to turn for Cape Town because I’d forgotten a sailor’s most basic medicine!

I spent the next hour digging out any bottle or vile that contained the precious acid.

Upshot: I did handle it. Oodles of Airborne, multivitamins, dehydrated veg pills, etc. In fact, I have quite a treasure trove. The gotcha is that I should have audited these for expiration dates before the second departure, but even after weeding-out the expired and soon to expire, I could likely make it to Mars.

And according to Wiki, headache is not a early symptom of scurvy. So, I’m back to dehydration as the culprit without knowing exactly the cause.

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Front Coming

December 27, 2018

Day 84

Noon Position: 44 32S  13 19E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): SExS 6

Wind(t/tws): WxS 15

Sea(t/ft): Mixed to 3 feet

Sky: Puffy cumulus and moderate squalls

10ths Cloud Cover: 5

Bar(mb): 1014, rising

Cabin Temp(f): 57

Water Temp(f): 59

Relative Humidity(%): 60 (dry)

Sail: Working jib poled to windward, main; full. Broad reach.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 129

Miles since departure: 11,385

Avg. Miles/Day: 136

Light winds and slow going these last two days, but that should change tonight. As I type, there’s a large front approaching from the W. Right now we’re racing under poled out twins; winds are W in the teens. Tonight they’ll shift to the N and bump up to thirty. I intend to ride these winds at an angle and slowly drop down a couple degrees of latitude so as to avoid more calms up here later in the week.

Today’s drama was that the Watt and Sea hydrogenerator down haul parted in the night. I came on deck to find the unit bobbing astern. The line had been fraying for some time, and I should have changed it out earlier, but the job is un-fun, and so I pushed for a few more miles. As it turns out, the parting occurred during fine weather, and thus my sojourn over the transom to rerun it avoided a dunking. For which I am grateful.

Finally got a decent shot of a favorite bird and frequent visitor in twos and threes: the white chinned petrel. The identification of this lovely took forever due to the name referring to a postage stamp sized patch of white under the beak, a diagnostic mark, that is only visible close up. These are the chocolate brown birds I’ve referenced before.

Speaking of brown, the brownies are gone. Just gone. Either the batch was smaller than the contents on the bag indicated or Monte has been nibbling when I’m not looking.

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December 26, 2018

Day 83

Noon Position: 44 18S  10 20W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): SxE 3

Wind(t/tws): ENE 7

Sea(t/ft): Mixed to 3

Sky: Rain

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 997, rising

Cabin Temp(f): 54

Water Temp(f): 46

Relative Humidity(%): 80

Sail: Close reaching under working jib and main.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 131

Miles since departure: 11,256

Avg. Miles/Day: 136

I kept the twins up overnight even though the wind went into the N in the wee hours. Switching from poles to main and jib in the dark is easy to rationalize as better done in the morning when one is full of hot mutton stew, fresh brownies, and a bit of red wine.

Besides decidedly cold and rainy, the day has been one of constant attention to the sheets as we work down through the center of a weak low. The wind has veered from N to E to, now, 20 degrees W of S. I even had to tack just after lunch. I shiver to think of it–to tacking in the open ocean!

I tried to catch water during the long but light rain episode around noon and only came away two gallons richer. My rain collector is the main sail. Water runs from here into the sail’s cradle cover, and in the cover I’ve inserted a hose fitting whose hose runs to the water tank ports near the gunnel.

For some reason I couldn’t get the fitting to drain much more than a dribble. I suspect this has to do with the reef the sail had and the water getting caught in the fold of the sail. By the time I went full sail, the rain had mostly cleared out.

This needs attention. With usage at roughly a gallon a day, we are now down 80+ gallons out of total tankage of about 200 gallons. Sure, I’m not running dry any time soon, but rain is catch-as-catch-can, and I need to catch it down here in the south. Most rain comes during a hard gale (main rapped up tight), so my opportunities for using this system are fewer than you might think.

In the afternoon, we were visited by five Wandering albatross flying as a loose group (I presume). I may go days without seeing one of these birds, and then they will appear in twos and threes, circle the boat and even, rarely, land in the water nearby.

I goofed during yesterday’s video in describing my brownie recipe as requiring butter and *milk.*  It’s butter and *eggs,* also something I stock in dehydrated form (see photos).

The batch came out nicely. The only zinger was that none of my bread pans were the right size, and I had to use a fry pan instead.

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December 25, 2018

Day 82

Noon Position: 43 24S  07 34E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ExN 6

Wind(t/tws): SWxW 14 – 17

Sea(t/ft): W 6

Sky: Light Cumulus alternating to clear

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 1006, steady

Cabin Temp(f): 61

Water Temp(f): 48

Relative Humidity(%): 65 (51 by end of day. Can feel the dryness in my hands.)

Sail: Twins poled out full. Dead run.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 164

Miles since departure: 11,125

Avg. Miles/Day: 136

Ran all night with two reefs in the poled-out twin headsails. Winds were mostly 17 – 25, but a few times we had squalls to 30 knots with light rain. Monte could just handle 30 knots with that set-up. Winds stayed SWxW until afternoon, pushing us a tad to the north when what I want is southing. But the speed it gave in exchange cancelled any complaint I might have had.

A clear day. After coffee, I put out wet things to dry. Then I baked brownies and opened Christmas cards from family and friends…

Christmas Day last year was memorable without being exactly celebratory.

At 8am Pacific Time on December 25, 2017, I made landfall W of Chile’s Bahia Cook after five days of hand steering Mo off the Southern Ocean, this just three days shy of Cape Horn. In the previous weeks, both the autopilot and windvane had failed, changing the course of the Figure 8 for that year. It wasn’t until 3am the next day, after motoring an additional fifty miles inside the Beagle Channel and running aground in a gale of snow and sleet, that Mo and I were finally safe, anchor down, Caletta Oja.

I knew it was Christmas, but besides digging for a box of Sees Candy my sister had alerted me to, I had no energy for the many cards and even gifts sent along by family and friends. They remained wrapped, and often water-damaged, in a moldy bag in the forepeak … until today.

Christmas Day 2018, and by coincidence, it is again 8am. The Horn is 3,400 miles astern, the weather is moderate, Mo is racing under poled-out, tightly reefed twin headsails, and I have had the extreme pleasure this last hour of having a proper Christmas. All cards have been opened and read; the gifts unwrapped, and many now decorate the lower part of the mast, where residers my “Christmas Tree.” I even have the required mess of Christmas wrap on the cabin sole.

Thank you to friends and family for thinking of me last year–and this year too!  It was heart warming to read the words of encouragement and just plain fun to feel connected.

Merry Christmas to all…

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December 24, 2018

Day 81

Noon Position: 43 50S  03 51E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 6-7

Wind(t/tws): W 11-17

Sea(t/ft): W 10

Sky: Overcast (later clears, light fluffy cumulus)

10ths Cloud Cover: 10 / 5

Bar(mb): 998, rising

Cabin Temp(f): 57

Water Temp(f): 48

Relative Humidity(%): 81

Sail: Twins poled out full, running

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 140

Miles since departure: 10,961

Avg. Miles/Day: 135

Slow overnight in moderate winds as we wait for the sea to subside. It did, and I’ve flown the twins today. Now we race on light west winds.

Today a longish video discussing Christmas dinner and why we won’t be doing any gift exchange this year on Mo.

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December 23, 2018

Day 80

Noon Position: 43 21S  00 42E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ExS 6+

Wind(t/tws): WNW 20 – 27

Sea(t/ft): NW W SW to 12

Sky: Thin stratus

10ths Cloud Cover: 4

Bar(mb): 1002, steady

Cabin Temp(f): 61

Water Temp(f): 50

Relative Humidity(%): 75

Sail: Double reefed working jib

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 153

Miles since departure: 10,821

Avg. Miles/Day: 135

At 0800GMT this morning, Mo and I crossed the Prime Meridian and in an instant passed from West to East. Marked on charts as zero degrees longitude, the Prime Meridian is a semi great circle that runs from the North pole to the South pole by way of a red line down the center of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England.

Yes, Mo and I have made it as far as the UK, although we’re a bit to the south.

Why is this line important? In a nut, everything having to do with time and place on earth is tuned to it. It’s officially where our day starts. All clocks that wish to be precise are set with reference to time at this place, called Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The Nautical Almanac I use to work up my sextant shots knows exactly where the sun, the moon, the planets, and 58 stars are in the heavens for every second of every day, and the time it uses is GMT.

Of course the line could be anywhere. It ran, for a time, through Paris, and Moscow had its own line once, but by convention we have decided there should be but one Prime Meridian and that it should pass through Greenwich.

Rough times on Mo. The sea is heaving, and we roll and pound something fierce. Winds have been 25 – 30 much of the day, and our course, dead downwind, would be perfect for running out the twin headsails, but the sea is throwing the boat around so much that I’ve had to reduce sail just to make it easier for Monte to recover when we’re knocked on our ear. We’re running a twice and three times reefed headsail only.

I’m not sure where this is coming from (or why it fails to show up in my photos). The wind in these parts has been mostly west for days, which should lead to a consistent sea-state, but what we have is a mash-up of NW, W, SW swell that’s chaotic, steep and crashing, and though not dangerous, it’s some of the most intense we’ve yet sailed through.

The forecast for the next several days looks fair. I’m ready for that!

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December 22, 2018

Day 79

Noon Position: 43 05S 02 45W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 5

Wind(t/tws): WxN 25 (40 in squalls)

Sea(t/ft): W 10 – 12

Sky: Clear, then squalls

10ths Cloud Cover: 8

Bar(mb): 1000

Cabin Temp(f): 61

Water Temp(f): 50

Relative Humidity(%): 69

Sail: Working jib full or reefs, depending on squalls

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 151

Miles since departure: 10,668

Avg. Miles/Day: 135

Winds were 35 gusting 45 by 3am. I’d gotten enough sleep early and didn’t mind being up, and dawn was on the make, so I could see. By 6am, winds had backed off into the high twenties, but the seas that filled in were tremendous. High and fast with here and there a gray beard casting his top third forward into a thundering, heavy, mash-you-up break.

Mo was caught only once, and as luck would have it, I was standing on the stern, holding fast to the radar arch when the wave piled up on her starboard quarter and then laid into her. She went over to the windows and scooped water into the cockpit. So, that’s what it looks like, I thought.

Below I found that the scissors had been flung across the cabin, but my grippy coffee cup hadn’t moved, so I guess the throw wasn’t that bad.

The day has been sunny but filled with aggravation. Mo rolls so terribly in this chaos of a sea; gunnel to gunnel, over and over with no pause. And though we have a very nice westerly at 25 knots, we are also getting raked by squalls every hour with heavy rain and winds to 45 knots. I’m having to run conservative sail, and even at that, I dash on deck when I hear rain to roll up more.

One fun exercise: my first sun sights since December 4th. Taking a sight in such seas and a heaving vessel is a challenge, so I was pleased to find the work showed where we were. I’m pointing to where we are in the photo. See?

A low develops right under us tonight. We’ll have 35 and 40 starting around midnight and through as long as noon tomorrow. The sea that’s running is already mature, so it could be a rough go.

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December 21, 2018

Day 78

Noon Position: 43 12S 06 11W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ENE 6

Wind(t/tws): NWxN 24 – 28

Sea(t/ft): N and NW to 10

Sky: Clear. Not a cloud. By 5:30pm, rain.

10ths Cloud Cover: 0

Bar(mb): 998, falling

Cabin Temp(f): 63

Water Temp(f): 52

Relative Humidity(%): 74

Sail: Double reefed headsail

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 147

Miles since departure: 10,517

Avg. Miles/Day: 135

I may have been hasty in calling these two lows back-to-back. The first cleared out overnight, and we had what I call “lovely sleeping weather,” that being moderate winds consistent in speed and direction. I was only on deck once, and that was to let out more sail.

The second has just arrived as I dug out the computer to type this report. It’s 5:30pm.

The day was clear, the sun brilliant. I hung socks and towels and hats to dry in the pilot house, as the cockpit still caught the occasional dunker of a wave. And they dried! What luxury, a dry sock. You have no idea how celebratory it makes the feet feel to go into a covering that is not clammy and cold at the start.

Now rain. Winds in the thirties from the NW. The cycle begins again.

The Loss of a Friend

Last night I went on deck to change Monte’s smaller “storm” wind vane to the lighter, larger vane that usually steers, a not infrequent task in mixed weather. As is my practice, I set the larger replacement on the aft deck, being careful to tuck it under Monte’s control lines so it wouldn’t blow away, and reached over to unfasten the vane in place. Mo took an especially deep roll to port, and the replacement vane slid into the sea.

I lunged and missed. I yelled, “No, no, my friend!”

The vane glowed in the light of the moon, the word MONITOR face-up and plain, as it trailed away on an inky swell. I couldn’t watch. I turned and faced the bow and was quite sad for some time.

That vane has steered Monte since the beginning, across the Gulf of Alaska, to Hawaii and back, all the way around the world. It has flown through the trades, drifted in the doldrums and even whipsawed in our first gale, 50 gusting 70, when I was too preoccupied with other tasks to change it out.

It has faithfully fulfilled its required tasks, and I have spent hours watching it do so.

But to call it friend? Later, that struck me as odd. Would a bicycle rider become so enamored of a tire? A basketball player, a shoe?


This afternoon and while waiting for this low to arrive, I prepared for the holidays by putting up the Christmas Tree; in this case, a photo my wife gave me of a red Ohia Lehua tree from Kauai. If you don’t know the tree, think it’s Pacific cousin, the New Zealand Christmas Tree. It warmed up the cabin nicely. And that will be the extent of decorations.

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December 20, 2018

Day 77

Noon Position: 43 58S  09 13W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ENE 7

Wind(t/tws): WxS 25 – 30

Sea(t/ft): NW and W to 15

Sky: Rain

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 995+, rising

Cabin Temp(f): 55

Water Temp(f): 50

Relative Humidity(%): 79

Sail: Working headsail, 3 reefs. Broad reach to a run.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 168

Miles since departure: 10,370

Avg. Miles/Day: 135

This low was kind. I expected the wind to come on overnight but it remained steady and fresh in the middle twenties, and I was able to grab good sleep, although in one hour increments.

In fact, as it grew light and winds were still moderate, I thought the low had slunk off to the south and would pass us by. But full morning disabused me of this fantasy. Winds were NW 35 by 6am and blew in the low forties until just before noon. Seas were high and confused; the break pitched forward, a blue-white mass. Often the W and NW trains would collide into a pyramidal shape and send spray skyward. This offering was immediately snatched-up by the wind and flung into the trough.

I expected a gradual backing of the wind from NW to W over the late hours of the morning, but at 10:30, a squall approached so dark that I put on foulie jacket and harness without contemplating why. When it hit, our forty knots of wind bent in an instant from NW to WSW and stayed there. Suddenly, Mo was turned around, exposing her flank to the sea.

What to do was not clear. To tack and take the wind on starboard would mean a course S of E and a dive back into the low’s rotation. It would also require shifting one of the jib sheets back to port. Not difficult, but not quick.

Rain pelted. The sea was white. For some time, I stood in the pilot house unsure what to do … and then realized that in the interim, Mo was sailing this new coures just fine. She took the seas beam on; she took her bumps and slaps and kept sailing. So, I did nothing. Within the hour, wind had veered to the W.

My day’s one error came in the late afternoon. Wind had moderated into the middle thirties. I wanted to unroll a bit of sail, so I dashed into the cockpit without my foulie jacket. We’d not been plastered in over an hour. Decks were dry. It seemed a safe bet.

Just as I finished, a curling sea took Mo at the stern and threw its upper third over the rail. I was slapped hard in the front and remained upright only because I’d been holding onto the dodger frame with both hands. As I drained, I looked down to find I was standing in a ten-inch puddle, and a sheet swept from its cubby had already knotted itself around my ankle.

Fair or foul, the water won that round decidedly, and I required a full change from base layers all the way to foulies, a not entirely bad thing as I’ve been wearing the same clothes since about 30S in the Pacific.

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December 19, 2018

Day 76

Noon Position: 43 58S 13 17W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ENE 8

Wind(t/tws): SWxW 25 – 33

Sea(t/ft): W 8, SW and NW smaller but apparent

Sky: Clear. YES, clear.

10ths Cloud Cover: 0

Bar(mb): 994, rising (we’re in between systems)

Cabin Temp(f): 57

Water Temp(f): 48

Relative Humidity(%): 69. By mid afternoon, 57%. My hands are dry; lips chapped.

Sail: Working jib with two reefs. Were between a run and a broad reach.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 131

Miles since departure: 10,202

Avg. Miles/Day: 134

Quiet overnight. We made slow way to the NE in drizzle. By dawn, wind had come into the N and I raised the main. Three hours later, it backed into the W, and I opened the large genoa on its pole. For a time we ran with a hodgepodge of sail, the working genoa and a single reefed main set for reaching, and the large genoa out on a pole for a run. Awkward but fast.

Then quite suddenly, the deck of cloud evaporated and wind went 30 knots WSW. I had to scramble to get sail in before we were lifted into the air.

It’s been two reefs in the working headsail ever since.

Crystal clear and dry. So dry my skin itches. I can’t recall such dryness–57% relative humidity. Just last night it was 80%.

In such weather, the crash of waves is blindingly white. The sea is Navy blue to black. The chocolate brown petrels are not drab but a rich blend of mocha and 70% bittersweet.

The first low is due at midnight. Winds will strengthen and go W, clock to the NNW and back to W by mid morning. That’s a lot of movement in a short time. Currently seas are mostly W, and so my tentative goal is to maintain a mostly westerly course till morning, to the degree the wind allows.

The routine:

-Dowse the main; lash it tightly to the boom to reduce windage.

-Move the windward (unused) working genoa sheet to leeward and set it up in a block well forward for a close reefed sail. This allows switching between sheets during the blow without having to leave the cockpit.

-Ensure working jib sheets are free of chafe where they contact the genoa pole. If chafe, renew.

-Lock the floorboards over the engine and close the diesel tank vents (if the engine has been run).

-Lay out drogue chafe gear (two large hoses lashed into their chock at the stern quarters).

-Ensure drogues are accessible (they tend to fall down into their locker).

-Close the sink valves.

-Close the head valve.

-Stow loose items.

-Ensure stock of freshly charged AA batteries (for headlamps).

-Move laptop to a locker up and out of the pilot house.

-Lay out dish towels at usual drip points.

-Pump all bilges.

-Check for chafe in Monte’s tiller line. If found, renew.

-Install the heavy weather wind vane in Monte.

-Try to take an afternoon nap.

-Make an especially large dinner.

-If planning to be up all night, put on an extra heavy fleece layer under foulies and change to dry (well, drier) socks.

See you in the morning…

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December 18, 2018

Day 75

Noon Position: 44 44S 16 08W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ENE 6

Wind(t/tws): SWxW 13 – 16

Sea(t/ft): W 6

Sky: Partly Sunny. Wow.

10ths Cloud Cover: 7

Bar(mb): 1005+

Cabin Temp(f): 61

Water Temp(f): 46

Relative Humidity(%): 72

Sail: Twins poled out full. Dead run.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 155

Miles since departure: 10,071

Avg. Miles/Day: 134

It’s a testement to the complexity of weather down here that the low due in our quadrant tomorrow night (Wednesday) wasn’t even in the forecast until two days ago. In fact, it doesn’t exist at the moment; its first recognizable formation occurs tonight between here and South Georgia.

I’m trending N, an attempt to get into an area where winds are 30 – 35 by forecast, which usually means 40 – 45 plus gusts in reality. The goal is 44S and 13W by tomorrow afternoon.

On Friday afternoon, another, more powerful low drops in. For it, there is no good quadrant to shoot for. All latitudes are bad.

The challenge with these two is not just wind velocity but the changes in wind direction. Both are well organized but relatively small, by Southern Ocean standards. If I’m in the N half of the low, I’ll experience NW, then W, and finally SW winds as the system moves through. But because the storms are small, their wind circles are also small, and the changes in wind direction are fairly extreme.

This can become problematic when negotiating the seas. What course do you take when the wind shifts from NW to W? Answer: it depends on which wave train is dominant. My track record at picking the right wave train is poor.

In our favor is that both systems are fast moving. If we’re fortunate, the NW seas won’t have time to develop, and we can take the seas from the W at Mo’s best angle.

Today is day 75 of the voyage. Day 75 alone at sea. A record for me (68 days was previous longest passage). I wish I could give you a pithy assessment of my mental and physical well being, but it’s 7:30pm and I’m in want of dinner and an early go at sleeping. Winds are due to shift after midnight. Sail changes will be in order.

In passing, I’ll admit to feeling the weight of the marathon Mo and I are running. In the eighteen days since Cape Horn, we’ve ridden-out three gales with two more due by the end of the week, and we’re barely half way to Cape Good Hope.

On the bright side, we crossed the 10,000-mile mark today. That puts us roughly 1/3rd of the way to the Northwest Passage entrance. At our current pace of 134 miles per day, that’s another five month’s off.

Some sun today. Immediate warmth. Foulies and rugs out to dry. And our first sunset in memory.

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December 17, 2018

Day 74

Noon Position: 45 01S 19 46W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 7

Wind(t/tws): W 16 – 20

Sea(t/ft): NW 6

Sky: Overcast. Sun broke out for five minutes today.

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 999+, rising

Cabin Temp(f): 57

Water Temp(f): 47

Relative Humidity(%): 80

Sail: Twin headsails poled out full. Running.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 151

Miles since departure: 9916

Avg. Miles/Day: 134

Would that all lows were like that one. Just the right amount of wind for a broad reach with a heavily reefed headsail (28 to 36 knots with touches of 39) and all in the right direction. We’ve been making steady and fast easting for two days now.

News: the sun came out mid morning. The deck of gray burned off above us, and it looked like we were finally sailing into the clear. This lasted just long enough for me to wonder if I should take a sun sight. Then the sun was gone, the gray deck reestablished. We’ve had 10 out of 10 cloud cover with drizzle or rain since December 9th.

Mo is in desperate want of sun, too. By now all our rags and towels are damp or downright wet. I’m out of dry things to dry with. As it did not rain today, I put out some dish cloths to beat in the wind a bit. All I can say is that they did not get more wet.

A day of domestics. We are flying the twin headsails poled out, and so Mo is more or less level (when not rolling), which makes some tasks easier. The head and galley got a thorough cleaning as did my head and beard. The water for this latter extravaganza came from the bilge under the mast, which catches a surprising amount of briny rain water.

Two days to the next low, which looks to have winds in the 30s and 40s. Six days to the next Rio Low. It’s one after the other this year.

As stated earlier, my wife occasionally sends me your comments. Thank you all for your Cape Horn congrats, for following along, and for engaging in the comments section, which I enjoy reading.

Here are some answers to recent questions:

John asks:

I see that you have some plastic material over the original windows that appears to be bolted into the original frames. Can you tell me what this material is and how many bolts hold it in place?

–John, the material is a polycarbonate plastic, available at places like Tap Plastics. As you say, it sits on top of the aluminum window frame and is bolted in place with four bolts per window, one in each corner. The windows are sealed with silicon, so they not only act as impact protection but also as double pane windows.

Michael asks:

It’s fun to follow you on the tracker but since that’s real time and your posts are delayed, I’m left with guessing what’s going on, like figuring out why you took that big jog to the north. So far one I’ve pretty well, and that’s fun too, but why is there a 4 day delay?

–Michael, the jog north was because I got stuck on the back side of a low pressure system. I had gale-force southerlies for a couple days and had the choice of stopping or going with it. Re the delay, the Figure 8 shore-based team is two very busy people; they’re working on getting the posts moved forward very soon.

Rob asks: What is the gimbaled unit in the video with Handel?

–Hey Rob, it’s a compass. See photo.

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December 16, 2018

Day 73

Noon Position: 44 38N 23 16W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): SExE 7-8

Wind(t/tws): N 28-33

Sea(t/ft): N12; SW10

Sky: Overcast (has been raining hard)

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 1000 (gets all the way down to 993 by evening)

Cabin Temp(f): 57

Water Temp(f): 46

Relative Humidity(%): 85

Sail: Working genoa, well rolled up.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 160

Miles since departure: 9765

Avg. Miles/Day: 134

A short post as we’re still working this weather. We rode increasing northerlies all night that didn’t really get going until after I was up. But by 6am, winds were 30+ and have been 35 – 38 most of the day. Seas are an awful mashup of N and SW to 12; the N seas we take on the beam. Mo’s being knocked around pretty hard, but is handling herself well and makes good time.

Wind will clock around to the W tonight, so I’ll be pretty busy till morning.

Nice to be going E for a change.

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December 15, 2018

Day 72

Noon Position: 43 21S 26 30W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 6

Wind(t/tws): NNW 12

Sea(t/ft): NW 2; SW 4

Sky: Overcast. Dull gray. Hard to remember anything different

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 1023, falling

Cabin Temp(f): 61

Water Temp(f): 54

Relative Humidity(%): 71

Sail: working jib and main full, reaching

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 66

Miles since departure: 9605

Avg. Miles/Day: 133

Becalmed soon after midnight. The sails could not hold their catch but spilled it and then rattled in disgust. I brought them in, switched on the anchor light and slept. Mo rolled heavily in the usual mix of southern swell, but my bunk in the salon is well below the waterline, and with a knee propped against a bulkhead for security, I barely registered the motion.

Wind again in the morning, but conveniently it waited until after breakfast. Light from the NNW. On it we’ve made respectable easting all day.

Another low will pass over us starting tonight, and as an experiment, I’ve removed the solar panels from the aft rails. One issue Mo has in heavy weather on the quarter is that she can slide slantwise down a sea and round up, even with just a small headsail flying. Monte always corrects this, but it can take him 10 – 15-seconds, and there will be a time when we don’t have that before the next roaring graybeard. By reducing windage aft, I’m hoping the correction can be quicker. All the panels are doing back there is catching wind anyway. We’ve not had sun since the Falklands.

In the late afternoon, wind went 20-knots and more, and as the sky began to look squally, I dropped the main in preparation for the night’s blow. Better to get it down and done before dark. I was rewarded for this bit of prudence by wind going to 12-knots, on which we now make a sluggish five.

Wind should fill in from the N by midnight and, with luck, we should have good winds for a week.

One Southern Ocean pleasure not found in middle latitudes is the constant avian companionship. Prions will spend hours fighter-jetting around the boat in flocks of twenty and thirty. Pairs of white chinned petrels will often join for a time. And from the outside, Wanderers swoop in for a long, slow inspection. But it’s the Prions that are the base-note these days, like chicks following Mo, the Mother hen.

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December 14, 2018

Day 71

Noon Position: 44 01S  27 42W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): NNE 6

Wind(t/tws): ESE 22 – 26

Sea(t/ft): SE 10 – 15

Sky: Overcast

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 1015, rising

Cabin Temp(f): 55

Water Temp(f): 50

Relative Humidity(%): 87

Sail: Working jib, broad reaching

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 107

Miles since departure: 9539

Avg. Miles/Day: 134

An odd experience, to have a low pass right over the top of you and then to swing around its backside.

A little after noon yesterday, our NE wind died right away. The barometer was dropping fast–997 at 6am; 987 by 2pm–so it was clear something was coming even without the forecast.

By 2pm, wind filled in lightly from the east; by 3pm, it was SE 13; by 6pm, SE 30. Overnight the range was 28 to 38 with many long gusts of 40.

I was up all night. Partly because I wanted to be available if needed; partly because all the bad stuff seems to happen when I try to sleep during a blow.

By up, I mean dozing in foulies in the pilot house or nursing a cup of tea.

Nights are cold. I stuffed myself into enough fleece layers for a polar expedition. Still cold. The cabin temp was 48. Everything I touched felt like the inside of an ice box.

When the wind went steady 35, I reefed Mo’s working sail to a nub, put her before the wind, and she rode happily with that, making an easy 6 and 7 knots.

Our couse, however, was NW, back tracking, following a line around the back side of the low as if it were a planet whose gravitational field we were using to slingshot us on our way. I wish. In truth, a low is more like a lee shore or a rock patch–a thing to be navigated around. Overnight our couse slowly arced north and then a touch east as the low worked past.

Light comes on early. By 4am I could see the seas, chunky, tall as two-story houses, and falling on themselves, but the break wasn’t serious.

I slept for two hours in the winter bag and dreamt of hot pastry fresh from the oven. Breakfast was hot (not the usual cold muesli) and big–scrambled eggs (dehydrated), hash browns (dehydrated) laid on top of last night’s beef and lentil stew. That plus two strong cups of coffee woke me up.

I’ve spent the day cleaning. For some reason, condensation has become an issued and wet is getting everywhere. Socks, boots, jackets, sleeping bags are all cold and clammy, and the floor is (was) slick with boot water (again).

Now it is evening and the wind is nearly gone. A high is rolling over us. What breeze there is will spin 180 degrees by midnight and die altogether.

Next low arrives tomorrow with strong north winds backing to NW. That should finally return us to a course with some easting in it.

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Date: Dec 13, 2018

Position: 1800 hours 45 34S  26 53W

Course: WNW 7 and 8

Wind: SW 25 – 30

Busy night coming on so brief note. As you can see, I’m headed backwards. This is an attempt to slingshot around the back side of this low as it passes over us. Wind has only now started to accelerate and looks to be steady in the 30s over night. Sharp, lumpy sea and a cross swell I can’t figure out. Starting to get dark.

As regards “backwards” I like to think this is something like using a close pass by Mars as a way of getting up some speed for the trip to Jupiter.

Let’s hope that works out.

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December 12, 2018

Day 69

Noon Position: 44 57S  28 57W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ExN 8

Wind(t/tws): WSW 20 – 25

Sea(t/ft): W 6

Sky: Overcast. A light mist.

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 1002+

Cabin Temp(f): 57

Water Temp(f): 52

Relative Humidity(%): 83

Sail: Twins poled out, reefed by half. Wind slightly on starboard quarter.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 164

Miles since departure: 9319

Avg. Miles/Day: 135

An off-the-shelf gray day. In fact, according to the log, we’ve had rain, drizzle, fog or overcast skies (well, always overcast) since December 9th. Fair sailing though, and all in the right direction, which is about to change.

The famous Moltke once said that “no plan withstands contact with the enemy,” and this has befitted perfectly our last few days of Southern Ocean weather routing. Having been driven up to 44S by the southerlies of our first Rio low, I thought to stay up here where the wind was clean.

Then the long range forecast showed two more lows diving down from Brazil in short order. To get over the top of them would have taken us to 39S, too far north for me; so, I dived Mo down toward our target latitude of 47S with intentions of going even further south if needed.

Then the long range forecast showed a large, heart-clincher of a low coming up from Cape Horn by week’s end. At first it called for winds of 40 knots and more (I read this as 50 plus) at latitude 47S with the low’s center barely below 50S. So, about face and I began moving Mo back N, while mapping out ways within the first two lows to get even more northing.

Now the Cape Horn whopper has been seriously downgraded. The two Rio lows are immanent, and its too late for more maneuvers. They’ll bowl right over us. Nothing for it but to press on.

Much is made of the freedom and ability to self-determine that singlehanders seek and get in spades. But this freedom comes with requirements. You must choose. Always the decision is yours, but you must make it. It’s not negotiable.

This is entirely satisfactory most of the time. But there are times when one feels overmatched and under-qualified for the task. The Southern Ocean is vast, volatile and inscrutable. Even the forecast can’t figure it out.

Napping. I’m no good at it. I may be droopy after lunch, but the moment I hit the bunk, I’m awake. This is dangerous down here where one is up in the night more often than usual. I have, however, happened upon an awkward but workable solution, which is to nap sitting in the pilot house with my head propped against the binocular box. I use the binocular cushion strap as a pillow. This position feels secure and is surprisingly comfortable, and here I can nod off with ease.

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Title: Don’t Do … That!

December 11, 2018

Day 68

Noon Position: 45 36S  32 43W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 7

Wind(t/tws): NW 15

Sea(t/ft): NW 3

Sky: FOG. A solid 24 hours of fog!

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 1011, falling

Cabin Temp(f): 61

Water Temp(f): 51

Relative Humidity(%): 83

Sail: Working jib and main, broad reach

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 130

Miles since departure: 9155

Avg. Miles/Day: 135

By way of explaining my tremendous gaffe, the below.*

Monte: (urgently) Senior, please, we must to have a discussion.

Randall: Certainly my faithful pilot. What’s concerning you?

Monte: I have just watched your nice picture of the beautiful waves and with Senior Handel and it is all very good except that in it you are … (Monte says very quietly) … whistling…

Randall: And…

Monte: (aghast) Senior, that is very bad luck! You must not whi … I cannot say the word, but you must not do it. It is like to throw hot milk on Neptune’s cat. When I was a boy on the Santa Maria, I would have been keel hauled for … for doing that.

Randall: (slaps head)

Monte: I cannot believe you do not know this. You have read all the books about the great Captain Aubrey. Your father he was a captain in the merchant Navy. He said you could whi … you know, that … ONLY when there was no wind in the sails and then you also prick a backstay with your finger. But may I to point out our current position is not one of being becalmed. This is not that kind of ocean. You NEVER, NEVER …. do that … HERE.

Randall: I know, I know … I can’t believe …

Monte: So, what is very important is that you stop. Now. Please you will notice I have put up a sign over the companionway ladder as a reminder. And when you prepare dinner tonight, you must “cook up a storm,” for as you may recall, the cook is the only person allowed to … to do that. May I recommend a pot roast of lamb, which is my favorite. And I’ll have some of your Madera by way of acknowledgement for bringing this important issue to your attention.

Randall: We don’t have any Madera aboard.

Monte: Oh, what do you call it then, that evening beverage you have?

Randall: Beer.

Monte: (grimaces) Oh, a shame. Well, if that is what you have…

Lacking anything resembling a roast, I have made a large pot of beef curry, which steamed up the windows something fierce. Monte seemed satisfied.

And I have stopped doing … you know … that.

*Thank you to my friend, Matt, for pointing out the offense.

In other news, I got the dodger door, the one that pulled apart when we were pooped, sewed back up today.

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December 10, 2018

Day 67

Noon Position: 44 26S  35 18W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): SE 5

Wind(t/tws): NWxN 12

Sea(t/ft): SW 4

Sky: Dense deck of cloud plus fog

10ths Cloud Cover: 10

Bar(mb): 1014+, steady

Cabin Temp(f): 59

Water Temp(f): 51

Relative Humidity(%): 80

Sail: Twins poled out full since yesterday afternoon.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 99

Miles since departure: 9025

Avg. Miles/Day: 135

Light winds overnight. The twins banged and rattled but were full just often enough that I didn’t have the heart to douse them.

Today wind has filled in from the NW but not with much conviction. The high has been 14 knots. The usual is more like 9 or 10 knots. Mo is unimpressed and makes sluggish way forward when she’s not busy rolling in the left-over swell.

I’ve changed my mind regarding strategy for the next two Rio Lows, this based on the morning’s forecast. I’ve decided to go under both and am now trending down to 47S and may go as low as 49S.

To go over the top, the forecast suggested I’d need to go all the way up to 40 and 39S to get reasonable wind. Both lows are (or were forecast to be) more powerful and durable in their NE, N and NW quadrants.

I’m not excited by this decision.* At a minimum, it’ll mean contrary, set-back wind at the height of things (southeasterly during the first blow on Thursday night and stronger northeasterly during the second, due on Sunday), and at moment the second low looks to be riding right over us. The only bright side is that both appear to be fast moving.

Rio is kicking out a low every few days this year; these will be our second and third gales since the Horn. My hope is that by the time the next reaches us, it’s diagonal course to the S will put it under our own course without us having to play tactics.

*The afternoon forecast does not so profoundly support my decision.

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December 9, 2018

Day 66

Noon Position: 44 32S  37 36W
Course(t)/Speed(kts): ExN 7
Wind(t/tws): W 20 – 257
Sea(t/ft): NW 8 – 10
Sky: Total Cement, rain earlier
10ths Cloud Cover: 10
Bar(mb): 1001, rising
Cabin Temp(f): 61
Water Temp(f): 54
Relative Humidity(%): 82

Sail: Working jib, three reefs (due to much higher winds earlier). Twins poled out full by afternoon.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 137
Miles since departure: 8926
Avg. Miles/Day: 135

The working jib out all night full in winds of 20. I could have carried more sail after midnight, but again I opt for sleepover speed.

5 am. I step into the pilot house. Wind is 25. I think I’ll take a reef.

On deck, I see the sky is intense with cloud, multi-layered, dark to windward, and the low clouds are racing. I take a reef, then another. Wind is a solid 30 within half an hour. By 7 am, it’s 35 and 40 gusting 45.

At 1 am, the barometer had read 1006; now it’s 999.

The water is becoming streaked. Wave tops are blowing off. Seas are piling up. Unsure of themselves, they have become bullies, shoving Mo onto her beam’s end as if for the sheer fun of it. Monte works hard to stay the course.

By 9 am, winds are back down to the high 20s, touching 30.

By 10 am, 20 – 25.

None of this is in the forecast.

Likely there is a meteorological term for such an event. For lack of a better one, I called it a Flash Low in the log.

Flat gray sky and middle 20s wind the rest of the day. A dreary aspect to everything, except the Prions that dance around Mo like children who don’t realize they are playing in the rain.

In the afternoon I lofted the twins and felt relief at the beauty of finally flying more than one sail. We’ve been riding nothing but the working genoa for days.

Now I’m following the wind for a course slightly north of east in an attempt to stay out of the wind hole developing below us overnight. Tomorrow, we’ll see. I may reverse my tactic of staying up here and run down some latitude instead. The coming Rio Low is looking more intense today, and I’d rather not be in the heart of it.

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December 8, 2018

Day 65

Noon Position: 44 23S 40 47W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ExN 6

Wind(t/tws): SSW 25 – 30

Sea(t/ft): SW 10+

Sky: Light Cumulus

10ths Cloud Cover: 6

Bar(mb): 1002, rising

Cabin Temp(f): 59

Water Temp(f): 54

Relative Humidity(%): 71

Sail: Working jib with three reefs, broad reach.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 132

Miles since departure: 8789

Avg. Miles/Day: 135

Slow bell overnight. Was feeling pretty raw and in need of sleep after the recent low followed by a night of mopping up seawater, so I left two reefs in the working jib and started sleeping at 9pm. Wind veered into the SW overnight and put N in our course–we don’t need more north!–but I let it stand until morning, and that was the only change to the wind all night. I rose at 6am feeling more myself.

With the day, wind came on a steady 30 – 35 knots and the already lumpy sea grew with it. I carried this on the beam for a course due E until we fell off a couple stallions. Then I decided to run N with the herd for a few hours instead of across their bows. Now winds are back down to mid, high 20s, seas are moderating, and our course is back to the E.

Noticeably warmer up here. I’ve divested of a layer of fleece.

My goal after rounding Cape Horn was to head for 47S and have that as my target latitude for the trip around, but I’ve decided to stay the week at 44/45S. Mid to long range forecasts show a developing high right below us, and then a week on another Rio Low*, similar to the one we just weathered, will sweep through this area. If I’m too far south, it will give me a few days of strong easterlies (ug!); if I stay up here, the wind will be strong but favorable…so says the forecast.

Why 47S as a target latitude?

Tony Gooch (previous owner of this boat) has spent significant time in the south, and when he circumnavigated in 2002, his target latitude was 47S and with good results.

Our spin around the south last year was also largely at 47S and also with good results, save a specific low near the Crozet Islands.

What figures into a latitude choice?

-Distance. The distance around grows shorter the further south you are. For example, I believe the Golden Globe Racers have a southern limit of around 42S. The circumference of the globe at that latitude is 16,051 miles. Compare that to 47S, whose distance around is 14,731 miles, shorter by 1,320 miles or 10 days at 140 miles a day. (This is idealized and doesn’t take into account the changes in latitude due to weather or the dip for Cape Horn and New Zealand.)

-Weather. Summertime lows tend (emphasis, tend) to have their centers below 50S. In a region dominated by east-trending lows followed by calms, the further into a low you can be the stronger your wind and the longer you’ll carry it. You’ll be fast. That’s the upside. The downside is rather obvious. Stay too far south and you can get the stuffing beat out of you.

Clearly one can have different strategies for different sectors. In the Indian Ocean, for example, I’m considering a latitude well above the Crozet’s. Call me shy; that’s ok.

So, we’ll stay up here for the time being and then trend down as winds allow.

*Rio Low. The lows that march across the south often develop further north and then swing down as they intensify. The one that knocked us down last year in the Indian Ocean began its ugly career just off the coast of Rio de Janiero. So did the low we just weathered. And the one upcoming.

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December 7, 2018

Day 64

Noon Position: 44 25S 43 51W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 4

Wind(t/tws): SWxS 14

Sea(t/ft): SE  10

Sky: Clear here; a front moving in from the S, the next system

10ths Cloud Cover: 5

Bar(mb): 1008+, falling with purpose (1002+ as I type five hours later)

Cabin Temp(f): 59

Water Temp(f): 55 (warm)

Relative Humidity(%): 77

Sail: Working jib full; broad reach

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 109

Miles since departure: 8650

Avg. Miles/Day: 135

My concern about today’s system moving in over yesterday’s sea was ill founded. There was enough of a gap, and now we ride the building westerly on a predominantly westerly sea. Small yet, but there is time.

Last night Mo was badly pooped. Winds were 40 – 45 knots for several hours during the day. Forecast for 30. Grand, heavy seas towered over the boat by day’s end, but Mo took them easily on starboard quarter with deeply reefed jib. Decks were not even wet for much of the blow. Surfing was infrequent and not fast.

I spent much of the afternoon going back and forth from bow to cockpit while experimenting with car placement for a deeply reefed working jib. I never got wet. Wind eased a tiny bit at night but was still 38 – 40 when I started sleeping at 9pm.

I’m dozing uneasily at 10:30 when WHAM. Mo lurches and goes over. For a second, I thought she’d go all the way. The sound of water in the boat.

The companion way hatch is closed and locked (as per normal in rough weather–and usually all the time down here), but with a flash light I can see from my bunk that water is everywhere in the pilot house. Once up I find no broken window. I open the hatch. The dodger’s plastic door is ripped off it zipper to starboard. I look aft; Monte’s wind is vane gone. Not broken, just gone. The starboard cubbies in the cockpit are cleaned out; all contents are on the cockpit sole. Sheets are trailing over the side. The cockpit is still draining water.

Now we are lying ahull in an ugly sea. I switch on Otto and grab another vane for Monte, thinking to quickly get us on course while I inspect Monte for other damage. Once at Monte, however, I see no other damage and the other vane is miraculously sitting there on the aft deck. I put it back in its socket and we return to sailing.

Below is a wreck. The water that got in squirted through a small gap between the companion way hatch and the hatch cover’s rubber seal. The hatch didn’t fail; the locks didn’t fail; the pressure of the sea exploited the gap.

Every cushion and surface was running with water. I grabbed towels and began the mop-up ritual.

The good news: Mo lost NO electronics in the dousing. Thank you to Dustin Fox at Fox Electronics for the waterproof boxes. Things that were out, however, didn’t fare so well: my two favorite charts on the starboard table top were soaked (the Antarctica chart was out soaked during the Crozets knockdown, so think I can save both). Books that were out, Gypsy Moth Sails the World and Frost’s Practical Navigation, got wet but are salvageable. Tool drawers, wet but not soaked. The “office supplies” drawer: soaked. The rigging hardware drawer: soaked. There was water in the battery compartment.

After a few hours of cleaning, I did another inspection on deck. Both solar panels were intact. One strap clamp holding the emergency life raft to the rail had opened and hung loose (one strap of four). The boarding ladder was trailing in the water, and the outboard sat on its plate slightly askew (that it was there at all is amazing). I heard a grinding noise, which turned out to be the hydrogenerator impacting Monte’s water paddle. The unit was deployed at the time, and the wave bent its mounting bracket slightly.

I pulled the hydrogenerator for the night (have provisionally fixed it today), did an emergency lashing on the dodger doors till a proper sew-up later and went back to bed. It was 3am.

At the top, I said “badly pooped.” Given what could have happened, I think we faired pretty well. Towels and rugs dried in the sun today, mostly. Except for the soggy charts, we’re nearly back to normal.

Random power. Seas were heavy, steep and breaking yesterday, but not pitching forward. Where that one wave came from and how it got us…I’ll never get to know.

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Day 63

Time: 1600 local (gmt-3)

Position: 45 52S 44 18W

Only time for a post card tonight. Mo is working through the southerly arm of a low to the N. Forecast of 30 has built to a standing 35 to 45 with winds mostly over 40. SE is becoming slowly S wind and is creating a real witches brew of seas, which Mo handles with aplomb so far. But we don’t have the full S wind yet.

I carried the blow on the beam as log as was practical so as to keep a NE course. But for the last few hours, and since the wind has built, we’re running with it NW. No need to punch into this system further than necessary. That said, this feels like going backwards.

What worries me is what comes next. A low to the south will reach up with W winds stronger than what we have now and well before this mess settles down. But that is a worry for tomorrow.

All for now.