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Pat Lawless Solo Circumnavigator


Albany, Western Australia to Hobart, Tasmania

Friday 7.10.94

Depart P.R.S.C. Seen off by Tracey Cameron, Maureen Timmerly, Stan Austin, Ger Kelly, Garry, Eddie Shmidt (Mike Voss and David, GWN TV Crew). Escorted out by “Naranic” (Jake Dekker, GWN) and “Pieces of Eight.” (Wiggy Salom and wife, and Jackie and Richard). Endeavour anchored at Frenchman’s Bay. W wind. Genoa and Main. Becalmed 21.00h. 1028mb.

Saturday 8.10.94 – Day 1

Main and W/Jib at 05.30h. NE wind. Reef Main 09.30h. Barometer falling. Clear sky. Good progress. Settling in to swells slowly.  Eating better today. Saw lights of a shop going west on southern horizon last night and another going east today. Barometer steadied at 1017mb since 15.30h. Plenty of wispy mare tails showing today. Setting sun pale and diffused. Bunk 21.00h. Motion fairly wild due to wind forming in seas all day which are beam on.

Sunday 9.10.94 – Day 2

01.00h – If anyone told me I would be on deck during the night I would have believed them, but not to haul sails, in a calm. Woke to main slatting, barometer down another 2mb but a fine starry night. Had not seen the Southern Cross for nearly six months. Plenty of motion on deck striking sails. Having a mug of cocoa as I write. Out of condition for deck work but I am settling in as I also am with food.  So far have only eaten two boiled eggs and tomato, ham, bacon or cheese sandwiches and toast. Yvonne, Gerry Kelly’s wife, packed a few sandwiches for me as I stayed there the night before departure and had bacon and cabbage that evening. Have navigation lights on now for the past two nights for shipping lanes. So now I will hit the bunk at 02.00h and see what the Good Lord sends me to receive at dawn. 07.30h just finished my first pan of porridge since departure. Got up at 06.30h and hoisted twin jibs. Woke earlier, maybe dawn at 05.30h but slept on. Will have to get used to early rising. Fresh S.W breeze. Sky nearly clear with some whisps. 12.00h went back to bunk after porridge and set up again at 10.00h, and had bacon and egg. Having a coffee now. Lovely sunny day, heard a plane three times this morning. Unusual. 18.00h eating well today – rashers and beans for dinner and just now, tomato and salami. Wind dying as sun sets in clear sky. Becalmed 20.00h.

Monday 10.10.94 – Day 3.

Up since 06.30h and it is now 07.30h. A little easterly breeze sends us south under genoa and main, as I have toast with butter and marmalade, and tea for breakfast. barometer up by 4bmb 1024mb overnight. Morning is grey and overcast. Slept right through the night. Have been very lucky with fine weather and light winds since leaving Albany, which allowed me to settle in nicely. Saw lights of another ship on S horizon going E last evening.

Not having wind at night is slowing our average speed, but we are not racing and it could be a hell of a lot worse. Being up so early makes one eat earlier. It is now 11.00h and I already have had my dinner of baked beans and bacon rashers. We have been heading E of S all morning. Day is still grey and overcast. 17.00h good N/way just W of S. Seas lumpy since after noon with light spray. Read and ate and checked course for most of day. Does not look like we will be short of wind tonight. Just finished my tea of boiled egg, toast and marmalade. Can get Adelaide on transistor radio now. Also Perth.

Tuesday 11.10.94 – Day 4.

07.00h. East wind, force 6-7. Barometer still steady at 1024mb. Difficult to move around cabin, but made porridge and a mug of tea. Wind from E now for 24 hrs. Good progress south. Under w/jib and reef main. Sun and flying stratus with small cumulus above it. Not easy getting to sleep last night but when I did I slept soundly until dawn at 05.30h. 14.30h – discovered one of first reef sheaves on boom had popped its rivets. So down main and to work. Tacked from port to starboard as were starting to go W of S. covered 100NM to S in 24 hrs ending 13.00h jib sliding block had slid off track when tacking so more work.

Wednesday 12.10.94 – Day 5.

Woke at 06.00h to main slatting. Down sails. 18.00h still becalmed. Overcast all day. Read and decanted a gall of water from aft cabin and fixed EM tiller as I assume at 37 deg or 160NM we are south of shopping. Packed some loose clothes in plastic bags. Had a salad lunch of sardines, tomatoes, onions and beetroot. Tea of salami and bread and a scone. 22.00h had been in the bunk since 20.00h or so and sensed a breeze so we are under way again to a light northerly wind. Opened up a pack of long life milk today so had my first weetabix just now for supper.

Thursday 13.10.94 – Day 6.

Woke at 05.30h to a fresh breeze giving us 5½ KN. Back to bunk after taking off oilers etc., and rose again at 08.30h to a lighter breeze and hauled down sails at 09.30h. Mainly due to various swells. More damage is done to sails slatting and gear, in light winds than in strong. Will start the engine now shortly to give battery’s a charge. Nav lights of first 3-4 days have them down a bit.

Nearly 10.30h as I write, after a breakfast of weetabix, 2 slices of toast with salami and marmalade, and a pot of tea. 13.00h unfortunately engine refused to fire. Looks like I have to bleed it. Fortunately the breeze came again at 10.30h and we are doing OK. Did my chart work, and as the crow flies we are 260NM E.S.E. of Albany having averaged 43NM per day. Slow going but considering calms and contrary winds, I can’t complain. Also I am nearly settled in. A bit out of condition and overweight after wintering in Albany, but coming around slowly. GPS is marvelous and I need only press a button and I have my position, speed and compass heading. Amazing. Must think of dinner. Had a cuppa and a biscuit at 10.00h but it is now nearly 13.30h. Becalmed again. Engine disappointing. First time since I have boat that it did not fire when it turned over. Anyway, God is good and we are doing OK. Day overcast and now trying to drizzle. 18.00h god was good. Found after bleeding fuel system that the pull out stop control was still pulled out since day of departure. What am I. Fine mist all da. Ran engine for 3 hours and all Ok, thank god, still becalmed.

Friday 14.10.94 – Day 7.

Hit the bunk at around 20.00h. No wind. Woke at 03.00h to fresh wind and into oilers to lash genoa. I had not lashed to deck. Just finished a cocoa now and biscuit at 03.00h. Wind from E. 10.30h just hoisted one r/main and w/jib and HDG. N of E. O Overcast cast but brighter than yesterday. Got up at 08.00h. Porridge, bacon, tea and toast. Sorted out a track problem on GPS. Getting things sorted out slowly. Slow progress but doing our best. May make up for it from now on. 21.00h yes we covered a degree of latitude with only 14NM to north. Lost. A wild day with rain and wind from S.S.E. Estimated F7 when I dropped sails at 20.30h. She lies a hull well with only the odd slosh into c/pit. Was trying to sleep before I dowsed sails, worrying about sails and mast, but decided whatever speed we were doing discretion is best. Nice whine in rigging now, but snug and motion much easier. Had a chicken and mushroom noodle for dinner. Excellent. You just pour boiling water into a polystyrene mug and leave for 3 mins. Had an instant soup mid morning and only 2 biscuits for tea. Just after a cocoa and a tomato sandwich now. May sleep now, as I was apprehensive all day with strong winds. Seldom seen ‘Loon’ going as fast as today. Broad reaching at speeds up to 7 KN.

Saturday 15.10.94 – Day 8.

A shitty and pissy morning as Pete would say. It is 09.00h and I am after my tea and toast and marmalade. Woke early but did not get up until 08.00h. What for.  Noise of wind and haliards only let me doze. I slept well last night, not worrying like yesterday. Progress is not always safety. Cabin ports fogged up, as we roll to a confused sea, as wind has veered S.S.W. barometer down 3mb to 1014mb. Will have to check rigging after this. Last night when dowsing sails I noticed snap shackle on main halyard was open and only holding sail by its hook. Heavy rain now 09.30h with poor visibility. Bread is lasting well which I bought last Thursday week. 1400h. Full gale from W now for past few hours. Comfortable enough, but for noise of wind in rigging and inevitable frapping of halyards. Very confused seas. Rain stopped and sky brightening, with odd ray of watery sun. Just had a rasher and instant mash, coffee, bread and jam. 18.00h. No let up in wind though barometer has risen 3mb since 14.00h. Strong winds now since 03.00 Friday (39hrs). Having a mug of tea now with a few biscuits. Not hungry. Have been reading since dinner wrapped in sleeping bag. Bugger all else to do and it is cold with air from Antartica. Do I detect lulls in wind?

Sunday 16.10.94 – Day 9

Wind eased slowly from around 19.00h last evening. Got up at 07.30h and we are on desired course under 1-2 main and w/jib. Sea state still confused and doing 4kn. Slept well again, only waking at 03.30h and dozing from dawn until I got up. Jumping around as we reach through lumps of water. GPS is invaluable. Feel lazy or tired after gale and did not feel hungry for breakfast but had a pot of tea and 2 slices of toast and marmalade. Sky still overcast with odd shaft of sun. Gale takes it out of one with its noise and motion and apprehension I suppose. Barometer going up too fast for my liking. Up from 1025mb at 08.00h by 4mb now at 09.15h to 1029mb in a 1¾ hrs.

16.90h barometer held steady. Did my chart work and find we have been pushed north again during gale of S.E and S.W winds. Slow progress with most winds of past week having E in them. Saw a ship going E. at 15.00h on N. horizon. Was n deck in oilers earlier intending to hoist genoa and full main but wind increased so will hold on though I could have it up at times. Wind up and down. Going just S. of E. since morning. Overcast all day. Becalmed due to swells mainly.

Monday 17.10.94 – Day 10

09.30h. Hard work trying to make S.E. lately with gale and confused swells. Woke early and got up at 07.00h and had a coffee and biscuit and thought breeze from E.N.E would fill light genoa, mizzen st/sle and mizzen, which it did for a while, from 08.00h. No good, so have engine on since 08.45h with full main helping. Worked hard with sails, but swells beat them. Having a pot of tea now with a welsh rarebit. Saw another ship when hoisting sails. Will keep engine on to get away from ship lanes and maybe pick up more favorable winds down south. I don’t know whether I have been unlucky with winds since departure or whether it is the area I am in, but I have had enough of it and I am going south. Was advised in sailing club to go straight for Hobart but it has not worked out. Albany gave a weather forecast of light N.E. winds for today and tomorrow on radio this morning for this area. So we have a high in the bight barometer 1031mb. Sky still overcast. Don’t know when I saw the sun last. Slept very well last night after getting up around 21.00h to drop slatting sails, when I opened a can of salmon and made three sandwiches and tea. Feel more like my usual self today, was bad yesterday. Very hard to know if sails will fill in light winds until you hoist them. Especially when winds are fickle in strength. Yesterday evening I was twice going to hoist genoa and was on deck in oilers and wind increased, and later I was on deck to drop rig which was slatting and wind increased. I never experience these conditions ever, and they lasted for most of afternoon and evening. Tem in cabin 60deg. 14.30h. Having my first bite of fresh fruit, ½ an apple with a slice of bread as a dessert, following spaghetti, instant mash and salami. Was hungry after working all morning. Stitched mizzen at head where stitching gave away (had to do the same with genoa last week and also w/jib). Checked rigging and wired port upper b/screw. In between steering under engine. Ran engine until 12.30h (3 3/4 hours) and have it running again now since 13.30h. If I was further south I would be at bottom of a high and be in a westerly wind instead of an easterly at its top, and if my aunty had balls she would be my uncle. Pulled out pyjama legs to put on under my pants and a sweat shirt to replace tracksuit top which got wet in gale. That’s all for now folks. As I finish my mug of coffee. Stuffed, I don’t normally have big meals. Had a mug of instant soup and a slice of bread at 11.00h. 19.00h and I am yawning. Switched off engine and 18.30h and main, which I hoisted around 16.00h. It stayed filled so hoisted genoa and we are doing 2 ½ it N to S since. Only for main was up would not have believed it, but sails have just given 2nd slat. Fuck it. But one cannot have it all. As Eddie Mc C once said “if it was easy, everyone would be doing it”. Will switch off myself now, happy to be doing to S. 37 deg again. A satisfying day without hassle.

Tuesday 18.10.94 – Day 11

First morning I woke and felt a little cold in the bunk. Rose 06.30h to another headwind, S.E wind about F 3.5. I have engine on today, and we are heading E of S. (170deg)

Have pyjama legs on under tracksuit pants. On top, t-shirt, shirt, sweatshirt and think pullover and feel snug, especially after a hot mug of coffee and bread, butter and marmalade. Had a boiled egg and toast last evening and then read until 21.00h. A few showers on N.E horizon yesterday afternoon and another this morning. Barometer still steady at 1030mb. Amazing. No wonder sails filled last evening. Just noticed we have only swell on ocean, all the various lumps of seas are gone. Was hoping when I woke this morning and sensed a breeze that it would be favorable, but at least it is not strong. 11.00h a cool fresh sunny day with the wind now nearly south. As it veered slightly, nice to see the sun again which always helps one to look on the bright side. Had a pot of tea and a salami sandwich at 09.30h and will shortly have another ½ can of spaghetti. Will keep going south to seek fair winds. Eleven days now and most of them are very contrary wind-wise. 18.00h under main and genoa since I switched off engine at 14.00h, though I had main up since 09.30h. Ran engine for 8 hours, heading due east since, odd showers moving still with barometer still steady at 1032mb. Unusual to say the least. We are down to 37 deg 33’ S now and holding our own on that latitude as we go east. Hard work trying to hold our own not to mind trying to head S.E. Will be surprised if wind does not hold tonight. Sunset whilst good shows evidence of wind. Glad I kept pushing for past 2 days, and will keep doing so all I can until I get fair winds.

Wednesday 19.10.94 – Day 12

Woke at 00.30h and OK and again at dawn (05.00h) and OK again. 83 deg. But at 08.00h when I got up we were down to 70deg. Eased, I said I might not get the chance, and as engine had done a good few hours I checked water and oil levels. Barely W of S. Since we tacked yesterday at 14.00h and until 08.00h this morning we made 65m to the north of E. (Losing 19M to the north). Whatever we do we always seem to be pushed to the north. We are 55m to the north of a direct line from Albany to Hobart, and 480m along that track on an average of 40nm per day. Engine off after an hour and we are back on standard tack again doing 80 deg. Very frustrating, but no hassle in the castle. Barometer 1034mb. 15.00h – Sky clearing now altogether and I have a change of t-shirt, shirt and underpants airing on floor of cockpit. This will by my first change of clothes. Was awaiting sun. Put clocks on one hour at 127 deg E. Stitched my warm sleeping bag, 2 small tears, was finding fluff. Must think of dinner. Had an instant noodle soup earlier. 19.00h. Sunset was an hour later this evening, not that I saw it as it clouded over again after a brief blue sky. Had a nice dinner of a tin of crab, tomato and beetroot, with a mug of long life milk. Followed by apple pie and custard. Pulled out a few tins from bunks to have handy. Barometer holding steady at 1039mb. No showers today. Looked out a while ago and saw going W to my N, and also a large school of dolphins. Checked on my fruit today and perfect. Rig up now 24 hours at 14.00h today, bar dropping genoa for an hour this morning. Wind holding steady in strength and direction from S.S.E. Changed my clothes today after airing, but decided to save water and not wash. Haha hehe hoho. Lucky to have wind at all I suppose with this high pressure.  

Thursday 20.10.94 – Day 13

04.15h having a mug of cocoa with a slice of bread and jam after striking sails, which woke me up slatting. Woke at 00.300h also and had a look and OK. 09.30h under way since 09.15h. Slept well after hitting bunk again waking up at 07.00h. Got up at 08.00h to a light breeze. Weetabix and long life and a mug of cocoa. We are on the same heading as yesterday with same wind direction. Entered position on chart up to 04.14h, 50m to N.E for 17 hours. Getting used to these wind conditions now and accepting them philosophically, what else can I do. At least we have wind and are going E. Forgot to check 2 melons yesterday, and I have a pack of rashers left which I must check on also. Glass still high and steady since last sun and S.E winds since Monday. 10.40h. Melons and rashers OK. Eating 2 of the rashers now, could have taken more than 3 packs. Tightened and wired lee upper shroud, so not much left on work list. Bread, last 2 loaves showing mould on outside, which is easy to cut off, as they are unsliced. Finished last of sliced yesterday, and last few slices showed some spots. So all in all not a bad 13 days and unsliced was bought 16 days ago. Overcast again this morning. 21.00h. Becalmed again.

Friday 21.10.94 – Day 14

Under way since 06.30h to an E.N.E wind thank god. I needed it after 2 weeks of headwings. Two weeks out at 07.00h this morning. I also needed a lift as my morale has been low since Wednesday when engine hiccupped and stopped after an hours running. I opened c/pit locker can for preheating fuel and it started beautifully. But I forgot to turn if of when engine fired, so that was probably the cause of it. I opened screw that bleeds the engine yesterday and fuel was in the filter unit but drained away as soon as screw was opened and lift pump would not refill it was it always did. However I will look at it again. If I can’t get it to work I will have to watch my lights etc, and it will make a port entry difficult. Shit. Must make a cuppa. Have already had my weetabix. Went to bunk at 19.00h last night to save power. Woke early this morning with daylight at 06.30h and dozed until wind came. Feel a bit dopey this morning. Probably slept too much.

13.00h. Romping along at 5kn since I hoisted mizzen at 10.30h. This wind and its direction are just what I wanted. Feeling better already. Just had a boiled egg and toast and marmalade. The first of Big Jim Wellstead’s dozen that he gave me along with a dozen lemons. A nice man, and a tremendous help to be in Albany with engine, fuel, and oil filter changes etc. A retired trucker who now has a farm and a wooden sailing boat. 14.30h. if this E.N.E. lasts as long as the late S.E. it should bring us to Hobart. Just finished cleaning floor of galley area, and tidying up c/pit lockers. Also washed a hanky in salt water and have it drying. Had a look at engine book and will check fuel for blockage at my first chance. Today overcast all day.

18.30h and light starting to fade. I had steeped some lentils and p/barly on Wednesday and cooked them today with onions and chopped cabbage which was nice. Put the usual powdered soup into the water and that also was nice. Still have enough for tomorrow. Just finished my tea now of bread and salami with tea and a biscuit. Great progress since morning.

Saturday 22.10.94 – Day 15

An exciting night with great headway and heading. Had to get up at 02.00h and drop mizzen as I couldn’t stick the noise and tension of speeds of over 7kn. Now at 10.00h, I am after dropping main as wind has gone more northerly, which had us going E. First time I used safety harness since leaving Ireland. So we are back to plodding along under Genoa. I thought we may have been able to pole w/jib out to port, but wind at wrong angle. Will see. Did 120NM in 24 hours, ending 09.00h this morning. Not used to speeds like that and I always worry about the rigging and losing the mast. Woke as usual at dawn and tried to sleep which I did now and then until 07.30h. Pot of tea and toast and marmalade. So I have been busy since, attending to my chart and plotting, toilet, deck work etc. A fresh day with sun and cumulous. Just checked GPS and we are doing 4 ½ ITN. So fuck the w/job me hearties. I can understand the old clippers doing 18kn in conditions like today. Being well found and well crewed. Must think of a hot drink now. Sun warm when out, especially with N/y wind. Found it more so in oilers working on deck. We were taking some thumping during the night and morning. Broad reaching, when you heel, a wave hits you below the belly of hull. Also at speed the lee bow slaps, sometimes the hull shudders. Would be lost without GPS. Went to bed after dark again last night. 15.00h not much to report since. Finished my stew of cabbage, onions, lentils etc. and its soup. Poled out w/job to port at 14.00h. Wind has moderated somewhat. Barometer down from Thursday’s high of 1035mh to 1027mb. Temp average 60 deg. Good sunny spells today. In fact the wind is on our port 1/4, so we have no spray or waves coming aboard and I hoisted w/jib without oilers. We are on a hog of 150 deg, which puts the wind at N.E. Seas which had built up when we were reaching have now nearly gone so motion is kinder.

16.50h was reading a book and came across a description of food and got hungry, so I have just had 2 rashers and a fried egg. Having my toast and marmalade and tea now. Tried frying the egg in an old round salmon tin and it worked. On the pan of course. So long since we had wind abaft the beam I find I have to get used to the rolling again, especially with food etc. Much different to being heeled at an angle. Genoa is loose footed and giving the very odd flap as we roll. I hope we don’t lose this good wind.

Sunday 23.10.94 – Day 16

A lively morning since I got up at 08.00h. The wind got up so down genoa at 10.00h and up w/jib and I reef main. We were going too low with it anyway (genoa). Even with present rig we are going a little south of track, which we are south of at last again by about 30 min. Another 100NM yesterday, most of it going south. We are broad reaching, and doing over 6kn and motion is not too bad, but was a bastard hoisting main before I lowered genoa. Maybe it would have been easier with genoa down. I assumed with forward motion, head of sail and 1st batten would clear lower shrouds more easily, which is always a problem. Having to stand on coach roof and trying to clear sail of lowers as it goes up and trying to haul halyard and hold on is never easy. Bar still falling and more rapidly. Down by 2mb to 1015mb since 08.00h to 10.00h, but sky looks OK and the sun appears now and then, which is always cheering. Opened another pack of long life milk and had weetabix and tea so far. Forgot to mention we were on 40deg at 08.00h. 15.50h. Finished a cup of coffee now after half an apple. Enjoyed it. Was on deck again putting up storm jib and 2nd reef in main at 14.00h. Read for a while. Sky now dark, with wind coming in gusts since it backed northerly. Seas not too big. Is it because wind is off the land? But short with odd one landing on coach roof. Otherwise we are OK and making good progress. 17.30h. Wind has eased and darkness will come early. Still grey sky with rain at times. Barometer steady at 1009MB since 14.00h.

Monday 24.10.94 – Day 17

Down to 40 deg 39 S and 50NM below track, which is OK at 11.00h. We are also ½ way. Did my chart work after hoisting genoa and w/jib at 11.00h. Prior to that had a go at engine and spent some time at is as we were becalmed since 02.00h. Got up at 08.00h after a good sleep, weetabix and straight at engine for 1 ½ hour without success, but will try again before Hobart, at 1st opportunity. Disappointing barometer down by 2MB since last night to 1006MB. Sky overcast and not as cold as y/day. 60 deg. (Wind due N). But then I was working. Wind picked up as sails were giving odd flap at first. You never know with light winds if sails will fill or not, mainly due to old swells. Must think of tucker or breakfast. 12.30h a nice boiled egg and toast with tea and marmalade. Heading S.E. with northerly wind on our port ¼. Have a few other jobs to do on list, while I can go on deck without oilers. 13.45h just back from dropping genoa and hoisting w/jib instead as wind freshened. We are now under twin w/jibs and hopefully I will get a break, as I am going since I got up. ¾ hours ago I was in oilers changing sails in a fine mist and now we have blue skies and sun, as cloud moves away to the N.E.

15.30h lost sun to overcast sky. 17.00h seas have built up now with strengthening winds all day. Speed down from 6.5kn to 4kn. Had other half of yesterday’s tongue, beans and apple around 14.00h and enjoyed it. Now at 17.30h, having a tea and a biscuit. Read on and off today.

Tuesday 25.10.94 – Day 18

Another exciting night. Woke at 01.15h to very strong wind. Slept or dozed until 04.00h as I knew it was time then in the interest of safety and good seamanship to lie a hull, apart from the worry of a broach or some other damage. Lying in a bunk under those conditions is to say the least not easy on the mind. So we now have a full gale on our hands with the usual confused seas. The wind had backed from N to N.W. at 04.00h and this morning as I write it is westerly. It was nearly day light before I hit the bunk after a mug of tea. So as there was nothing to set up for, I slept and dozed until 05.30h. It is now 10.00h and the barometer is up by 3NM from its low of 999MB at 04.00h. Had weetabix and toast and marmalade at a pot of tea and the usual toiletry etc. As we listen to the roar of the forties, must plot my position on chart now as we get heeled and thumped. From 11.00h yesterday to 04.00h today we should have made good progress in the 17 hours. Must say again how strong and seaworthy “Loon” is. The way she held her course last night and is riding some big seas since, is a credit to her. Odd burst of sun now and then is helping to brighten up a wild day. Yes we covered 75N.M. When I checked GPS at 04.00h we were going downwind at 2kn so you might say we are still on course with this westerly wind. Looking back through log I find it is the first true westerly wind we have got. With only 3 days showing S.W. 11.00h. Still seas and waves from many directions. 13.00h a cold day temp 60 deg and still blowing from W. Barometer up by 3 MB to 1005 since 10.00h. Seas and waves still very confused and it is funny to see waves going different ways. Still getting thumped below the belt as we heel and plenty of flying water. Had a good dinner as I felt cold. Ravioli, instant spuds and salami with long life milk. Did not have food at eleven due to rising late. Reading, bar cooking and navigation and studying engine manual. 15.40h was lying in bunk with sleeping bag over me reading, until I made a mug of coffee. Hard to drink with motion. Wind easing now and then, but state of seas prohibits hoisting a jib. Nellie would hardly manage either. A day of rest if you like, sun now and then. Will only have to wait it out.

Wednesday 26.10.94 – Day 19

06.30h. Very tempted to stay in bunk this morning. Cold and grey, 55 deg. However got up at 05.30h as I knew I would and it was cold, and there was a breeze. I was going to go on deck and then decided wisely to have porridge first. Put on oilers, and woolie cap Nellie gave me. For the cold as well as odd spray, or slosh as there is still a joggle to the sea. Anyway, hoisted twin poled w/jibs and they are OK. Was afraid wind too light fro genoas and they would be thrown around. Also put on a new pair of socks I bought in Albany as my feet were cold yesterday. Slept well last night in spite of noise from waves. Hit the bunk at 19.00h and wind was dying then. We have been pushed 30M to the East in the last 26 hours lying a hull and 15M to the N. Our bow was heading N. How bad. Put watch on ½ hr. Sun appearing as sky clearing at 07.30h. 10.25h. Had a short does as it was early, after usual jobs, as I felt cold. Just laid bag over me. Finished a boiled egg now with toast and pot of tea. Have wool-lined boots on for the first time. Didn’t think of them yesterday. Sky clear now with plenty of m/tails and whispys showing. We are rolling like a bastard; did not realise it until I lay down. We have a short deep swell from the S.W. and I am on the port bunk for the first time in ages. Glad I did not put up genoa. Warmer now with food, boots and sun. Temp 64 deg. Barometer 1013MB up by 4MB since 19.00h last evening. We sure had polar air this morning, carried up by low below us. 13.20h finished a mug of coffee now after having ½ of last large tomato and tinned ham. Nice with wholegrain mustard. On last ¼ of an unsliced brown loaf which has a little mold. Could have brought more tomatoes and bread. Working since breakfast. Checked starboard self-drain and OK, after what I took to be more water in the bilge than water. But then we had a gale. But never any harm to check. Checked lights batty as it is going up so rationing of light power has been fruitful. Adjusted heading as we were going too far south, after checking chart etc. Also pulled a few tins etc., from bunk lockers and refilled marmalade, coffee, oatmeal – daily used containers. One of the 2 melons is ready for eating. Had lovely sun up until now as clouds from the S.W are starting to take over sky. Barometer 1012MB down by 2 since 06.00h today. Temp 64 deg. So I will probably read now for a while after I tidy off. Lovely have hatch open today, and to be able to go out without oilers. Last time I checked GPS we were doing 6KN. That was at 11.30h, so good progress. I also reread letter from Helen, Pete and Dan which I got in Albany, and also from Mike Gill. They are all lovely.

Thursday 27.10.94 – Day 20

Where to begin. Did well with poled jibs yesterday until 16.00h when I dropped port one and unpoled starboard and ran, as wind and seas increased. At 07.00h, it started raining as I was going to think about bunk when a ferocious squall laid us over and tossed things around cabin. Had not seen anything so vicious since the doldrums. Anyways, it soon passed so left jib up and hit bunk. Got up at midnight to check heading and we had starts. Woke at 05.30 to sun coming at dawn at showing pink through p/holes. Not good. Very cold again so got up 06.30h and made porridge. After that poled twin w/jibs without success and then tried mizzen and w/job, also without success. So we are now under genoa and main heading south, to hold wind in sails at 3kn, in a breeze that is even showing some whitecaps, which is always a good sign. But we have a large shortish swell from the S.W. and other minor one that are fucking things up. So it has been a busy and frustrating morning. I also spent some time stitching the strong w/job, in between above, its horizontal seams at its head opened from its stitching (4 seams) and I had to refix a piston hank. Still have to finish stitching. Anyway it is now 10.40h after all that and I am finished a mug of tea and a biscuit, which I had while writing this. More mares tails in sky this morning. Barometer is up to 1016mb from 1010mb at 18.00h last evening, but I don’t trust it, all the signs are for wind and rain. Must finished stitching jib and get a few other jobs done while I can. 54deg at 06.30h. 60deg now at 10.50h. Wind W.S.W. 13.00h. I finished stitching job and dossed for 25min. Now I am finished off last tom, and yesterday’s tinned leg of ham. Wind is shifting in direction and fickle in strength. Only have genoa up now as we reach. Showers around for past few hours, but came to nothing. Still have large swell from S.W. 16.50h. Rested while reading and did a few jobs on deck. Sun now and then during day, which is good as wind very cold. Wind got up a little at 15.00h and I was able to put it abaft the beam and is has held since filling genoa. Having an early tea as I write. Keeps one warm.

Friday 28.10.94 – Day 21

Showers of yesterday afternoon developed and we got the edge of one at 18.00h which if we got the centre of it would have been very difficult with genoa. So at 19.00h, dropped genoa and hoisted storm jib. Mainly due to windward horizon showing giant black cumulous clouds and other factors. We did not get what I thought we would, but there was a healthy whine in rigging during the night and we got a hefty squall at dawn. Got up at 06.30h and how easy it would have been to stay in the bunk. Boiled egg and toast and tea. Barometer down by 4 to 1012mb overnight. We have seen sun all morning bar showers and a few clouds. Slept well last night and we could have got worse wind for all I know. Anyway I have w/jib up since 08.00h and we are going well for at 5kn. Changing h/sails last evening I found it difficult settling last piston hank on to forestay as my fingers were cold. It’s a secure feeling to be under a snug rig at night. Nothing worse than being in the bunk worrying over rig. Very difficult at times to know what rig to carry at night. Weather symptoms and barometer and a gut feeling is all once can go on. This morning we are at 42 deg 11’ S and 136 deg 16’ E and approx. 600NM to Hobart and 2/3’s of the way. We are in the westerly now for the past 3 days. Yesterday was an unusual day wind wise down here. Must attend to my daily work list and see what is urgent and if anything needs adding to it, as I am always making notes on a clip on the table, for non-journal work, etc. 11.00h. Just finished a crust, which is the last of bread, with a mug of soup. Have a ½ loaf (fruit) left yet. I thought it was like Sally lunn, but there is peel in it which I am not too keen on. But will try it from now on. Getting a squall now with a shower, and jib rattles as she rounds up. We still have the large swell from the S.W, which helps to push her up also. Otherwise we are holding heading. Was checking charts, etc., for Hobart prior to soup. Temp 50 deg. Barometer holding steady. 15.30h. Wind holding very true to strength and direction today, except in rain squalls, of which we are not getting too many. Otherwise sunny with the odd cumulous. Temp hasn’t passed 60deg and at this time will shortly fail. Should be getting Hobart shortly on transistor radio. Had dinner of instant mash and gr/beans and opened what I thought was salami. It was Capocollo. Shoulder of pork, cured in salt, something like parma ham or biltong. I will experiment with it, as it is too tough to eat. Have a few slices steeping.

Saturday 29.10.94 – Day 22

Was lucky not to have had to get up during night. Now 07.00h barometer down by 11mb to 1000mb overnight. Temp 55 deg. Just finished porridge. Dropped w/jib at 05.30h as she had started to round up, with jib head frapping in squalls. So we are now lying a hull to very strong winds, which have large grey squalls. Wind holding true, from W. Sea not too bad, or else I am getting used to it. No lumps. Don’t know how she held her heading in conditions we have. A nice roaring rigging. No sun this morning. Did my chart work and we covered 90N.M. in 21 ½ hours since we hoisted w/jib. I am yawning so I will pull bag over me for a while until day warms up. All p/moles fogged up. 09.55h. Sun was out when I got up at 09.15h. I must have been tired, now after a boiled egg and first rye vita, it is gone in and now we have a dark mass and it is blowing shit. Baro up by 1mb and temp nearly 60deg. Butter is the best temp gauge. Must say I enjoyed dark brown rye vita this first morning. I like them and I will not miss bread. I could not get that many in S.A. and still have plenty of rye vita that I had to buy there, but they are not as nice. Must look up expiry date. I also have cream crackers I got there also. Swell which is big is nearly W today, after strongly westerly winds of lately. So we are drifting at about 2kn slightly S of E, which is our track anyways. I hope we don’t get conditions like these approaching Hobart or we will have to carry on to N.Z. 16.14h. Having a coffee and biscuit now. Had gr/beans and some tinned spuds with the biltong I had steeped cut small and it was nice. We have had mostly sun from around midday, except for black squalls. Wind up to full gale since then also, with very confused seas now. Usual difficult motion. Reading and dozing bar cooking, and I have checked S.A cream crackers and rye vita which have not got an expiry date. Tried some cream crackers after dinner and ok. Barometer never reached 60 deg and barometer back to 1000mb. Added a little to letter I am writing to Jim.


Sunday 30.10.94 – Day 23

Woke at 05.00h to light. A cold night. Could hear a breeze but thought it would not beat swells as jib would flap. So back to sleep or doze until 06.00h when I got up to wind still westerly that I thought would hold a jib. Sometime it is plenty and others enough, now at 08.00h. I had my breakfast of boiled egg etc. before I hoisted jib at 07.00h and since then I have re-clipped dog clip holding one of GPS leads to batty terminal. It was switching off shortly after being turned on for past few days and I was hoping it was connection and thank god it was. Don’t know how I managed without it before. Also pumped bilge and turned off engine water inlet. I was thinking of having a go at engine but too lumpy at sea. Though not as bad as after gales as it was from the W and in fact pushed us 25m on our track in so many hours. Also it had overnight to settle a bit. I find I have to force myself out of bunk in the mornings especially if it is cold like this morning. Being in oz for nearly 6 months and getting up at 09.00h towards the end has not helped either. Anyways that is life, morning is sunny and cloudy so far, with milder showers than yesterday as depression has passed. Barometer at 0.00h, 1007mb up 7 overnight and now at 08.30h, 1009mb. Temp at 06.00h was 54 deg and now 57. Sky filled in just now and a fine drizzle. Sea state as I said not too bad, but a shortish swell from S making life tougher. Must put on the kettle as you do not feel the cold when writing, or chart plotting, or filling in log until one gets up. 370 M to my waypoint S of Tazmania. At 07.30h. Yes, now 09.00h and showers of mist or drizzle has gone and we have sun and high small cumulous, with stratus here and there below it. Looks like we are in for a bit of fine weather. Having my cuppa now with first slice of fruit loaf, toasted, for some time, with butter and jam and it is nice. Barry serving lights etc., creeping up with solar, as all I am using from it is GPS. If I had engine going now I would be happy.

Monday 31.10.94 – Day 24

08.30h after pot of tea and rye vita and marmalade. Did not get up until 08.00h to a grey overcast drizzle. Had to get up at 03.00h and drop w/jib and storm jib which were gibing, not due to wind so much, as confused seas. Yesterday we had a S/W swell which was on out beam which got bigger and waves from NW by N wind must have built up, as we ran. Heavy rain now at 08.50h which has taken wind. It was unusual yesterday to see the waves running in line with S/Westerly swell. So there is nothing to do only watch and wait and get some jobs done. A fine day yesterday with good progress and sun. Did not sleep properly last night until I struck sails, as apart from wild motion, course was erratic, with sail giving odd flap as seas swung us around. Must have a look around now as rain ceased and see what wind we have and from what direction. Barometer low at 1001mb, down by 5mb since last night. Temp 55 deg. More rain and heavier, so will hold on. A damp dull day, and cold, though the wind has gone northerly. We are 310M from out w/point 20M off Tazmania light.

13.00h looks like it is down for the day. Still raining. Baro down to 998mb. Lowest yet, since the Shannon. Wind now southerly but light, and before that from W. Nothing like hot food, made a pot of tom soup from tin and put in some tinned spuds, diced biltong and cabbage. Earlier I had coffee and biscuit. Yesterday I opened a tin of spuds and had them in gr/beans with more diced b/tong. Last night for tea I had fried spuds and an egg. Nothing to do today anyway only eat and read, bar an odd few jobs to get you off bunk. Windows steamed up. 15.00h still raining and cold, with wind beginning to rise and still from south, with a healthy whine to it. Temp 55 deg all day, barometer still down. Having a mug of coffee and a biscuit as I write, read for a while with sleeping bag over me, and then dozed. What else to do. Must pull out some butter, last part finished with dinner, was just going off. Let us hope other pack in bilge is ok, though I have margarine also. It’s only a day for the bunk and reading. Yes last pack of butter OK and 3 margarine still in bilge. Opened S.A. rye vita for soup etc., today and also OK. Could be reaching E now but will wait and see if wind that is rising will clear up all this piss. Anyway seas are tricky and it is a day for sitting down to a fire if I had one. 17.45h beginning to get dark already, though sunset is nearly 19.00h. A hungry day. Scrambled 2 eggs for tea. Still raining. Temp 53 deg. Barometer up by 2 MB to 1000mb since Midday. Will read until light fades, and request a good nights sleep (I won’t have to worry about sails tonight) so that I may receive tomorrow.

Tuesday 01.11.94 – Day 25

Well I must say I slept well, in spite of whine in rigging. Got up at 08.00h, from a warm bunk (I had left on my tracksuit pants over pyjama legs and underpants and sweat shirts on top of shirt and t-shirt) and first time I did not feel cold or in fact too warm in bunk, to a new low in temp at 49 deg, now at 09.25h it is 53 deg. Lying ahull now since 03.00h yesterday morning and I have not been outside cabin since then, when I struck sails. Wind still from south. Forgot to mention when I dropped sails at 03.00h, the sea had a good few phosphorous lights about a foot long by three wide. Like 2 corn on the cobs joined end to end and very bright. Had porridge and pot of tea with r/v etc. for breakfast. Rain stopped during night and sky is overcast, though we had a few chinks of sun earlier. Barometer at 08.00h, was up to 1009mb, a rise of 9mb overnight, and at 08.30h had jumped anther 4mb to 1013mb and is still steady now after an hour. Must get a position on GPS and see how far we have drifted north. Then I will get into oilers and pump bilge. I am comfortable enough in spite of cold and wild motion and noise of wind and odd breaking crest, either thumping under bilge, or coming on decks or cabin top. Odd drop comes through skylight even though I have packed around it with cloths. 15.00h having a coffee, and have taken to putting a spoon of honey in both it and tea lately. Anyways the custom to my S.A honey in Albany, along with fruit, salami and onions, so why not use it. I never seem to spoon it. Had an early dinner of remaining tom soup of y/day, with 2 days steeped biltong, diced, and an onion and ½ tin of beans at 12.30h. Baro or temp haven’t moved from 1013mb and 53 deg since 08.30h although wind seems to ease now and then, and it has slow swung W of S. GPS shows we have drifted 36m to the N in 25 hours at 10.00h. Have not got out of fur lined boots since only to go deck or to bunk. Funny how one forgets when things are going well, but TG my lip is OK. The only place I am warm is in the bunk. I find in the mornings when I write, that it is only when I get up I feel cold. I usually write after or during breakfast. Blowing now for 24 hours. 18.30h. First time on deck, or cockpit I mean, to pump bilge today since 03.00h Monday morning. This southerly Antarctic wind is lasting a long time, though it has eased a lot since the afternoon. Didn’t see the sun since that time this morning. Barometer up by 2mb, first rise since 08.30h. But no sign of budge in wind direction from the South Pole. Directly from the land of ice. Getting dark again early this evening as wind gives its howls every so often, as the depression moves east. Tomorrow should tell a tale.

Wednesday 02.11.94 – Day 26

Got up to mainly sun at 07.00h. Wind still south but light and with motley swells, doubt if we can sail. Will see after breakfast. Slept well again last night. Barometer up by 1 to 1016mb, temp 52 deg. Motion much better. 08.40h under main and Genoa since 09.00h and doing well in spite of biggest swell from S/E and others heading E. Sky nearly all blue now and barometer up by 2mb to 1018. Temp now 54 deg since. Not as cold today with dampness gone. Drifted another 30M in 22 hours. Up until 08.00h today, a total of 66m in 47m we were pushed north by gale. 10.30h just finished a boiled egg etc., as I only had a mug of tea when I got up. Mostly sun with wind holding south and up and down in strength. 18.40h. Good progress since in steady wind which is easing now as sun gets low. Will be surprised if it holds tonight. Barometer steady since morning. Sun nearly all day thank God and what a blessing. Opened the softer of two melons today and had it pre and post dinner and it was lovely. Opened a tin of ham and put some into beans and also had some instant mash. Was only reading after that so only having a mug of tea now as I am still full.

Thursday 03.11.94 – Day 27

06.45h becalmed since 06.00h. Anytime I woke during night and before I went to sleep, wind was up and down all the time, sometimes a bow wave, other barely moving. Very surprised it held. Must look at my list of jobs and see what I can do while I have the chance, after I finish my early morning cuppa. Clocks forward. 09.00h had another try at bleeding engine fuel, without success. So that is that. Also fixed shackles on f/stay, t/lift and m/sheet. Morning overcast with fine bouts of mist. Must think of breakfast. Seems like a long time since we were becalmed. Day 13 in fact, 14 days ago. Had to smile looking back over log. Lying ahull – up w/job. Down storm jib, up w/jib, drop genoa – twin poled jobs, up mizzen, main and genoa etc. One thing when becalmed, it takes all the decisions out of your hands, like course and heading, sail handling, etc., apart from maintenance. Finishing my pot of tea now after boiled egg etc. See or ocean as calm as you can get it I suppose. Our position at 06.00h was S. 42 deg 40 E 141 deg 07.75M at 06.00h for 22 hours and 250m from my turn N to Hobart. 14.45h sat down at 12.00h for first time bar eating today. Sun came out and has been with us since I sat down. Got my change of clothes aired in sun or c/pit floor and feel better. 1st chance for 15 days. Have done a bit of sail changing since, 11.30h to contrary winds, but now we are running under Genoa and w/jib to a nice breeze, barometer down by 4mb since 06.00h.

Friday 04.11.94 – Day 28

Took Genoa down last evening at 18.00h and glad I did. Put up other w/jib instead and under twins poled since then. It is now 08.30h. Have been up since 06.00h to a misty morning. Raining since 07.00h and barometer down by 7mb at 06.00 and anther 4mm at 07.00h which it seems to be holding at. Woke at 01.00h and twins were taking plenty of wind, and from then until 07.00h, port one was giving odd flap as seas turned us. We were running with the wind on our port 1.4 as it was N.W and we wanted to hold an easterly heading, so at 07.00h I put the wind on her stern and we only get a very odd broach as we run at speed, especially on crest. So apart from motion and jibs to worry about, I didn’t sleep too well after 01.00h, but great progress and in the right direction. Early morning always occupies me, filling in new days in log and journal, breakfast, toilet, checking heading, etc., and adjusting when needed. Still raining now at 09.00h but odd brightness appearing in a dull grey sky. Wind at times increases to the max we can take to hold our heading and then eases again. A worrying time, especially with barometer drop. Sails and their care is also something one is mind full of always. We are taking all we can safely now, so if wind increases I will have to drop port jib, and then run on a more southerly heading which of course I don’t want to do if I can help it. 16.15h an unusual day, sky cleared at 16.00h and wind went from N.W to W. with barometer at lowest yet 994mb. Had to drop Port Job, and unpole starboard one at 13.30h as we were broaching, and had made good progress under job only. Seas had built up which never helps. 17.00h a brief clearance as sun had gone again to higher clouds. Cooked a good dinner which was not easy. But I am used to it now. Fried some tinned ham, and spuds with ½ tin of grilled beans. Followed by melon and yesterday’s ½ tin of custard before dropping jib. Had porridge when I got up and a boiled egg later. So in spite of wind I am eating well. Don’t know how the lowest barometer reading yet is going to give us.

Saturday 05.11.94 – Day 29

Up since 07.56h to a cold morning with a southerly win. F 5-6 with a nice whine to rigging. Finishing my early morning breakfast of pot of tea and rye vita, butter (hard) and marmalade. Woke to light and said shit at whatever time that was and turned over. Looked at watch at 07.00h and at an overcast sky. Was up at 01.00h dropping jib as we were in lumpy seas and what wind there was could not fill sail. A rainy, damp, dark night, with more fluorescent blobs on the water. Barometer down to 983 at 01.00h and up by 2MB to 985mb at 08.00h. Temp 52 deg. Getting an old bit of sun now at 08.30h. Wind is very up and down. Don’t know what weather is going to do with this low barometer, but we will have to take it as it comes, and do what we think is best. Not too bad in the daytime. Nighttime having to get up, and the dark is not easy, or the cold. Anyway must see what we can make of this wind.

Sunday 06.11.94 – Day 30

07.00h don’t know how I slept last night. Took down jib which we were doing 6kn under it at 18.30h, and noticed one of the piston hanks pulled off. If I left it up I knew it would have torn, barometer was down to 977 then, and we had heavy rain since 17.00h. Barometer when I got up at 06.00h was 960mb. Anyways I was in the bunk at dusk, when one of the halliards started a ward dance frapping so that went on until I got up this morning. Maybe it minimised the howl in rigging which we have now, and heavy rain showers. Did not write much yesterday as I was more than occupied changing sails and heading, with a wind that went from south in the morning to NW last night. Yesterday morning at 09.00h we were 120M from Hobart Harbour mouth bearing N.E. Did not think the barometer could go so low. So with the way the weather is, it is out of my hands for today I would say, though we are being pushed N/E now. Funny thing yesterday we got 2 bursts of clear sunshine, at 09.00h and in the afternoon. I am beginning to think Hobart is out unless the weather changes fast. Tried heading N.E all yesterday and best I could do was E. Sun coming out now at 07.20h. Opened a long life milk last evening and a Weetabix before bunk and another this morning with a pot of tea and rye vita after tying halliard. So I might hit the bunk again for a while after a few jobs. 50 deg at 06.00h, now 52deg, but I seem to be getting used to it, though my hands are cold after being on deck. Again can’t praise Seadog enough. I suppose I am getting used to big seas now and taking her for granted. 10.00h some hefty water around today, but I think rain helps to flatten it. Yes dozed until 09.00h and made a pot of porridge with a coffee and biscuit to follow. No let up in gale, though odd ray of sun showing through much cumulus. Barometer down another 2mb to 958. 13.30h just finished dinner of instant noodles, R/V, melon and coffee and biscuit. Bar reading and a few cabin jobs checked my position as at 18.30h last evening. 85m S.E off w/point off harbor mouth or river mouth to Hobart. Mostly sun since 11.00h. Gale has eased since 12.00h, but seas and swells prohibit sailing. Barometer still falling and now 955mb. Bloody amazing. 18.20h just finished my tea, boiled egg. Gale up again in afternoon and still at it. 24M now lying ahull.

At 15.00h after 20 ½ hours l/annul we drifted 25M. Radio Tasmania said high winds on E coast of Oz caused a lot of damage, in Sydney and Melbourne. No change in barometer since 15.00h when it hit a low of 952.5mb. Imagine, it has to climb 48mb to register 1000mb.

Tuesday 08.11.94 – Day 32

Had to skip Mon. On Sunday night and Monday morning we got a storm and at 01.00h, we must have fallen off a wave. I don’t know if I was asleep or not as the noise of wind and water had made that hard, anyway all off a sudden, I got a belt from the fire extinguisher, after a terrible bang. She must have either fallen off a rogue wave, or was pushed off by a large breaking crest. Fortunately boat and rigging is very strong, or I would not be writing this. The cabin was in a shambles, with the centre cabin port broken on starboard side, and blood everywhere. The table top leaf had flipped off, and torn the screws from its hinges. Rye vita’s, weetabix and fruit etc. all over the place. She had been swung around and port which was broken was not to weather. Put a sweat band over cut on f/ho and made a temporary cover for port. Terrible flapping outside and went out and spray hood and w/screen, torn off and begging etc. Anchor had broken its lashing and went overboard. Fixed it and came in and tidied as best I could. Yesterday was spend tidying up and luckily the cut was not deep. Had my teeth in a plastic mug with a lid in sink and found them on chart table, which had also lifted up. Top denture was found in bits. So all in all we were lucky, I suppose. We are under way since 02.00h this morning heading for Hobart and cabin is taking shape again but a lot of damp still around.