CAPETOWN – ALBANY
Day 1 30/01/1994
Awoke and rose 0415h. Left letters to Bob Harrison (charts) Ray Cr/Shank (Thanks & Rand) Paul Tanner (Committee Thanks) & Bertie. Motored out at 0615h. No great swell until 40m off Gordons Bay. Then a variety of minor ones which makes us roll. Other wise no hassle and eating, etc. as normal. Two killer whales to starboard.
Shipping lanes astern on horizon. Under full sail to light S.W. Got a sat fix which puts V515 miles short of clearing Aghullas Bank. MNTS showing clear and blue at 30 miles. 50 miles from Gordons Bay.
Will be well of Aghullas Bank x midnight, 1850h. A whale blowing ½ mile or so off starboard side, spray showing white in evening sunlight. Keep blowing my friend. Listening to radio South Africa. Bunk 2100H.
Day 2 Monday 31/01/1994
Rose 2300h, 2 ships lights to N. 0300H Wind light – 0430H wind nil. Rose 0630H to drizzle and light breeze from S. Hoisted main and Genda. But poor heading on starboard tack, due to swells and light wind was only taking us to Aghullas Bank, so tacked on a heading of 290º which less 25º Var puts us HOS 265º which is just south of W. Which is the best we can do for the moment, patience my boy. Slept well between, getting up, as above, but woke feeling lazy and relaxed and still do now after boiled egg, tea and toast at 0830H. Can’t get over the way we sailed yesterday with the clean bottom. Will get a VHF forecast for today’s weather at 0945h.
No reception from VHF even 25W. Must be out of range.
Woke after a doze of 15m and had lunch of ham, lettuce, tomato, beetroot, bread and butter, coffee, current bun and jam.
Sat nav working. Headwind from 8th all day slowing progress. Sat fix at 1715H put us 25m SW of Aghullas Bank and 100M from Gordons Bay. 70m covered yesterday and only 30m up to 1715H. Have engine on since 1330H as we were not getting anywhere tacking in swells. Also I want to be 5th of the bank as S.A. Also we will be out of the 5th and S.E. winds, will wait for a wind shift tonight. Feel tired now. Found after my stay at the harbour that I have to get used to everything again.
Engine failed to start today, making a clicking noise at starter motor, so I spent sometime checking and tightening connections, one of which was loose. It then worked, so as long as this headwind holds, I will let it run in case it may not start again. Will hit bank shortly.
Day 3 Tuesday 01/02/1994
Woke at 2330H to nil wind and fiddled with S/STG until I got her on a hag, after dropping main, which took some time. Dozed and checked every ¼ hour until satisfied she was holding her heading and then set alarm at 0200H for 0300H. Woke at 0730H to a heading of N.E. Forgot to put on alarm switch, so stopped engine and hit the bunk. Woke at 0600H to nice winds which has us romping south under main and Genda. Had Mizzen up, but I thought it was causing us to meander slightly. May check it again later. After I look at jobs list and sort out priorities, what a pleasure to have a fair wind. Earned it yesterday with head wind. Settling down slowly to a routine with many jobs still to be done. Already I lashed, 1 chain unshackled and set below on lanyard and H/Hole plugged and greased. Standing riggings adjusted under load, as I did away with furling jib and had to alter fore stay length to be rid of furling gear. Warps and fenders stashed, plus engine. Started motor, hopefully it is now O.K. Ran for 14 hours yesterday, longest run since Holland trip said I may as well get 5th to Westerlies and it paid off must check Nav and see how far 5th we came. Won’t get a sat until 1400H.
Sky now blue after stratus clouds and one shower on horizon cleared.
Reaching under strong w’jib for some time now. Took a doze around ten and woke to flying spray and fresh wind. So doused Genda and main. Lovely sunny day with some high clouds. Just had bangers and mash, bread and butter. An apple with raisins and coffee now. A nice change from salad, although I know lettuce won’t last.
Enjoying life today for a change and relaxing. Still flying along under w/jib with a whine in rigging and plenty of white horses. Checked on fruit and veg after 10 days – 3 tomatoes will be cut up for tea after dumping 2. One orange dumped and ½ a melon dumped. Cabbage, lettuce and onions ok. Sat Nav acting up today, antennae showed fail 3 times since 1400H. Pruned grapes also which smelled like wine. Nav & D.R puts us at 36½º south or 200 miles as the crow flies from Gordons Bay, paucity of seabirds all day.
Wind increasing, just finished tea when windup to gale force, with rain.
Day 4 Wednesday 02/02/1994
Very windy last night with severe gusts, left w/jib up even though it was taking a battering to keep us off bank. Heading E when I got up at 0700H and when I hoisted main wind had gone from S to W. overcast grey wave clouds. Thank god for W wind to get 5th.
Wind inclined to up and down or gusty and wavering in direction. Tried engine to help us through very lumpy seas which are slowing us. No go only got clicking noise, maybe it is just as well as when wind is up we are being thumped. Shortish deep swell from last nights wind. A legacy. But I don’t mind as long as we make southing. By D.R. from Sat fix of Mon our position is 37º S x 19º E. So we are ok. If this W wind holds, difficult and dangerous motion since main went up. Prior to that we were only rolling and pitching. Had 2 sausages left from dinner, tin with salad for tea last night. Must try salami next, they don’t call it the Cape of Storms for nothing.
Working hard since dep to gain southing. Sea state beginning to moderate, slept well last night in spite of noise but feel dopey and tired. Would say I am not settled down to sea life yet. Eating well, engine and sat/nav not helping. But neither that important at present. Will try sat again today. Just had last of yesterday tin of sausages, one in a sandwich with mustard. Also a current bun and mug of tea. Making good headway with up and down in strength wind which sometimes whines. A whinging wind but I don’t mind. Would hate to be becalmed in this sea state. Forgot to mention I put on socks today as temp down to 68º. Day improved at midday with sun now and then. Big change from Gordons Bay temperature.
Dropped Genoa for W/jib, and put one reef in main. Was watching dark sky to w/ward since 1800H. But it seems to be soft. Still wind came up slightly and it is a bit early in the trip to be dousing a Genda in the middle of the night. Esp. after last nights wind. I can hear a hum in the rigging and I shall sleep more soundly.
Day 5 Thursday 03/02/1994
Woke at 0600H and could have stayed in the bunk until 1200H. But got up and set a w/jibs to moderate west breeze. Hefty swells from S and SW, inclined to push her to STB as we head E. As I said have to get used to it all again. Took me a while to figure out why we were pulling to starboard. Tonight we had caught something on prop again, even looked over stern. Could have twin Gendas up but thought they might flop in breeze and swell. Also a good many showers around with rainbows so don’t know what to expect. I am inclined to be over cautious as yet. What about last night, had to get up at 2330H and drop sails.
Becalmed. Today, day 5 should see me settled in, but I still feel lazy and over relaxed when I get up. However we are now heading E. Figure we are far enough south. Had a boiled egg for breakfast with 3 slices toast – marmalade and pot of tea. Had coffee yesterday hoping it would wake me up. Would be nice if sat nav worked. It would make life so easy.
Anyway we are down to the Westerlies. Just put on pull over was feeling chilly. Had it on earlier hoisting sails in rain shower. Have cords out drying, don’t mind the fresh water, as it only freshens clothes. Will have an early coffee break now, don’t expect to see ships for a while, but looking just in case. Must put on socks again too. Wind up slightly, so far so good.
Day improving, soft rainy showers.
Just finished lunch – salami, toms, lettuce, beetroot, bread and butter followed by melon. Prior to that was working – Nav & D.R. caulking and taping, pump hose joint. Was leaking water into locker whilst pumping. Set Genda to starboard to counter swells. So we are heading East after 4 days for 200m. To get South into the W/Y’s the day improved no end, with blue skies and a few cotton wool clouds, f not for the sun it would be cold. As even in the sun the breeze is cold. Great to be away from tricky winds and currents of the Cape area. 100m and should be East of the Aghullas bank some time tomorrow. Then as John says we are in open water until St. Pauls and Amsterdam I’s which won’t worry me for another 2,000M or so.
Making good headway in ideal conditions. Going to have a doze now, working again since covered engine and batteries set my sextant watch from radio time signals – stowed shore going clothes – replaced Genoa with jib. Dark clouds astern since 1500H. Got a shower at 1600H with wind increase but OK now again though sky starting to cloud up with more showers on stern horizon. Just finished a mug of coffee with a current bun. Checked cockpit self drains yesterday and tied two mainsail slides – barometer dropping slowly. 3MB since 1100H to 1015 MB. No joy with Sat Nav today either. Antennae not showing fail but no fixes coming up, still a good few items on work list but none urgent.
Down to running under Jib, only got the edges of three large black showers but got plenty of wind from them. What few windows left in sky show a watery glow. Anyway everything lashed down and secure on deck if it does decide to blow.
Winds of F7 and more occur down here on 5-
Day 6 Friday 04/02/1994
It’s either the five days have gone or the good nights sleep, but I feel good today. Hit the bunk last night at 2000H knowing I was under a snug rig helped, plus being on course. Woke at 0400H and checked heading and had a lime drink and dressed and read for a while, and back to sleep until 0830H. Looks like being a sun and wind day. Mizzen up help jib since 0930H. Nice whine to rigging. Could hear it last night also if I woke, even we were moving, Loon can take a lot of wind. Yesterday before I dropped poled Genda was the fastest I have seen her go. Surfing on a crest. But then it is time to reduce sail, as pressure on everything must be enormous. S/Stg – sails rigging, self St’G ESPY and without that doesn’t bear thinking about. Bard steady at 1015MB since last night. Nav and DR at 0830H, estimated position 80m South on line off Aghullas Bank and 30M N.E on that line. So another 30M and we will be OK. Would be nice to get a sat fix to confirm, 4 days of D.R. at 1700H today. Difficult enough moving around today but used to it now. Also being careful was lucky with rib before arriving R.S.A. taught me a lesson, will clear memory of Sat Nav now and put it on auto locate and see what happens. God is good. But as far as I know I am OK. Smoking last cig of pack of 20.
Day 7 Saturday 05/02/1994
Awakened at 0200H and main boom banging. If anyone told me when I hit the bunk at 2100H we would be short of wind during the night I would have been surprised. As we were lashing it. It is now 0245H as I sit and write, after a mug of cocoa and al slice of bread and butter and jam with a cig as we rock and roll to the swell and Diana Ross. Bard up x 7M.B. to 1022mb since midday yesterday. Will probably read for a while now and then sleep again. Fin last of white bread which held well, yesterday and went through two loaves of brown for mildew which is in good nick. Lettuce holding well in plastic bags, after being pre washed in salt water. Toms, cabbage, etc. A.1. Dangerous on deck with rolling after strong winds of last two days, while tying sails.
Got up at 0845H. Also up at 0600H with daylight even though I had curtains pulled. Still becalmed. Had a great breakfast of 2 rasher chops (got smoked back, cut to ¼ and vac packed) and two eggs, toast and pot of tea. Just tried Genda but I had not reckoned with swells, large one FR S.W. difficult to see horizon with it. Had another great night’s sleep and enjoyed being becalmed and not having to be alert. Temp 65º when I got up 67º now. It was cool at 0200H last night. Jim would have enjoyed this morning’s breakfast with all his talk of fitness, he eats too much and has a share of flab. But he was great company for that week. Might have a wash today. 1st since departure. My nails are black, did not get time, must plot yesterday’s run. Nav and D.R. now since Mon Sat navfix of 1730H 5 days. Which at 0130H last night puts us still 80m’s south of Aghullas Bank (whoever he was) on Lat 38º S and 40m’s East of it. So that is another problem solved. Only sailed for 16hours yesterday or two thirds of 24 hours and estimated we covered 60M. We are now also being assisted and the Agullas and southern ocean currents. Feel totally relaxed today and enjoying life. In fact feel as if I don’t give a shit whether we get wind or not. Though I do, last two nights of sleep great. Plus having got clear of that ill famed Bankwee. It’s a wonder I am not bald, don’t’ have hairs everywhere. Just after coffee and biscuit. Will have a cig now and then.
Look at work list, still awaiting a breeze. Still have the light one, I hosted Genoa to though variable, also swells. Got some jobs done from list – emptied and stashed oil lamp – decanted coffee and powdered milk – unscrewed “Loon” nameplates and stashed – plugged screw holes, checked melons and cabbage and checked bilge pump and OK. So now it is time for dinner.
Morning flew. No ships. Salad and salami again so far not tired of it. Mixed a few raisins (size of smarties) with it and an apple to follow and a mug of powdered milk. Have the old Gaspah now. Wind tantalizing from North, but not strong enough to beat swells.
South of the Cape wind very unpredictable and stormy. Having another Gaspah after usual coffee and current bun. Prior to that an after dinner doze of 30 mins. At least we are moving. Barometer steady at 1024MB.
Have sat/nav on again. Running with twin jibs, stripped to waist and had a decent wash at last. What really motivated me was I opened last pack of six current buns and my hands were all stick from the cling wrap and melted icing. I don’t know how they lasted. As bread and butter was bought last Thursday week and I left on Sunday. The temperature in HRBR being 80º to 90º. I put butter in club cooling box until Friday night, I also have two Sally Lunn which I have not looked at yet. Siphoned another gallon of water from one of 2x5 gallon drums on floor of aft cabin. Sails giving odd flap. Though wind now seems to have steamed. If I don’t spot a ship or get a sat fix, I will take a sextant sight on the 1st opportunity. Apart from it being nice to know where you are, I always like to compare my D.R. Sky clearing on horizon from N.E. to N.W. was overcast all day. High pressure must be moving west. Feel nice and clean after wash and talc and change of t shirt and underpants. Opened 1st pack of 20 to have a smoke. Still have a large swell from S.W. with other motley ones. As we roll E. soaked old T shirt in water I washed in and will soak underpants in same water also. Must put in fresh batteries in transistor.
Got BBC World Africa last night on batteries going since Ireland. Dropped Genoa for w/jib. Sunset bold as bronze. Would hate to be changing that poled Genda tonight. All snug and secure on deck. Bard down x 1.MB which is normal at night.
Day 8 Sunday 06/02/1994
Retired at 2140H. Still reading The Boer War. Set alarm for midnight, as I did not trust the weather. Alarm at midnight and all OK in fresh breeze and excellent progress. Set alarm again for 0200H and work at 0130H as we surfed and rolled at maximum speed. Dropped starboard jib and hoisted storm jib in its place and then dropped port jib, which is the stronger of the two. If I had not spreader light, op would have been tough. As we had no moon. Anyway back to bunk and apart from rolling in high seas, was like being up Bunratty Creek. Fortunately wind held true in strength and direction. Rose at 0845H. Now at 1015H after 3 remaining rasher of pack opened yesterday and fried bread and a double yoke egg.
I am well fortified to face the day, confined to barracks today. Bar odd hop out. Just back in had to gallop out barefooted to adjust Nell as jib had gybed. Couldn’t leave well alone. Had adjusted it earlier to get a better heading.
Wind now SWxS, so had to hoist strong W/jib to port, not that wind has decreased if anything, it has increased but barometer steady now since 0900H. We were going too far North with wind swing. Seas are now impressive and we took three on decks while I was out. White water in plenty but at least sun is out now and then which helps. Notice the sea is blue again. I always keep strong w/jib to port as most winds are S of W here and it would be very bad if she couldn’t take it. The other w/jib needs minding as it tore a seam before the Cape and is only a light weather sail it being 20 yrs old, but with a beautiful cut to it.
Big change from this time yesterday. Well I am both happy and amazed. Got a sat fix at last at 1426H. S.40º 35º -
Can’t believe I am fifth of the roaring forties. Read and had a short doze before tea of the first Sally Luns and perfect. Tasted 2 slices and had them with butt and jam and a pot of tea. Sunset again looks windy, sea state rough with strong wind since last night, was only out today when I had to. But making great progress, will read again now before bunk. Strong wind and motion always tiring.
Day 9 Monday 07/02/1994
Rose at 0500H after another great nights sleep. Would say wind down slightly, but still plenty of it, from same direction as we reach under w/jib, which is up now for two days, at noon today, still being thumped and taking odd dollop of spray. But I am now getting used to it. Boiled egg and toast and pot of tea. Sea state boisterous. Must be pushed north on this heading of 90ºM with leeway and waves. But that doesn’t worry me in the slightest. Would like to get another sat fix today. To both check speed and direction. Which will also give me a compass check. As I had no idea we were this far south will check log again now, since departure swell shorter and steeper today. More sun than yesterday but cooler 62º. Knew it as soon as I put my arms up out of sleeping bag this morning. What we would call at home a fresh day. Anyway doing 7 knots and with a current 4 knots over ground. Confined to barracks again today. Barometer up by 10 M.B. after holding steady at 1013 MB since 0900H yesterday.
Must see work list and what needs doing. If anyone asked me what have I done I would first say very little. Then in order, a bog, breakfast, log-
Having coffee and a biscuit after hot dinner of beans with a tom in it full and an orange. Not sat fix at 1500H another coming at 1800H which I put on auto locate. Dozed for an hour prior to dinner and read before that. Wind very gusty, up and down. Got a breath of air and dropped mizzen, I hoisted 1 reef main. Wind now stormy and we are broad reaching and taking little spray. Still have the short deep swell from S.W with minor one from south. Good headway in spite of mayhem caused and swells fighting it out.
Butter seems to be the best thermometer. Hard today. Barometer at 1026MB highest since departure. Just had two slices toasted Sally Lunn with pot of tea. Wind still up and down with boom giving odd bang owing to swells. But otherwise excellent speed. High sky between stratus showing mackerel, nearly finished reading The Boar War. No joy with Sat Nav.
Could not see sunset last evening. But it is setting now a pale yellow. A half hour earlier than two evenings ago. Which means we are going east very fast and also more south than we want to. Will have to wait for another sat/fix to know. Had to harden up a while ago and vang boom. Due to wind easing, as swells still impressive, will check before darkness. Imagine if we are becalmed again like last Friday in this sea state. What it will be like, the next hour will, or should, decide now at 1730H. The sunset and horizon shows pale, while the upper and north end of sky shows red. I predict overcast skies tomorrow or misty conditions. Read and fin Boer War and put on pyjama legs and hit bunk at 2300H.
Day 10 Tuesday 08/02/1994
After a rasher and egg and fried bread, we roll east again. Have meant to say how sea kindly and worthy Loon is, also s/stg, slept well in spite of sea state, which today is similar to yesterday again. Just back in after readjusting Nell. Barometer dropping slowly. Have cords on since deck work over PJ legs and comfortable. Temp up a little with WXN wind. So far without socks.
Having my coffee now with a slice of Sally Lunn with butter and apricot jam. Great views. Got a sat fix on auto locate at 1000H after plotting on new Indian Ocean chart. Had sailed the 5th Atlantic one which served me well. We are now 40º 25ºS x 29º18ºE which confirms my compass as OK and distance sailed since departure at 710M’s = 80 miles per day and OK too for 9 days. Have storm jib pole to starboard as I expected wind to strengthen and move to S of W. But so far today and wind holding very well. With sky dotted with five weather clouds. But I still don’t trust it. Even though Barometer only down x 2MB since last night.
Been busy since checked fruit and veg which bar toms are OK. Went through 24 toms, culled 6 and salvaged 18 and cutting off bad bits. Had half salvaged lot with a tin of beef and veg soup (½) which needs diluting, which I didn’t as tom’s moist enough and it was lovely. Had brown bread I had also salvaged from mildew, with it. Have remaining toms in salt sea water which should be OK for a day at least. Still have 12 good toms in egg boxes stashed from light. Glad to say the day holding well with wind slowly swinging to W of N. Will read now and probably then doze.
Did both and had my coff and changed to twin w/jibs. Tidied cabin and lockers and cockpit lockers and did odd jobs on deck to stop chafe, mostly. Oh yes, dumped last of bread and also curr buns. Still have Sally Lun. So its back to slates. Have a variety of slates this time including crisp bread and oat cakes. I also have Wendy’s cookies in a tin which I must look at, now I am going to have a boiled egg for T before darkness sets in. Wind seems to be easing.
Sunset at 1910H 5 minutes earlier than last evening. Enjoyed my tea with R/vita for a change and no harm to be rid of that hairy green br bread. Though in all fairness it lasted well. Looked at Wendy’s buns and that are A.1. It looks as if wind will die again tonight. But I can’t complain with the weather considering we are below 40S. Baro dropped slowly x 4MB since last night to 1024MB now and sunset fair enough. So that’s it for a while as I will now read for a while.
Day 11 Wednesday 09/02/1994
Finished my breakfast of boiled egg and pot of tea. Also up at 0500H to daylight and dawn, for a check. Just enough wind to keep us going through the night and now. Very nearly struck sails last evening after sunset. Hardly a cloud in the sky. An odd high whisp with over pal the large swell from the S.W. and a smaller one from 5th today for a change. Barometer steady at 1824MB. Since last night. Two w/jibs perfect as Genoa would not hold wind. Will be lucky if wind holds. Anyway creeping eastwards. Was thinking I was lucky to be at 40º as this high is to the north of us. Opened a pack of bread rusks (Duma Rusks) those old Boers must have been some men. Honks of bread like rocks. Left three out hoping moisture will soften them. Dunk and enjoy is on pack, glad I only bought one pack. Talk about Biltong, I don’t know how long this idyllic weather will last, so I will make the most of it, must put sat Nav back on auto locate as it seems to be the only way it works.
Antennae sounds it alarm today. Switched it off. Cleaned grill and fry pans and cooker, also took sliding stay from cab/door and fitted it to fore hatch which was short one which had seized up. Not long fin dinner of 2 scramble eggs with a chopped onion, coffee and rye vita and apricot jam. Sky starting to cloud up from North and clear to south with many mares tails showing since 1100H. All hatches open, must pull out some sweets, last pack finished. Wind only barely pushing us for last hour, with jibs giving odd flap. Hate taking them down but will if wind doesn’t improve. It plays hell with them at piston hanks. Barometer holding steady. Have been at it since I got up and will take a doss now. No ships.
Got another surge of energy after half hour doss and tightened st/Gllnd – fitted reef points to main – fitted vangs to whisker poles and stitched (double) and slides to main. Wind still light – jibs not flapping so much now poles are vanged. Barometer down x 1MB. Would say we are in for a change.
Becalmed. Just after two slices of toasted S/Lun with butter and jam and coffee. Barometer down x 1MB since last night. Estimated 72 m’s in 124 hours at 1500H.
Sunset, 1900 or so and not a bad one, except for long streaks, like the jap flag, from the W. Red tinge to Clovas in E.
A big change. Under 2 //main and St/Jib (see log) as it rains and blows. Having a coff and bis. Had other half of beef & veg soup, left since Tue, for dinner, between sail changes. Wind swinging Sth of East slightly since rain, so it must be a low coming down and moving S.W. as it displaces the high. I took it that all the lows were Sth of the stationary Indian Ocean high. But then we are not clear of the Cape area yet, where the two big currents coverage, with warm and cold water and cause big hassle. Anyway we are nearly out of that area now and considering everything I can’t complain. Between cal of yesty afternoon and last night and my DG today, progress is not good.
But again, if we were higher we would in fact have had less wind with high and more strong winds from this low. So now me hearties. What do you make of all that. Going to have a cigy now. Visibility poor with mist and rn. As the wind howls through the riggin. Getting my 1st taste of the forties.
Heavy rain now, as it begins to darken earlier. Baro and wind steady since 1700H. Rain helping to flatten seas somewhat. Good to see Baro steady if only for 1½hrs. Will leave rig up and play it by ear, though I don’t relish the thought of going on deck tonight. But usually it blows harder, when the warm front passes. We shall see. Slept well the last few nights anyway. So far don’t feel hungry.
Not that it would be easy to cook. Did cook, boiled an egg and I am on last pack of butter. Should have brought more. Was working off Madeira list and forgot I would not have the same heat down here. Was looking for a pack of Ryvita and found a pack of Finnish crispbread, I had also brought to try out and never did Wafer thin and hard but tasty. Lucky I am not a big eater. Would you blame me when I had bread? Doubled them. Am used to the noise and motion again. Found it strange after 6 days of Mod winds, feel replete now after grub and fin’g P of T with a Gaspah. Apart from motion the cabin is cosy with the two Fl/lights and we are under a snug rig. So far so good.
Day 13 Friday 11/02/1994
Where to begin? 1st heading after alright night. Tried to sleep and couldn’t so got up at 0130H and tided shelf where I keep log and this journal. Have a heap of stuff on floor for stashing. Ships papers, spare log books, etc. Hit bunk again at 0330H and woke to a westerly heading. So with a north wind and a large N/Y swell, we are sailing since 0600H, had intended going back to bunk and it wasn’t easy getting out of it but I feel fine. A damp heavy sea haze is around with sun trying to burn it off. Banks of fog at times, with visibility 2 or 300 yards. Very rough sea state now after strong winds of yesterday, and last night. S.W swell only barely there in fact it is hard to it now, with the waves piling up in every which way but we have now, after looking, two big wells from N and the N.E which convinces me that we only got the4 edge of the low and thank god for that as it moved to the N. No waves coming around, as wind just aft of the beam. I got the only one to come aboard when I was emptying the piddly pot and gash container. Had to change. Today is Friday the 11th. Some people I believe won’t even get up, anyway we headed N. yesterday until evening, reefed to the last (see log) when the wind went to the N.E. which put us heading N.W. Nothing so do only grin and bear it, and as I said yesterday we were well snugged down. It’s anybody’s guess now as to our position. Will try Sat Nav again, though I am not too worried. The nearest land S. Africa is 700m to the N.E it is only when you approach land you really like to know your position. It is now 0830H and no sign of mist rising. Had a pot of tea after deck work with a rye vita and jam. Will probably have my real breakfast later. Just fin a nice cup of coffee, with salami & rye vita. Mist cleared but sky overcast. Wind swinging W of N will put up twin jibs if it holds. Lucky we have wind to keep sails full. We also have a swell for the E. Barometer up by 1 M.B since 0600H to 1011M.B. Just fin 2nd cig of day. Have papers, etc. bagged for stowing. Read Madeira Fax’s, from Jim-
Saving South African ones for later. Twin jibs up and so far wind holding.
Dozed at 1100H and were at 1215H and felt hungry so salvaged lettuce from last head made a salad with some of it and soaked balance in sale water and Vac packed it. Will see. Made a bowl of instant mash also and had more salami with it followed by coffee. Am getting to like coffee. Got a few jobs done on deck. Retied and checked twin fore stay shackles. Must check rest of rigging now and degrease h/hole stopping. Day trying to be sunny in spite of stratus. Warm at 75º.
Had another doze of 20m after dinner and have checked all rigging and OK. Must stow sh/papers etc. which I tidied last night. Have them bagged in a Gretta Gibb’s bag.
Sea state settling somewhat, with swells Fr-
Anyway we are snug now and barometer showing no change, as yet. Since 1830H. Did my sums and to date we have, as the crow flies sailed 900 M.S. or averaged 80 M.P.D 300 M of that was gaining Southing. So we are boom. So the E of the longitude of Gordons Bay or 1/8th of the way, if I stop at Albany, or 780 more days if I keep up the average. Not long fin 2 toasted slices of last S/Lun, which held well and is the last bread I have. Unless you include Ovna’s (Rockers) Rusks. Sunset at 1900H looks fair sun set orange but showed a red glow in its sector. After dipping. Sky more or less clouded with stratus.
Earlier rain did not last. Barometer still steady and trying to rise. Opening 1st of life long milk and has 1st All Bran and bunk.
Day 14 Saturday 12/02/1994
Great nights sleep, under W/jib. Until 0500H when I got up (see log). Slept soundly until 0660H another of the small packets corn flakes this time before deck work with life long milk.
At 0950H nice mug with fresh S. wind. Sun burning off cloud and barometer up x 7MB since last Evening to 1018MB. Wind up and down as usual with S’Y wind and making a steady track E. Getting used to the weather patterns but that low to the North the other day had me fooled. May try Sat Nav again today. Odd jollop of spray no good for the sextant. Temp down also with this polar air. Butter hard had cosy on tea pot 1st time since dep. Lucky I got rigging, etc. check yesterday will be more or less confined to barracks again today. Must tidy up breakfast things. A nice boiled egg for breakfast. Should be away from that shitty weather, the Cape is renowned for it.
Dan is opening shop at home now and no doubt Nance. Monday being Valentines Day, I hope they have a good one, they deserve it.
Having a cig now after a nice dinner of beans & tomatoes mixed in – more salvaging – with salami also a lovely mug of life long milk. Reaching still to a fresher breeze now with a clear sky, bar a few small cumulus. Ex progress with plenty of A and roll now that swell and waves have built up otherwise like a fresh may wind and sun day at home. Read for a while after breakfast and took a 10m doze before dinner.
Wind has eased enough to take full petrels – black seagulls and other S. Nice to have got out on deck after being cooped up, read mostly all the faxes and Xmas cards, etc. I got in Gordon’s Bay. They were all lovely. Plus n/paper clippings via Christy looked for jobs to do in cabin but all done.
Finished last of pot of tea now with a cig had a few slices of salami with rye vita. Did not feel that hungry. Had a slice toast with coffee mid-
Bringing you spring at home and longer day, will be lucky to see it as there have been grey clouds to the W since the afternoon. Light fading now at 1840H. Barometer up to 1027MB was 1016M this evening. If it were not for sun it would have been cold today. Shave sock on since afternoon. Clouds hid sunset, but sky looks OK so will hold rig.
Day 15 Sunday 13/02/1994
Opened a pack of rash and had a Sunday breakfast of a rasher and a boiled egg. Prior to that I had rice crispy’s with last of pack of long life before a day’s work at 0500H. Woke last night to wind at 0.00H and was cold as I only put a pullover on over t-
A nice evening clear sky and medium wind swells though none big from W-
Coffee break and cig and emptied 1 x 5 gall can and kettle. Tried Sat Nav again no good. Aut/fail again, is it W/Vane? Also had a doss, slow headway in light breeze. Will get a few small jobs done after this and may look at engine. Also trimmed my B.D think we may lose wind as barometer holding 1031MB since 0800H and swells no help. Only that we are close reaching. Sails would be flapping like a whore’s dr’s. Still overcast but temp 67º and wind is light.
Wind holding but up and down. Did a job on starboard forward port hole. Also reefed and hoisted mizzen to see how it trims, as it has a powerful st’g effect especially in strong winds and I find can’t be used off the wind. So far so good. Also tied cockpit dodgers, loose folds. Pump (Bilge) the way is a great success since I sealed hose connection. I also shook out sleeping bag which gathers crumbs on bunk during meals and T/cloth. Engine is the biggest job now which I may do after dinner. 4 days now since a position fix, but no sweat. Nevertheless, apart from knowing where you are it is nice to see your progress. Sky still overcast with large wave type clouds showing odd blue patch. Forgot to mention at s/down last evening, had a flock of the black type s/gulls flying around us. Like crows in a rookery. Must see how the lettuce is after salvaging it 2 days ago.
Last of lettuce, with tomatoes, onions and salami with currants for dinner and nice. Being Sunday I am going to read for a while. Have the important jobs fin and I missed my sleep last night. What am I? A hard working boy. Wind dying, even with both booms vanged. Sail giving more than the odd slat have fin the book I was reading. Coffeeing now, sky still the same. Just keeping E of N to S.E breeze. That is now up again. Barometer still at 1031MB. Didn’t feel hungry since big breakfast so will probably eat later. Still no ship. Two weeks now. Cool out, since temp in cabin 67º and OK.
Sunset behind clouds but glow says OK with wind, wind teasing – as sometimes we are flying and other times flapping. Will see, before I hit the bunk as I don’t want a repeat of last night. UGH.
Sails down – before I had my late T, of a rash and inst spud, there was no doubt that the wind was gone. So now we rock and roll. One good thing about this high is a great transistor reception. Barometer now 1032 MB. Doubt if we will see a breeze if even then and evening. Enjoyed my tea and will now read again so EE-
Day 16 Monday 14/02/1994
With a cig, after breakfast of porridge, rashers and the last of pack and rye vita toasted with rasher fat and a pot of tea. Woke at 0400H and listened to BBC world service. Must have slept well. Got up with false dawn feeling. No sweat in these calm conditions, which won’t bring us to Australia fast, but they are pleasant. A mild grey evening with min swells, from S.W and W. which are on our stern, as the same S.E. air keeps us stead. Great peace on the Southern Ocean today with Barometer holding at 1032 MB apart from having enough sleep, it was the hunger drove me from bunk. As above will testify. Would say Nance is awake now if not up at 9040H Irish time. Hope you make plenty of lolly. As I said before, you are some woman and more luck to you and all the family. Beginning to feel drowsy and now after GRVA, so will have a doze.
Woke at 0900H and tidied and washed up. Enjoying a coffee now, as I was thirsty after breakfast. Sun trying to break out of motley collection of clouds. All fair weather type. Birds scare when kind light, they are all of the gliding variety and are beautiful to watch. Two albatross’ which look like the size of a cygnet, sitting on water now, with one beating the water with his beak. Clearing the fat from grill pan from it. There seems to be more wind now than earlier but still not enough to hoist a sale to. Must have r. and cog of day now. Sun warm now. Took pioneer off earlier, now socks and track suit legs which leaves me in pyjama legs, t-
Great news, gave the engine a thorough check, thinking I needed it in the future. It would at least be right. Checked fuel oil and water, greased batty terms and all connections and fuel and stop cock valves. That done I checked every electrical connection on start motor and all others and said a prayer to she who never lets me down. Switched on and away she goes, thank god. We are under engine now since 1110H and I will give it a good run, unless we get a breeze. So far we are making our own wind, out of the light S.E. ad have main up to assist Nell.
That is great now and if it stays working it will make life so much easier for me in so many ways. Especially entering a harbour. Not to mind Batty charging and my own peace of mind. It hasn’t been running now since 31.1.94 and indeed I was sure it was on the blink. So now, had a tin of sardines before all this, with tomatoes and rye vita and a mug of powdered milk.
Now I am having a mug of coffee with a biscuit and I will now have a smoke.
Ran engine until now. Was tired from constantly adjusting Nell in fickle breeze, getting a few drops of rain from large shower which showed up to south around noon and is still around. But nearer a dull heave day. But a great one for me. Let us hope engine will be OK now, PG. Must eat, my routine is upset with early start.
Sunset 1845H diffused, large and blinding brassy but when set, sky was rosy in its sector. Finished pot of tea after a boiled egg and rye vita. Had a few crackers and salami around 1600H with more tea. Becalmed now for nearly 24H but now breeze. Still from S.E seems to be freshening a little. Though shower still to the S.E has grown bigger. Will give it a while and see. Barometer still steady. Will read now.
Day 17 Tuesday 15/02/1994
Found it hard to get to sleep last night. Maybe I was o/tired. But found it harder to get up this evening. Woke at 0600H and 0700H and did not get up until 0800H. But there was no rush anyway. We have a F.4 but it is from the S/E ad that best that will give us less var which is now 300W is E of North. Barometer still steady. Finished a pot of tea after 2 rye vita and marmalade. Don’t feel hungry. Had some of Jim’s nuts which he brought from Bahrain, last night. Which I thought were like a ball in my belly. But I think it was the early start yesterday, which put my meal times astray and then the excitement of the engine. Anyway I will hoist sails now shortly and after a Gaspah it is now 0845H and we are getting the odd thump as we lie beam on the wind and weather. Getting sense in my old age and not rushing into things. Sky overcast with big layered soft clouds. But it is bright to wind’d horizon. This the longest spell of high pressure (last Sat) with contrary winds and cloud progress. But without hassles I must say was productive in that it gave me an oppo to get engine working and checked out, which is worth diamonds. Along with other work. So now we will up and RT it. Enjoyed the pot of tea.
Under way and close reaching with main and w/jib. After having been becalmed since Sunday evening. Motion a bit wild. But good progress breeze of last evening freshened for a while as we probably hot hit x rain shower but it did not last. Anyway we are under way and may clear this S.E. wind and start going E again.
Having a nice mug of coffee with a thick slice of toast with last of butter on it. Amazing how currant bread lasts. Ann Mac’s spotted dick was the 1st time I discovered it. Sky showing a few windows of blue had chart out since and was checking my D.R as it is now 5 days since fix. Difficult to plot as we have now been pushed N.A. lot even W. in last gale. But I estimate we should be near 33º E. Have sat nav on auto locate for past 4 days without success. Anyway no hassle and no oppo for the sextant. Will only have to be patient in tricky winds and calms. Not alone are there no ships, I have not seen a scrap a rubbish or flotsam since I saw a branch of a tree the day I sailed out from Gordans Bay. Plenty of bird life today with wind. What they fee on is beyond me, for I have yet to see them feeding. But whatever it is they do eat, is certainly good, as they never stop wheeling and diving.
We have a few smaller ones today. That in between gliding, fly like snipe. Saw a black albatross yesterday.
Day brightening now at 11.40. Must check fruit as it is a week since last check. Which won’t b easy with motion. Will be eating salads until the toms are all salvaged and what else to have in it. Only salami ½ CM/apple and chopped onion. Having a nice mug of coffee now with a biscuit. Still have two heads cabbage. Hope you all got your valentine cards yesterday and that Nance, Dan and Pete are grinning from ear to ear with full pockets. Still no swing to this S/E wind. In fact there is a swell from the S/E today and with intermediate waves
We are taking odd lash of spray today. Only into the cockpit so far. Wind now ExS and easing somewhat. Barometer down x 2m since 1400H. Will wait a while and see. Don’t mind going N. But not W of it. Having one of Wendy’s nutmeg cookies which are just growing cobwebs here and there. So took them from tin and also will wait and see. On first of margarine and lovely. I noticed that in Gordons Bay when I bought it in the local shop. Very nice. Alan, the man (Scarborough) owned it, n/papers – ices, pies and sandwiches. Jim and himself on well as did I. A nice man.
Did not see sunset but glow through skylights OK but no rosy glow. It looks as if we are out of the high centre as wind is steady and barometer dropping. Fin the usual T with a cig now after a nice boiled egg. Are the halcyon days over for a while. Barometer down x 4 MB since evening and 3 of them since 1400H. So far nothing to worry about. Still heading just E of N since 1400H. No joy with Sat/Nav today either. Under main and W/Jib since I got up and will carry on with it unless wind strengthen. Bunk 2100H.
Day 18 Wednesday 16/02/1994
Wind up slightly and motion and noise work me at 0030H so I wasn’t sleeping after that, so got up at 0240H. Now at 0330H after a pan of porridge, I will make T and await dawn and reading. If I don’t take a reef in main before then. Barometer falling all the time but slowly.
Took in reef at 0430H to pre dawn lights back to bunk. Tacked 0800H as wind had gone north so at last we are heading east at a good speed. Warm in oilers on deck as it is a dull o/cast and humid day. Just after my pot of tea and 2 rye vita with marmalade, very difficult abound as we reach east. Rocking and rolling and heeling.
Been on deck again, wind rose and over canvassed. See log. Only wore pyjama legs and t-
Sky has cleared giving burst of sun through high layered grey clouds short seas doing their best to slow us. Had a mug of coffee since with rye vita and salami. Salami is great and so tasty and easy. Only a small cup left now since 1st one have five more left. Read for a while also. Feeling tired now after broken sleep and deck work. Noise of wind in rigging and slap and thump of waves and motion is also tiring as is the air and ozone. Few birds to be seen today. Will have a doze.
Not the best day to write. Housebound, since I changed jibs with little change in dir and strength of wind. Seas have got more lumpy. But I don’t give a shit. We are going E and it is great after nearly a week of calms and head winds. I was beginning to wonder where we ever going to get out of that S/E wind. Let us hope we have seen the back of it and the E also. The calm I could take. Dozed off at 1400H and work at 1445H and had a salad as yesterday with a mug of coffee to follow with break n jam if you don’t mind Oumas rusks. The few left in plastic bin had softened with the dampness. They are the same as if you cut a cottage loaf into chunks crusts and all. So we will have bread for another day or two. Have been reading since along with having the odd scan, tidying etc. The day clouded up again at 1600H. A dull feathery grey with one streak of blue now to the S/E. I am again used to the motion now if one could ever get used to it. But I am more used to it than I was this evening. It is now 1950H and it will get dark early tonight. There was a good glow in the east this evening, when I hit the bunk at 0500H. Would have liked to have waited for sunup but I was bushed. Will put on a boiled egg now and toast OUMAS rusks.
No sign of sunset only a few watery streaks glowing through a few lines in grey o/cast sky. Wind seems to be up slightly, but it is only gusty, will read for a while and bunk early. I am on starboard bunk since this evening after tacking.
Day 19 Thursday 17/02/1994
Considering everything I slept well. Woke at 0430H and 0600H when we were going slightly high. Got up at 0700H and after breakfast of tea and 2 rye vita and marmalade. You don’t feel like a big breakfast in these wild conditions, took in 2nd reef in main and adjusted well to heading at 0700H. A clear blue sky now at 0845H with very strong wind. We are not taking as much water on deck since we bore off and going as fast. The ocean is very beautiful today, in its wildness and colours and so clean looking. Still very warm 74º now and humidity of yesterday is gone. Put on my old cord sawn off’s and top of oilers over t-
I am trying to soften some toasted OUMA rock before I can chew it. Grilled it with a rasher very hard but nice when it softens. Rasher nice also and a change on this wild and sunny day. I am writing as I eat and sipping coffee. Have got the hang of eating and cooking in wild weather over the years at sea. But I still have to plan ahead before each move or mouthful. Still thinking of Jim and the good times and fun we had. What about him rounding the Cape. Must start writing to him while my mind is so full of happy memories. Still trying to set a fix on sat nav. In spite of short steep seas, with crests, we are taking very few waves aboard or spray as we are broad reaching and making excellent headway. The odd thump under the bilge as we roll on a wave. Swell will develop if wind holds direction.
Had dinner at 1200H instead of 11’s. Opened 2nd salami and last of tom’s with a blemish. Have about 8 left unblemished. I hope, anyway they are good eating. Read for a while, then dozed for 30m. Now after my 1st tin of rice and lovely. Still flying it E under 2 r/main and storm jib. With wind holding and true in strength and direction. Very lumpy seas now. Would doubt if we could run in these seas and if so certainly not as fast. A good few vapour clouds now, flying south but light and not blocking sun. House bound again today. Took one wave crest into cock pit.
Barometer up x 1MB to 1016mb. 1st move it made since 0700H temp 78º with N. wind.
Sky now veiled with thin layer of stratus. With pale sun peering through. Having a mug of T for a change and of course, the ould gasper. I do believe the wind has eased, slightly. Was looking at some nice lumps of water while waiting on kettle.
Day 20 Friday 18/02/1994
Not much more to relate yesterday. No wind did not ease only up and down – gusty -
Hoisted Rats EY w/jib and full main. Now I am going to have a mug of coffee, before I even look at w/list. May bet a sextant sight today, if sun breaks through status banks temp still high with N. Wind and this morning dampness in everything, especially where salt water touched. My long deck work cords a ton weight. Must have a wash and change u/clothes. In same t-
Last wen now since a fix 8 days – sun appearing. Put an estimate 38ºS 40 ºE into sat/nav for a change as auto locate no good. Enjoyed that coffee and a biscuit. Today is pleasant after 14H of strong winds, sea state reasonable and I am enjoying the pleasant change. We could be going faster if had put up Genoa but it would mean pulling it and we are doing OK as we are, without any hassle. Have fore hatch open, have a lot of work on list seal port holes, grease h/hole check s/drain, as I thought water took a long time to drain yesterday. It’s looking like a good day for sextant sight. One advantage of early rising is I have already dipped fuel tanks, checked self drains – checked engine – oil and water and g/box x oil and greased all el connections inc batty terminals and solar dog clips. I have engine running now and will run for an hour to dry out after gale. I also tightened st/glb held my breath and said a prayer again to she who never fails me, prior to switching on engine. Isn’t it marvellous thank god feel tired now after non stop work. Not used to it but it is good for me and boat. Unbroken sun with blue sky for over an hr now and how lovely it is. Hope wind holds.
Enjoying rye vita with cheese slices, from sliced pack with wholegrain mustard. A nice change with a mug of tea. Next job is a noon sight at what time? Will have to check soon or I will miss it.
Miss it I did at 1000H G.M.T. would you believe it, local noon before 1000H and way it will give me both practice and an idea of when to shoot next time I get the oppo. Wind eased since and I wouldn’t be surprised if it went too. Time will tell.
Having another mug of coffee now after a dinner of 2 rashers, chops and instant mash, prior to that I washed myself, even my hair. So I have not sat down only to eat, since I got up at 0600H. Breeze strengthen again at 1300H and excellent headway again. Beginning to lose sun with high clouds for N.W. but a fair sky and high. Stayed in my u/pans after wash as temp 80º. Washed my old u/pants in my after wash water. Put socks at each side of fore and skylight hatches and greased h/hole again. Have only to reseal port holes now. And check rigging after gale.
Very happy and satisfied with progress and work, especially engine being OK. Fin work now and will read. After I fin a cig going E steadily since I tacked at 0800H WEN, 2 hrs now to sunset. I put in a 10h day in perfect conditions would say we are now well away from that shitty area south of the Cape thank god.
Had a doze at 1700H for 20 mins and made tea and boiled egg and toast. More samples I had bought and never tried. Thad god would be OK with cheese or s/w spread – tasteless – but whole wheat etc. had a few and went on rye vita. Found them getting a pack of eggs, sunset hidden behind clouds. Still going strong will read again now for a while. I must say today one of the nicest yet, with good speed and no hassle, for a change.
Day 21 Saturday 19/02/1994
But it can change fast – barometer had dropped x 3MB from noon to 2100H last night when I hit the bunk. Waves slapping work me at 0130H as we were at max speed, broad breaching, barometer had dropped another 7MB in 5H so it was time to reduce sail. Having a cup of cocoa now at 0230H after deck work. Wind holding north. Will hit bunk now again as we are snug. But my sleep I would imagine is gone astray for a while. I may read first.
Didn’t read work at 0630H and slept and dozed until 0815H when I again checked barometer which only dropped x 1MB since 0130H. So we are holding rig, sun trying to part clouds now. Which is a change from thump of waves and noise of spray lashing the cabin top and sides. Port holes like a waterfall. Had a rasher and broken egg. Fried in a sauce pan, finished my usual pot of tea now after rye vita and marmalade with last of 1st pack of marg. Short steep seas with plenty of crests. But as we are reaching we are making good progress E again one great boat in strong wind, just got a violent squall.
Black now after taking in 2nd reef in main, which likens it to a try sail with a boom. Luckily storm jib is up. It is mainly because I had the hold R&L, jib up yesterday in mod winds. It is a lovely sail but beyond heavy going. Otherwise if I had the new w/jib up last night, doubt if I would have changed it and then as John says I would have had extra work and hassle and who wants that out here in the middle of the night.
Whine or roar of wind down now was that squall a dying gasp. We shall see. Must tidy up after breakfast even though I would rather red as we are being tossed around goodo, in a wild sea state. But I hate confusion.
Fin chores and having a mug of coffee and biscuit. Wind has defo decreased and swung slight to the E. Barometer up x 2MB since 0815H. The high of our port bow must be moving south and pushed the low south also. Must have gasper. Big change from going around naked after body wash yesterday. Housebound again, coping well and morale high as we are progressing well to the E now. Since Wednesday morning with 2 gales in 3 days. Got the legs of my deck cords drenched again last night.
After drying them out yesterday and my short deck cord legs a while ago. No time to put on oiler botts. Anyway it is warm at 74º now with occasional sun and 70º this morning. Wind dying hard. Still getting gusts. But snug under storm canvas. This lady can take it. It is the masts and rigging I watch. But I also take care of her.
Sun now and then showing through. Veil type clouds with upper sky having plenty of wisps and mares tails. Still plenty of wind since, and gusty but no gust the equal of one we got this morning. Barometer down x 4 MB since 1045H. Having a gasper now with a mug of coffee after a dinner of salami and tom and chopped cabbage, which held well after 3 weeks. 1st time on the menu. Wind still inclined to E which is pushing us 15º south of our course. To the east with plenty of rolling now that seas have got bigger and lumpier. Sat nav still not working. If wind holds direction will have to adjust Nell slightly to bring us more into wind. Barometer still holding steady at a 1009MB since 1230H. Plenty of sun lately. Difficult moving around with jerky motion.
Stripped off pyjama legs and shirt and we are now on excellent heading, which also allows for leeway and drift. Large shower astern on horizon for past hr moving south, could be influencing wind dir.
Anyway it was nice to get a puff (puff did you say) of air and a bit of exercise. Will make a pot of tea now.
Only now I am having T with a few slices of Oumas I had out to soften Bilton bread with a slice of cheese. Was checking my d.r. Nav so far and figure 41º E x 38º S. Give or take a degree with 1300M for 18 days (300 of them going south for 3 days after dep). So we are approx 1/5th of the way and at that rate it will take 75 days to Albany. Along with E. winds and calms to slow us in those 15 days, heading E, I would imagine we should do better from now on. Being out of the area of shitty Cape weather. Looked to scan for shipping a while ago and o/head sky festooned with wisps and stars. Like enlarged snow flakes. A windy sky I would say, a gigantic stippling job. With some mares tails. Barometer down x 1B to 1008M since 1230H. Not bad still on a good heading.
Hit the bunk at 1930H last night and slept solid until predawn light, at 0400H and got up. Motion and wind down to comfortable levels. But still low whine in rigging. Could have more sail up, but I will give it a while. Yesty’s sky indicated wind and this mn’g sun, which rose behind a bank of clouds, painted the sky red although Baro up x 1MB, now at 0540H. Only had a P of T and 2 R/V & marm. So far feel refreshed and relaxed. After that good ?............ being up the previous night and strong winds yesty, must have knackered me. I think it was the earliest yet I hit the bunk. Must look up the zones and adjust my watch. Dampness everywhere again this mn’g. But we have a high sky and a watery sun which will sort that out. Wind has swung to N.E o’night, but we are still on a fair hdg.
Pulled up legs of tr/suit pants and put on oiler top and tacks and adj Nell for better Hdg. Mng cooler but then it is early. Will put on socks now for 1st time in a GFS.
Would you believe I am after an hours doze. 2 rash, 2 eggs and a P o T and Ouma & Marm. Watery sun hidden now and stratus covering sky and in fact drizzling. Just had a scan. Heavens but I enjoyed that b/f. A good Sunday B/f. No seeds. Nell looks very like being conf to barracks again today but the going is easy. Yes, will adjust my local time clocks and watch tonight x ½H will think about letting out sail also. Baro up x 2MB up to 1010MB since 0400H.
Read and dozed again for ¾ hour. Constant drizzle now with poor vis. Red sky fair sign of rain OK. Will have mug of coff and then review the situation re more sail.
Hevy drizzle since, with wind up and down. When it is up we have plenty with odd wave lashing over car/top and in between under canvassed. Vis ver/bad and a ship would have to be near to see it. Don’t feel too hungry but have something light for dinner now, T & salami.
Rain stopped around 1700H with sky brightening from N. On horizon and then to W. Still dark on other sectors. With wind now gone light and with a very confused sea, causing odd bang of boom. Will only have to see. No sign of setting sun but glow looked fair enough. Had a day of rest and read bar a few small cabin jobs. Inactivfity and big b/f kept me from eating as usually do so may have something now, after deck work. See log. Everything damp. Had a few cr/cr with a s/wich spread and a few with jam and a mug of coff, looks like we will lose wind. Put clocks frd 1 hour.
Day 23 Monday 21/02/1994
Woke to minimal rolling at 0700H. Pure blue sky with a halo of vapour circling horizon. If there were land around, it would be clothed in fog of vapour. An albatross sitting on the glassy swells is also becalmed. Slept well after a shot of gin and tonic. Seeing as I would not be on duty had a leisurely breakfast of 2 rashers, boiled egg and Ouma bread and a pot of tea. Put a few hunks of Ouma out in cockpit yesterday thinking they would soften. No, I think they mix a little hardener in the making of them. 0840H now and I already have long cords out on mizzen boom and fore hatch and aft cabin open. Still nice and cool. 65º when I got up, with barometer steady as a rock at 1010 MB since 1800H last night. Have a work list as usual with 15 items on it. 16 counting a sextant sight I must take today if sky holds clear. 7 of them I will attend to now. As the others are not urgent. Check all rigging and pump bilge – seal 2 port holes and deck el/plugs – grease h/hole with bacon fat, it’s a hard life thank god.
It’s as we roll more than rock to ass’d swells. Put anti chafe on fore stay b/screw, thoroughly checked all rigging. Prep deck el/plugs for resealing and m/hole ok. Light puff now from N. Must get back to work.
Had a tasty and welcome light dinner of salami – tomato – rye vita and an apple. With a mug of coffee and a gasper now. Lots of work fin also. Deck plugs and port holes resealed – fuel checked and took a noon sight. Which I am in no hurry to work out, as I am knackered as Dan says, did not realise we were rolling so much until I started shooting the sun and to make it worse the boat was swinging 360º all the time. Very difficult but I got a good sight. I think swells must have got up since morning. Still a pure blue sky and I notice ocean is a bottle green. Is it polar water? Nice to cross out jobs on w/list. Nothing urgent now. May dry out engine after I doze.
Dozed for 15m and back to work. Ran engine for an hour and a quarter, after sale on Sat and all the dampness yesterday. After that, which kept me busy, I had a go at sun sight sheet and came up with a fix of 40º06º S-
Funnily enough with all the sun today it wasn’t that warm now for 24H. 74º at 1300H and we had no breeze. Great that engine is running OK thank god and let us hope it stays that way. Clouded up as per usual before sundown but glow seemed fair. Had a section of a rainbow at 45º VP, an hour before sundown, whatever that foretells. A rainbow at evening is good but you couldn’t call that a rainbow. Never saw the barometer to stay so steady. Still at 1010MB for 26 hrs now. Which leads me to believe we will get a breeze as this day must only be from a weak ridge of high pressure. Had a nice tea of 4 rashers and instant spuds – rye vita and jam and pot of tea so now at 2000H I am going to call it a day and read for a while.
Day 24 Tuesday 22/02/1994
Now 0600H. was up to 0515H, a slight w/y rippled tapped on the hull, dawn 0530H and fair with lumps of stratus and high fair sky between. Just finished a pot of tea and 2 rye vita and marmalade, last of pot Stanley gave me.
By the time I was leaving cabin to hoist sails there was a hum in the rigging with small white caps beginning to show. Upon preparing fore deck hoisting jib we were scooting it with many White caps and wind well up and gone to S.W. so took a reef in main and we are now fairly flying it as we broad reach. Deck cords legs wet again, they are like board yesterday after sun. Punched sextant coordinates into sat nav and also cleared memory and have it on. As wind wave is not in way of reception, amazing how quickly weather changes. Barometer still steady at 1015MB. Glad I got noon sight yesterday. Sky now filled in with layers of stratus. As we plough slightly N of E with plenty of R and rolling.
Sun starting to burn off, stratus as odd blue sky light shows overhead. Last evening was so fine I fin off a mug of tea. After the rashers and spuds, sitting in the cockpit, with a cig watching the sunset glow and birds, never a dull moment. Nice whine to rigging now with odd thump to bilge and odd lash of spray hitting G cabin side. Will have to get used to it a gain after yesterday, will have a boiled egg now for my real breakfast.
Changed my mind as there was a small crack in the last egg in the box had out and too wild a motion to fry it even in s/pan so I am having a nice mug of hot coffee with rye vita and cheese and grain mustard. Much cooler today with polar air from S.W. slept until I woke this morning. Read last evening with a gin and tonic as I was again off duty. Put new batteries into transistor and got a time signal also last evening to confirm my watch (G.M.T.) had been OK for noon sight calculations and it was OK. Wind has eased somewhat. Barometer up x 1MB. Temp 65º busy with chart and if yesterday’s sigh OK have averaged 50 MPD since we headed E. After getting South of the Aghullas Bank which considering 4 gales, and 5 calms in 20 days is fair going.
With my dinner over me, having a coffee and biscuit now. It must have been the early start, or else the nip in the air, sun only peeping now and then. But we are nearly on max speed. I know she is bobbing, as we broad reach with sails eased out. Had my head out dumping gash and watching birds feed and saw a single dolphin surfing down on the short steep waves which have built up. Had my 1st hot dinner for some time – beans with a chopped tom and salami, lovely. Housebound again, may read for a while. Sat nav showing antennae fail today. What the hell is wrong? After the expense in R.S.A. the wind wane is clear today or nearly so.
Read and dozed for a while after taking in 2nd reef of main at noon. Motion slightly easier, but still good headway. Good bursts of warm sun for some time now. Split one of graces melons which had softened. Ate nearly ½. Very little one can do today outside you need oilers and inside R&R prohibits any job. I have a list of food to be pulled from bunk lockers, when seas permit. But I am not complaining, as we are making excellent progress. Today was day for weekly fruit check. Will leave it also. Back to bunk.
And getting dark stratus builds up again as we lose the heat of sun. Having T now after a boiled egg and Ouma and rye vita and Jam. Wind still gusty but eased up and down. Estimated sunset 1900H.
Day 25 Wednesday 23/02/1994
Took a lie in this morning, until 0800H as we were on course. At 0600H and 0700H thought not breaking any speed records let reefs out of main, in pyjama legs when I got up. Nice milk mg, with wind going from W to south since I got up. With its strength up and down, also little sun with layered grey clouds. Usual sea fret, after yesterday’s wind, tossing main around now and then. When I have then to head up and bear off. When wind comes up. I am waiting to see if it will settle. Very little wind from the W since dep. In fact I have just checked log since dep – 3 days (W) – 4 S.W. 3 x S – 3 x S.E – 1 x E – 2 x N.E – 2 x N – 4 x N.W. Had to adjust Nell again as wind eased again. Swells biggest from S.W. with one from south not assisting. 1st time I have seen wind so up and down and variable. It’s 1035H now and has been so since I got up. Had a good breakfast opened a life long milk and had corn flakes, 2 rashers, boiled egg, toast & jam. Rashers were small but tasty. All the sliced Rash are fin and I am left with lumps which she must have thought I wanted for boiling. Any I cut it into rash as I need it. It is streaky the way I like it. 1130H now and wind has settled into W.S.W and we running under poled jibs since 1100H with a lovely breeze and much sun now. A perfect day. As I have my coffee with life long full cream milk, yumee.
Just finished dinner of salami, tomato, rye vita and a mug of milk. Had some melon around 1300H. Wind WxS now and up and down. But there and steady progress East and thank god for a lovely day. Mod temp out here at 67º. Barometer holding steady at 1023MB since 1100H. H. sky. Did some work outside earlier and have more to do inside. Check fruit and pull out store from lockers. Finished a good book since also. The day flies when you get up late but I needed the rest and slept well and long last night. Still no ships and a perfect day for spotting one. Will have another look now.
Having aft’n coff and toasted slice of S/Lun. Still have a ¼ loaf amazing.
One apple and one orange bad. Rest OK, wind easing all the time now for last hr and giving odd shift from W x S, to W. Sky has more or less cleared also in that time, reminds me of a fine eveng at home. Before a frost y night. Breeze cool all day. There must be a low Sth of us brining up Antarctic air. The high is to the north of us.
We also have that big swell from the S.W. all day. But Baro still OK at 1023M.B. Time will tell but it looks very like we will lose the wind at sundown, which is now only 1 ½H away. Will read now before light goes.
Wind eased so that swells beat it, as sails flapping and that is no good. Sunset obscured and usual stratus. But glow seems fair enough.
Had a lovely T of ½ tin spuds, split and fried with an egg. R/V and jam and P o T with minimal rolling as we lie beam on to the W. Baro up x 1MB so it looks as high is beg’ng to move S/th. Kay Sera.
Day 26 Thursday 24/02/1994
Ye Gods and little fishes. But the days are flying. Have a breeze since 0945H now 1035H. Did not get up until 0915H as I woke last night at 0330H and got up and made cocoa. Fresh as a daisy. Read for a while and hit bunk around 0430H. Woke at 0600H and 0730H and still becalmed. So took a well earned rest. I have had crispies before deck work, will put on a few rashers now. Warmer today 72º with N. wind. Was N.E. before I hoisted sails.
The middle of the day you might say, finished pot of tea after a leisurely breakfast of boiled egg on this lovely morning. With the breeze holding and swells down from y/day. Sun now and then thro stratus veils.
God but I feel so happy and refreshed and relaxed after nearly eleven hours sleavan and such a wonderful day thank god all I need now is a sat/fix to speak to a nice skipper who will send a message. You must be anxious now after nearly a month. God is good.
Been busy decanting – brown and white sugar – powdered milk and pulling out tins etc. Found 2 loaves brown German p/nickel bread, which I had forgotten I bought. And had not listed, under chart Dr. One had a ¼ mildew so we have bread. Also cleaned gr/pan, breeze settled from N.E and we are making excellent headway in ideal conditions. Sun slow in breaking through, we have a clear horizon. Must think of dinner, will forget 11’s today.
Good headway since, though lately wind up and down with boom giving odd slap. Will it ease with s/down. Fin bother ½ of yesterday’s tin of spuds with last of pack of bacon out. For tea and I am finished usual pot of tea now with a cig. Looks as if we are going to see a sunset. At present it is about 5m from it and so far it looks bold and brassy. Enjoyed the German bread with black current jam after tea. No, as usual sunset obscured clouds. Just had to adjust Nell and sail closer to wind to keep sails from flapping. Would imagine from sunset that we will be OK for wind tomorrow, without any dramatics. In fact sky showed a few rosy patches after sunset. We must be flying to the E, the way it is setting so early.
Every evening and it is not going that fast to the North. Had 2nd last tom for dinner today with usual beetroot and salami and brown bread for a nice change, foll x melon. Got a lot done in sorting out food for easy access today while I had the chance. One of these halcyon days with good progress and no wear and tea on boat or man. Decks dry and a fair wind.
So far so good with wind holding. Barometer down x 1MB to 1024MB since this morning. So that’s alright too.
Day 27 Friday 25/02/1994
A little early for me to awaken. Must have been the boom banging as wind has eased somewhat and the waves kicked up by wind since yesterday morning are causing most of the problem. Along with a swell from the West, which is on our tail. Must have slept like a log. Because normally if I wake so early I go back to sleaven again. Anyway I am having a mug of cocoa and a biscuit and I must now go out and adjust Nell to bring us more into the wind as sails banging again. A lovely moonlight from a nearly full moon is sparkling on the WA. Going NE now and no noise from sails thank god. One of those rare times out here. When you can leave the mug on the table without jamming it in the holder I made. Switched on sat nav for a try as wind vane in a good position for antennae. I am sorry I didn’t put antennae on top of mizzen in Gordons Bay, as I believe that is what is causing the problem.
Will read for a while. Barometer down x 3MB to 1021 MB since last evening.
Just in after Nell again, as wind freshened. As a large dark cloud Sat/Nav trying hard and showing stars after locking on to a sat. Nein Guten.
Woke to sharp heel and took in one reef. Then took in a 2nd. Now after a mug of coffee and 2 slices of Br & jam. It is 0700H a fresh morning with a few showers around. Will give it a while and see as wind has swung W of N. Barometer dropping slowly x 5MB since last evening to 1019MB. Boy but I could have stayed in bunk when I was awakened at 0530H. Especially after being up during night. Read until 0345H.
Hit the bunk again for an hour and got up and had my real breakfast. Boiled egg, 2 slices lightly done toast and the usual pot of tea which I am now finished with the usual Gaspah. This morning was the first time of trip I saw large cumulous. No wonder we got squalls. Barometer still falling down another 1MB to 1018MB since 0600H. Sea fairly confused with various swells fighting for supremacy. Biggest from the W. with lesser one from N.W with waves from wind direction. Would say we have a low to the S.W. with a high to the N.E. Both battling it out also. Never a dull moment. But at least we have occasional sun to brighten the day. Also birds which is a good sign. If they go you can look out for the shit. Must cut my nails, broke one reefing this morning.
Had a snack of brown bread and salami. Followed x last of 1st melon, which was delicious. Sun now in a blue sky but barometer down x another 1MB to 1015MB in last hour. More or less confined to barracks again. Though with wind abaft the beam, not much spray in spite of short steep seas. Odd wave crest splatters.
Had a change of shirt and pull over since. Had intended changing shirt anyway. Also had 2 slices of toast and a nice mug of hot coffee. AT 1340H I looked out and there was a black mass to W/W’d with a squall under it, like the doldrums of white water. Only had time to get into legs of oilers and tacks. Dropped jib 1st and then main and secured them and hoisted storm jib as wind had shifted to W. Still dark and raining. With a nice moan in rigging got a face neck and hair wash. Worst conditions on fore deck for a long time and difficult washing main, with force of wind. But we are snug now and moving SN.E. (with l/way and drift) at app 2 kn.
Coldest day yet, I suppose getting wet didn’t help. Have neck/chief and another pull over on, had 2 welsh rarebits for tea with a cosy on tea pot. Fine and warm now. Sky cleared to W before sunset which showed pale 10m. Before it set behind clouds, at app 1830H. Then upper sky reflected rosy glow. Hard to know. An angry sky I would say, or watery, though we had birds all day. 1015MB.
Day 28 Saturday 26/02/1994
With my breakfast of 2 scrambled eggs with cheese and 2 slices of toast over me and of course pot of hot tea with cosy on it this wild and hungry morning. Wind down from gale of yesterday and last night but sea state highly confused. Will give it a while and then probably role out strong w/jib to port and run with it and storm jib which we are carrying. As wind is still from the W. Barometer up x 9MB overnight to 1024MB. Sky grey and overcast. Got up at 0715H on the one morning I could have stayed in bunk. Hit the bunk around 2100.
H and woke up at midnight and slept until 0600H and after that I was only dozing. How I slept at all I don’t know as it was a wild night and the kicking strap block was banging on the cabin top. Have my knee length socks on today and my warmest shirt and 2 p/overs with u/pants, Pyj legs and tr/suit pants below. Wind comes up every now and then to strong, so will defo wait and see. Another day of confined to barracks, 1st time temp in the 50’s. 58º. It’s the kind of mng which at home when you got out, everything seems clean and swept and with branches of trees down here and there. Never a dull moment. With Baro on its way up again. But a little too fast for my liking. A rise of 9MB in 12H that is fast.
Better hdg after sail change, wind has swung SW so put up strong w/t to long and struck st/jib. Had 2 of them poled at one stage and not without difficulty as it is still blowing strongly. But hdg N. seas very impressive but short and curly. Was well covered boots the lot. Couple of sweals still at it from S&W the wind doesn’t seem to holding one direction long enough to provide a long swell. Yesty mng it was N and is now not far off Sth. After doing 18 through W. Anyway one can’t have it everyway. One thing I am very happy with is “Leen”. One great boat when the going gets rough. Must make a cup of coffee.
24H now of strong winds. Forgot to say noise on c/top wasn’t rickstrap, but one of the elastic shock cards for tying m/sail with the bails had opened and was held by reefing pennants and was dangling. Still doing 3kn. Under w/j as we reach E with still strong SY wind. Big lumps of water making it hard to see horizon. Did not have coff at 11. Instead had 1st of R.S.A. inst soup with last of 1st br bread. Had 1st of last loaf with salami with last tom and b/r around 1400H.
Not sorry to see last of toms as I was forced to eat them as they were all flawed but nice after cutting away bad part. Baro now 1027MB since 1400H. WP x 3MB since 0700H. Temp still down at 61º with s/Y wind. Sun peeping out now and then. From o’cast sky plenty of music from rigging. Have got used to motion now. Had a doze for nearly an hour before dinner and also read. Will read again now.
Didn’t feel hungry, so opened a pack of bacon – sliced a few rash which I had with one slice of bread. One slice of which is equal to 2-
Day 29 Sunday 27/02/1994
Oh thank god for a great night’s sleep, without a ball bouncing on cabin top, minimal noise, now 0800H and waiting for kettle to boil. Will hoist reefed main after breakfast, as wind down. Seas down somewhat. Though still steep. With still many crests, but not the white rollers of yesterday. Barometer nearly 1030MB Tem 62º still chilly. Could feel it on my hands on deck yesterday. 62º wind still giving odd blast.
1st time in a gale that birds stayed with us. Enjoyed a boiled egg, and 2 slices brown bread with tea with cosy on pot. Marmalade, I have none. Have apricot jam (3) which I though was marmalade as there was what looked like an orange on tin. Was an apricot. Have 2 black current also. As soon as I fin T I will don oilers, as we are getting odd lash of spray and make better speed with s/y wind which held true overnight.
We close reach in S/Y wind, var is now 35º W as we are on a heading of 115; we are plus leeway, again being pushed slightly N. Wind still giving odd blast. I am beginning to wonder where are Bertie Reed’s ships, but will still keep looking. You must be getting anxious now for a message. Hope Dan got the journal and Nance the photo’s and letter. Motion in this confused sea is erratic and one has to be careful, even in cabin. Still a nice whine in rigging. A couple of more hours and the sea state should ease. Sky still stippled with grey clouds.
Where does the time go? Did my sums since, 2 x D.R. estimate on average, 60 m.p.d which if accurate isn’t bad since noon sight on Mon, considering 2 calms and a gale. Pulled out marge from bilge and tidied and entered our position in chart. Must have my 11s now.
Light going already due to overcast grey sky. Seems a long time since we had sun. Had a Sunday dinner of spaghetti and salami with brown bread and coffee around 12230H and said I would read as I was going since I got up. Had an apple, mid aft and now I am after cream crackers and fish paste, & coffee. Not alone have I not seen a ship I haven’t seen a sign of rubbish. It must be one of the unpolluted parts of the world. Plenty of birds. Black seagulls, crows I call them with cape pigeons and albatross.
Estimate we have 1300m behind us since we turned E, when we cleared Agulhas bank to North or more than a ¼ of distance to Albany. Slow but steady going in fresh breeze all day, with lumpy seas making us lose the speed we normally do. I am not complaining, so long as we move E and are on the heading that’s what counts. Barometer steady all day at 1030H. The high must be behind us and banging up polar air to say we have cloud.
Day 30 Monday 28/02/1994
My patience is being tested. Which I have not doubt is good for one. Wind eased last evening at 2100H. So I gave her the full main and hit the bunk. At 2300H I had to get up and check as we were flying it thro waves at high speed. Decided we were ok and back to bunk again and at midnight we were becalmed and rolling so struck sails in a dangerous rolling. Which made deck work tricky. So my sleep was gone and I made a mug of cocoa, I read until 0130H. Now at 0915H we are still rolling to swells fr S.E-
Hoisted light genoa and it filled, then mizzen and after replacing 2 battens in main which we lost, hoisted main and we are sometimes barely moving and at other times being O.K. Siphoned a gall of water from 5 gall drum. Now at 1115H have fin my 11s coffee with 2 rye vita and fish paste. Bread last night with cocoa. Sky still overcast, but warmer today 67º.
Enjoying a mug of tea and Gasper, after a nice dinner of bangers and mash and a tin of peas. Full x Ouma, which softened and black current jam. Prior to that, hauling up and down sails as wind is fickle. Under Genoa mizzen, since 1200H. Wind went 21LOH at 1145H. Birds sitting on ocean most of day. Adjusted mizzen sheet to ¼, fit gets better. As it is a fine day thank god. Pulled out a few tins etc. Also going to take a break down.
Read a few pages and dozed and awoke at 1615H. Must have slept for at least an hour. Having a coffee as we still make way to a light breeze. Under light Genoa and vanged mizzen. Still overcast.
Whatever about little wind today, we had dry decks and it was nice to be able to get out. Odd dark showers on horizon all day. Also we were moving. Light fading fast now.
I must say I enjoyed that, tea, 3 grilled sausages and a fried egg. Must be being out and having hatches open gave me “Bon Appetite” today could not help thinking as I ate 3 rye vita with it that my ration for the day of R. on the final week before R.S.A. Main boom giving odd bank, would say wind will die, as last evening was lucky the day I got when I ran out of gas. That I was able to switch bottles. Had to reverse washer on regulator, as I got a smell of gas after changing bottles. Apart from danger, I would not want to waste any, as it is my last bottle. Put sealing compound on threads also and it is now A1 thank god. Wind up and down strength. We might not have covered many miles today, but it was pleasant. I think it was the 2nd time I hoisted Genoa since I left Gordons Bay. No, I checked log, about the sixth time. But it was so long ago, I had forgotten.
Day 31 Tuesday 01/03/1994
Had to strike sails 2000H last evening and not a puff since, and it is now 0930H. Barometer up x 1MB overnight to 1032 M.B. Sky still o/c and even the birds have left; looking for wind. At least had a good nights sleep. Woke at 0300H and 0530H with light and got up at 0800H. Did not hit the bunk until 2300H as wind was coming and going and I thought it might stead. Hoisted Genda a few times even, any I had a good book. Will probably use engine later if these conditions hold. Officially today is autumn here, but it is like our August, when even the days get shorter, the weather is often better than it is in summer. At present rate of progress I estimate 100 days, so far we have only averaged 50 miles per day. So unless conditions improve, we can expect another 60-
Taking advantage of fine day. Sky has lifted and brightened and birds are with us again. One crow has his head under his wing and is dozing, while his mate stands guard. They have got much tamer and now come near us. So they must be the same birds all the time. Have a lot of work done since – sleeping bag and sheet aired on boom, and p/case reversed and aired. Sorted out items of food from bunk lockers and stowed and filled it. Have a mug of coffee as I write with lovely short bread biscuits I pulled out. Warmer today and I have my pull over off in socks on since I got up. 70º with hatches open. Have no urgent work on list. But will probably check – rigging – fuel and engine, later. Now that it is March reminds me I will be 70 in 17 days. If it pleases the Lord. It would be nice to get a message to you before then, as no doubt, you will be thinking of me on that day. Hard to believe I am pushing 70, thank god, my health and morale is excellent. I am taking more care since the rib incident which thought me an invaluable lesson.
Many crows, around boat now sitting on glassy swells. Have checked – all rigging – fuel – engine oil and water – batteries, etc. and will probably use engine after dinner. As it looks very like, as if we will not see any wind today. Which means Nell will get a reset, while I do the steering for a change.
Having tea and lemon cream biscuits for a change this afternoon. Had a nice dinner earlier of last tine of sausages with wholegrain mustard, green beans, instant spuds. Then took a break and read and doze until now. Will probably start engine shortly. Barometer steady at 1032M.B. since morning. Crows still on glassy swells which is an indication that we are unlikely to get wind.
Working since – engine was clicking on starter motor again and it took me an hr to check every wire before it started. Although I think I have the loose connection located now. The same one as last but it takes a bit of juggling. Anyway I ran it for 2 hrs until I could not see compass. Sunset clear and red, thro window in sky to W. So may get a sun sight tomorrow. Gave myself a good wash just now, with clean t-
Day 32 Wednesday 02/03/1994
Moving since 0800H with light N and W breeze. Poled sail giving odd shake to swells which today are minimal. Overcast layered sky. Barometer still 1032 M.B. since yesterday morning and 1031 M.B. Mon morning. The high must be moving up ahead of us with this NXW puff. Without birds today until 0530H when one crow appeared. I noticed yesterday and this morning a few fish breaking, so there must be sprat around. Maybe they are hunting them elsewhere. Up and at it since 0730H. Woke at 0600H to very light puff and pulled curtains and back to bunk. Made a mug of coffee and had 2 rye vita and jam, before work on deck, which gave me an appetite, because now I am gain to open a long life milk and have some S.A weetabix as Johanne says. Maybe a boiled egg. Warmer today at 67º, when I arose and appeared to none. No doubt about it but it is great to be sailing again. Have hardly had a breeze since the gale eased last sun. Have a hatches open on this idyllic day. I suppose the daff’s are beginning to show now at home and that you are getting the odd mild day for which Helen will be grateful for.
Still running under light wind, which has now gone N.W and at times W. Have not sat down until now, except to eat, found S.A. w/box, so nice I had 2 bowls of it. Hungry now again so I will have the egg now. Decanted last of 10 galls from 5 gall drum of water. So will soon be on to tank water fully. Fitting another mug holder to table for easy reach when sitting on starboard bunk, as I am now. Brought topping lift fall to cockpit, and fitting ball to end of clutch lever on Nellie. Also greased tools. Ocean as flat as you could ask for with much smaller swells than usual, except for the W’Y one.
Wind light since but sails pulling and giving odd flap. If swells were bigger would have to strike them. Just finished a fruit & veg meal, chopped onion and apple. Other ½ tin of yesterday’s green beans and raisins with Ouma. Waiting now for kettle, for a mug of coffee. Temp 74º in my shirt, sleeves rolled. A week today since I checked fruit and veg and I must do that. Where did the week go? Would say one could get burned today. Sun not out but sky has thinned and I feel my face hot. The reflection from the water also.
Barely saw it, setting thro a skylight. 10m earlier than last evening. Wind went back to the N and I have the mizzen st/sle up for a change. See log. A lovely red glow on W sky now at 1810H. Must think of my T.
Day 33 Thursday 03/03/1994
Sun out in a clearing high sky since 0800H. Up since 0630H dropping mizzen and mizzen st/sailing we were edging N. Under idled jibs to N.W. wind, which has gone light and we are rolling in waves kicked up by N. Wind. Overnight, we have a few showers around, which could be taking wind. Excellent progress o/night and since 0800H yesterday. Barometer down X 3 M.B. to 1028M.B. o/night. Temp high at 70º. Will probably be able to get a sextant sight today. After 10 days, most without sun, now at 0900H I am going to have a mug of coffee. Had Weetabix, a boiled egg and brown bread earlier.
Have not rested since I got up. But I don’t mind as wind strengthened since 0900H and we are making excellent progress. Sun also held with a clear sky until lately. Started shooting the sun at 0800H G.M.T 1100H my time and got a fix at 0333 H. G.M.T. so between my dinner of chopped cabbage, beetroot, onion and salami and working out position which puts us at 37º08’ S x 48º45’E. Which I make out is fairly accurate when checked against D.R. Also considering we are rolling all day, I think I got a good sight. So all in all I am happy. In a way, it is good to use and get used to shooting the sun. If the fucking old sat nav worked, I suppose I wouldn’t bother my arse. So now I will relax and probably eat a snack. It will be dark soon, as sun sets at 1800H.
Just in after striking Genoa it’s not the wind so much as the waves which have built up all day. Nell’s clutch slipped as we slewed on one. Before dark, I was watching as we surfed on crests. Thought wind might ease with sunset. Barometer down x 5 M.B. since this morning to 1023. Had a good run since yesterday morning which we needed, after being becalmed Mon/Tues still making excellent headway under w/jib still poled.
Day 34 Friday 04/03/1994
A windy wet night. Hit the bunk at 2100H after reading and was up again an hr later to poled jib cracking and dancing. As Nell had again slipped her clutch. Unpoled it as we lay beam on and sheeted it and ran with wind on ¼, making E of S. Hit the bunk again to heavy rolling and eventually slept. Which I find difficult, when my sleep is broken. Woke at 0300H to misty rain and wind had swung to N.W so we were nearly on hour heading. Woke again at 0600H and got up as wind had swung to W and hoisted other w/jib to stbd. Poled and we are doing well under both. Sun burning off stratus now, at 0800H with a fresh sunny sky with cumulous and we are having a heavy shower now at 0830H. Back after dropping storm jib as wind swung S.W and backed it so we are now broad reaching under loose port w/jib with increasing wind, giving a nice whine to rigging but making good headway and heading. Barometer steady at 1018 M.B. after dropping x 4 M.B. overnight. Lucky I got the chance to have a good breakfast of 2 rashers, an egg and brown bread and tea. As motion now is dodgy for cooking with spray flying. But the main thing is we are going E steadily now for 48 hrs. Which is what it is all about. Also glad we are higher at nearly 37º S x sextant yesterday, which is 180M of 40º which we had edged up from. Confused seas now with wind swing and swells. A bright sunny fresh day which would remind you of a wild sunny day at home with showers. Temp 65º at 0600H and now 68º at 0900H. 1st morning without socks, or pyjama legs for some time so we are getting warm air coming down, which is giving us our wind. With a low moving ahead of us below. Fin last of container of water this morning, so I am on ships water now. I am having my 11’s now at 0915H after an early start, will probably hit the bund after it as I got little sleep last night. But when I did sleep I slept well, in spite of rolling. How nice to have got noon sight yesterday after 10 days still scanning for a ship and will be amazed to see one and also excited and will have to steady myself.
Dozed for an hr. Wind up since. I would estimate it at F6-
Motion now difficult so had a tin of sardines and brown bread with a mug of coffee. Sky o/c again since 1000H with layered stratus with very odd ray of sun. Not easy moving around cabin in this very strong wind. Strong w/jib doing great work.
Wasn’t easy as the sea is in a turmoil with white water and lumps waves. But I made inst mash and had salami with it. Having a mug of tea now as barometer rises. Up x 2 M.B. Sun came out again at noon with med cumulous but getting grey again now. Noise and motion tiring and to think at 0600H I poled out a jib. One lives and learns all the time. Ah well, only have to wait it out. At least we are high lat wise and making steady progress E.
Wind has eased somewhat and not so many breaking crests. Got colder. Barometer rose no further since. Confined to barracks all day bar deck work of morning sun before it set behind a grey bank of clouds, was very diffused and a brass sickly colour, other than that little to relate. Spent most of day either cooking or eating (mainly snacks except breakfast). Reading or watching the seas or scanning for a ship. Hope wind holds direction o/night. I have no doubt but that it won’t die. We shall see.
Day 35 Saturday 05/03/1994
My, how the days fly. Well togged out in long socks and pyjama legs under track suit legs. T-
Back in after w/shift and we are now running under twin w/jibs. Poled. Will have my real breakfast as soon as I enter log.
Yet Gods and little fishes, I enjoyed that second breakfast, 2 scrambled eggs with cheese & brown bread which is still perfect but crust is now like Ouma. But who gives a shit, not me, on this perfect morning, as we make good headway E. Still have my doubts about the weather today. Maybe strong winds of yesterday are still in my mind. Seas bar swells are OK considering what they were like last evening and motion is easy, grey sky now appearing to W’ward with odd slot of blue.
Reading Bertie Reed’s book & coffee. Sky overcast but high. Barometer down by 1 M.B. to 1019M.B.
Well I must say it was a good day, without hassle and excellent progress. A few showers around from 1500H on, with heavy rain but all off our beam on horizons. Was watching them and they were not moving fast. Barometer down another 1 M.B. to 1018 M.B. which it was yesterday for gale. Wind went N.W. around 1400H and has steadied. We have a low to the S.W. or W of us and a high to the N of us. I would imagine that was why we were getting mixtures of sun and clouds. Cold air moving up from the S and condensing as it met hot air. Sunset not visibility tonight.
Had a good dinner today of spinach, tinned spuds and salami and have not eaten since. Did very little this aft besides reading except checking course and scanning. May eat now. I was tired after yesterday and was relaxing. Kept in clothes mentioned this morning all day.
Day 36 Sunday 06/03/1994
Was wary hitting the bunk at 2100H. Last evening with twin jib as we were borderline with canvas. Had my deck cords etc. at hand but it worked out OK. Woke at 0130H and at 0430H and on course. Got up at 0700H, had my leeboard up in bunk, as we were rolling and felt myself against it a few times, but slept well and now after porridge, 2 rashers and brown bread at 0840H we are running with a nice following sea. Sun out since I got up but sky o/cast earlier. A warmer day, temp 67º when I got up, and I am in my pyjama legs and bare feet since, with only a t-
Day 37 Monday 07/03/1994
Hit the bunk at 2000H last evening wondering if wind would hold. Woke at 0430H to light from dawn and jibs giving odd flap. Mains due to swells on our beam. Had the biggest swell for some time yesterday from the S.W and it is still there. But only slightly smaller. Got up at 0615H to light showers and banks of stratus clearing. Sun more or less out for last hr now at 0745H which is good as cabin damp. Found a flying fish on deck and was going to have it for breakfast but when I went to get it, there was a long leech growing from its belly so I said, NO THANK YOU. Was amazed to see it on deck as I haven’t see one since a week or so before the Cape. About 9” long and just the right size for a meal not as bird in sight today. Had another good breakfast of 2 rashers, an egg and rye vita and tea. Finished last slice of brown bread last evening for tea. Made a welsh rarebit to help soften crust. Temp 70º this morning. Jibs filling now with showers gone. 60ft showers not the kind that bring wind. First night for ages that I slept non stop for 8½ hrs and when I got up at 0430H I pulled the curtains and had another 1½ hrs of luxurious dozing. No wonder I was hungry. I was refreshed and relaxed. Miss the radio in the mornings and at night now. S.A. stations very weak as we leave the continent behind us. Barometer up x 2M.B. overnight to 1016M.B. Had leeboard on bunk again last night as fresh winds of last few days kicked up some nice seas. May take another sight sun holds and swells decrease. Yesterday sun sight was tough going and I would not say too accurate but good practice. St. Pauls and Amsterdam isles, lie at 77ºE and on our track E and are the only obstruction en route so it will do no harm to be proficient with the sextant. Especially as sat nav is bollixed and no ships as yet. Must bestir myself and see how things are on deck and tidy up and look at w/list, etc.
Finished an early dinner of beans and chopped onion, l with biscuit and tea now. Must look up time zones and adjust if necessary. Been at navigation, cleaning grease pan and frying pan. Cleaning and gen tidying. Put on clean t/cloth. Wind strengthen and no flap from jib so will fly Genoa. Showers or mist banks gone with sun now for past hr.
Showers came again and are with us off and on like sun. Light rain with no wind increase. A milk day which would be great for growth on land. Good steady progress lately.
Day 38 Tuesday 08/03/1994
0940H we are now 4 hours ahead of GMT put watches 1 hr forward last night. Concerned for wind now as it has eased during past hr and there are now showers. They having cleared earlier. Up since 0630H and have been busy until now. Cleaning and cooking – pumping – tidying. The usual. Had a weetabix with life long milk for a change and 2 rash last of pack out and T and R.R. Will have a coffee now shortly. Ex nights sleep, non stop again. 2200H to 0530H and pulled curtains and dozed for an hour. Sun out now for some time and jibs fucking flapping. I hate it. Not so much for lack of wind, but it hacks the shite out of them. If it doesn’t improve I will drop them. We still have the long swell from the West on S.W which is the cause of all the trouble, as it is on our starboard beam and ¼. Must have been some blow down there, as we have it now for 3 days. Wind up and down now at 0955H though I can’t complain as last 4 days have been great with following winds. 2 twin jibs giving excellent progress. No dampness this morning. Getting used to rolling now as we go downwind. Would be nice to meet a ship though and get a message home. You must as usual be worried now after over 5 weeks.
The best dinner for some time. Medium tin peas, 2 sausages and instant spuds with a mug of milk and tea and bus now. Wind increased shortly after above and excellent progress since with usual rolling. Temp 75º, as we have a blue sky. My chart shows we are a thousand miles from the islands. Approximately 12 days.
Day 39 Wednesday 09/03/1994
Slept well in spite of heavy rolling. Did not bunk down until 2200H as wind had come up around 1900H and I was anxious with poled Genoa. Anyway we made it thro a starry night. Woke once at 0200H and again at 0600H after dozing to heavy rolling and surfing got up at 0630H and changed Genoa for w/jib as we were over canvassed. Wind fresh now and we are max speed under the 2 w/jibs running before short sometimes breaking seas, with rolling and usual yawing as we still have swells from W and S.W which blew us off course. In spite of all that we have sun for past 2 hrs and I am aft a good breakfast of weetabix, 3 sausages and a boiled egg. I love my breakfast. Barometer dropping slowing from 1019 M.B. yesterday at 0900H to 1013 M.B now. Sky festooned with high cirrus all yesterday afternoon. We also had a brassy sunset so I would imagine we will not be short of wind for a while.
Having my 11s after being in oilers for 1st time in ages. Had a few near broaches and wind way up so took down twin w/jibs and we are now on course under storm jib doing 3KN. Plenty of short bastards of seas, most of them cresting. But snug at last. If not as fast. Lord, but we were moving this morning. Sun out at times other times veiled with light stratus. A very fresh windy day, luckily it did not come up o/night thank god as we have no moon at present. I must be out of condition as I feel tired after work. Then it was hot in oilers and we had 2 poles and jibs to undo and lash. Nice whine in rigging now but I don’t give a shit, I will read for a while.
A day confined to cabin. Got a glimpse of sun before it set. Diffused and brassy. Heavy mist showers since 1200H still strong winds with very lumpy confused seas. Making movement in cabin difficult. In spite of which I had a nice dinner of last of tin of sausages with green beans and instant spuds. At mid aft I had an apple and just now had 2 rashers and an egg. Nothing else one can do only eat and read. Plodding away since under storm jib. Only that I had strong w/jib to port fore stay, I would probably have hoisted it this morning. But as things turned out, we were as well off. Will be running out of book shortly. But that will be the least of my worries. Nell doing a great job since 1100H with wind on our port ¼ with N.W. wind as we head just N of E. So we are still going E.
Day 40 Thursday 10/03/1994
Was tired last night, from motion and noise mostly as I was only on deck twice, to change sails yesterday. Hit the bunk at 2040H and instantly asleep. Woke at 0230H and no change in weather, or barometer. Back to bunk until 0715H. Had a great sleep in lee bunk. Even though you have leeboards when rolling your body is rolling and not relaxed. I often woke up with my stomach muscles tender. Now 0820H with still not change in wind or its direction and we have made steady progress N of E during the night. Sea confused totally this morning with waves breaking from various angles and crests mixing together but they are all abaft the beam and are pushing us along also. Feel good. A good sleep is great and even though it is wild, I had not worries about carrying canvas at night which is marvellous. Oh, but I enjoy my breakfast. Had a boiled egg and rye vita and black current jam and a pot of tea and the old Gaspah. Eggs as good as if they came from the hen. Day similar to yesterday. Sun came out shortly before I got up and is in and out of banks of misty clouds. With the rigging singing away thank god. I put up the storm jib. I doubt if we would have held our course so well under w/jib as Nell would not be able for it. We have the wind on our port ¼ now since Sat. Not the best of conditions for scanning for ships. Due to spray and swells and lumps of water which make horizon difficult to see. I will say it again that she is one great boat to take wind and weather. Which is what you want on trips that this. Barometer trying to hit 1011M.B. from 1010 M.B. overnight, since I got up.
Seas beyond Nell since 1200H when clutch slipped, so we are reaching to N.W. wind of gale force. Wind swung W at 1800H with sunset without any let up in gale. Was on deck twice today to pump bilge this morning and at 1800H to pump again and tie one of w/jibs which a part of had come loose. Plenty of spray flying espy since wind change. I decided before dark to leave storm jib up, as I think wind will ease after it swung to West which I think it is beginning to now at 1920H. We are getting the very odd lull of the noise in rigging. Motion and noise of rigging and waves tiring. But making the best of it. Under storm jib since 1100H yesterday in the worse weather since I crossed to Newport in ’96. Repaired foot of Genoa this morning before Nell couldn’t handle it, with repair tape. Stitching at foot had gone and seam was open for a yard. Other than that only cooked and read. Dinner – tinned spuds and gr/beans and salami.
Tea 2 rash from last pack of bacon. Apart from being hungry, it took my mind off conditions which was good, as did reading. Took plenty of breaking wave crests aboard. The tops of which I watched being blown off, as they formed. I noticed the bird didn’t fly much, just sat on the water and let the waves flow over them like a waterfall. The Albatross’ had their legs trailing aft keeping them into the wind. So that’s it folks. Wind giving the very odd lull and then coming up in fury again. Barometer up x 1 M.B. to 1009 M.B since 1800H which is heartening. 31H of it is plenty, don’t you think.
Day 41 Friday 11/03/1994
Oh the peace after the battering. AT 0630H the sun awakened me, and I got up at 0630H as we heading N. with a S.W. wind. Not that that was a problem even though we are getting juggled around by multi swells.
Under mizzen and w/jib. It is chicken feed compared to yesterday. Barometer now 1016 M.B. up x 6 M.B. since last night and up x 8 M.B. since lowest yesterday. Shipped a lot of water yesterday and last night. Anyway wind did go down to F6 to 7 at 2200H which enable me to see Nell again, as we were heading N with wind shift to W. So she held us on new heading in spite of large seas which is a great tribute to her. Will have a look at stern gland today as I had to pump a lot yesterday, even though I know a lot of water leaks into bilge, from cockpit fl/ds and lockers. A job for the future and noted. Woke at 0300H and pumped plenty as again this morning. Wind had not swung S.W at 0300H.
So there is the odd ship saw my 1st bit of flotsam since Gordons Bay. Nice to see a sign of human beings again. Have genoa up as we were only hobbling through swells, ocean bubble is out of all proportion, will hoist main as soon as I check s/t gland and engine, as I don’t want spray flying. Having some grub now after bailing stern and well to check how much water it is letting in. not easy to drink from mug as we bobble along through fret, but a wonderful day as you can get out of solitary and move around in sun for a change. Difficult to scan with various swells. A very satisfying and great mornings work,. Tight evening. Gave engine thorough checking, oil water batteries etc. and tightened alter motor belt and it started on first switch so we are under both engine and sail now since 11.45.h, sun out all the time now with only a few small cumulous showing so all in all a very lovely day in every way. Thank God. Nice feeling after surviving a gale given one confidence in self and boat. Hands filthy after work so will sacrifice a little water to the god of cleanliness and have a good wash and change of underwear, before dinner, delighted with engine as it is 10days since I ran it and it will do it good plus batteries was too hungry to wash and had salami, boiled rest of spuds. Becalmed and rolling since I stopped engine at 15.30.h so it got a good run for nearly 4 hours otherwise would have made little progress with sails due to confused swells. Sun out most of day and we may see the sunset shortly, never washed as I felt tired after the mornings work and bar striking sails and watching heading, read instead, no doubt the gale tired me also so if wind doesn’t come up, I will have an early night.
Day 42. Saturday 12.30
Believe it – says Ripley. At 1930.h last evening a light northerly breeze appeared that enable me to set genoa. Awoke at 0330.h to a sharp angle of heel and found Nell had slipped and that we were o/canvassed so oilers and boots and handed genoa and hoisted storm jib, hoping Nell would be able to cope, back to bunk and woke at 0800.h which is late for me and Nell has slipped again. Adjusted her again and she could only ole for ½ hour it’s the seas more than the wind slewing her around, that is our problem so not at nearly 1000.h after rising late for a change, wind seems to be easing now and then, so I may chance Nell again. Yes, she is holding in spite of large swells and short high breaking waves which built up very rapidly since 0330.h. Barometer down by 4m.b overnight to 1013m.b Ocean never settled since prolonged and severe gale of Wednesday-
Just finished the latest 11’s for some time of rye vita and salami and mug of coffee. Prior to that spent some time on navigating and plotting and estimated we are now 360.m to the islands and I have laid a course to pass to the north of them by 120.m unless in the meantime I get a sat/fix or get a chance to take a noon sight. Nell holding since 10.00h which is great as apart from better heading and speed we are shipping very little spray and motion is easier. Wind eased slightly and we have sun for past hour or more.
Going since I got up so will now read for a while. No sign of sunset from 1400.h 5 hours of misty rain blanketing sky. Put up w/jib with storm jib at 1430.h with wind decrease and Nell coped. Under w/jib and mizzen since 1800.h as wind swung to the S.W. watch goes forward another hour tonight as we are on 70’E, 5hours ahead of GMT and Irish winter time. Had spaghetti with chopped onion and a tin of pilchard for dinner, an orange during the afternoon and I don’t feel hungry for tea yet. Barometer steady since morning. Estimated we are approximately ½ way, today 2,400.m if we take the same time to complete the course should be in Albany 21st April or another 40 Days.
Day 43. Sunday 13.03
Awakened at 0215.h to sails slatting, now at 0315.h I am after weetabix and life long milk which I opened and had with more weetabix last night for my tea as I wasn’t hungry, finished a mug of cocoa now after receiving 0300.h news from BBC World with a fair enough reception. A mild night at 64’ with an odd star visible but not a ship light, shoving up to my birthday now, next Thursday. Would be nice to get word to you all before then. Feel a bit doped still after being awaked from my sleep, but don’t feel like going back to bunk may read for a while.
Read until 0400.h one of my favourite authors Forsythe. Looks like I will be reading today as it is a wet grey morning with a light N/E breeze when I got up at 0814.h. cut ½ of last bit of bacon and ha a few rashers and an egg for my Sunday breakfast. Breeze has strengthened enough to sail so will have a deco now after I finish my tea. Barometer steady at 1012.mb a rise of 1.mb since yesterday. Must put out my underpants for a wash, feel lazy to hoist sails must be interrupted sleep of last night though I didn’t notice it yesterday, after another night of broken sleep. Hate putting on oilers for a drop of rain.
Raining heavily now for last ½ hour. Got my wash and change of clothes at last and lovely and clean and fresh. Decided to hoist sails in my cords and tracksuit top in light rain. Underpants soaking now in rain with cords in cockpit. No harm to get the salt off cords. They are my deck pants when I think I may get spray and sometimes when I put them out on a sunny day they would stand on their own when dry. Don’t know what we will get out of this rain and the wind is from and unusual direction was N.E when I hoisted sails and WF were sailing full and bye at 120’ and 30.minutes later were at 140’ now at 1100.h were are on 125 don’t know what the weather is up to but wind freshening. Not familiar with this weather pattern.
Had to dump w/jib for storm jib and was I glad I did. An hour later had to drop main. Heavy rain until wind suddenly swung from N.E to N and misting since then. Wind also down from F TO 6 now just past hour. Just finished my Sunday dinner of peas, instant mast and salami with a mug of milk. Lord but it has been a busy morning. I have never been so clean since the showers I had in G.B.Y.C. I am also knackered as Dan would say so I am going to relax now in the lee bunk and read, fuck the begrudgers.
Day 44. Monday 14.03
Well at least I had not to get up and go on deck last night. Though from 0400.h we have had strong winds with big seas which kept me awake and asleep if you like and as a result I feel a bit dopey this morning. At 0130.h last night we were heading N.E. and at 0400.h nearly North and when I got up at 0700.h North so into Oilers and dropped storm Jib and fixed sheeton portside and hoisted it again. Had misjudge length of sheet on cockpit cleat and it flogged with the sheet gone had got a last in the ear which is still smarting. I ducked fast.
I can tell you wind now S.W. from N.E. at midday yesterday. Rained heavily yesterday from 100.h until 1600.h and then lighter until it ceased at 1100.h. glow of sun at sunset through clouds brassy so even though wind has eased left bps t/jib and was again glad I did after sybins storm jib this morning. Made porridge for a change as I thought I would cheer me up on this wild noisy morning. Then the usual bacon and egg which I never tire of and tea. At least the sun is out now and again today.
Yesterday was miserable. Everything still damp, we are due for a break now after nearly a week of shitty weather.
Wind holding true since we gybed this morning. Slept for 50 minutes. Full gale again since early morning. Sun helping to brighten day have taken plenty of wave crests over us and into cockpit, must have a mug of coffee.
In fact I had my dinner if you would call it that salami and rye vita, rye vita finished as I did not bring many as being imported was very expensive. Also they had not an expiry date. Dinner was delayed somewhat as I noticed water seeping out from beneath lee galley floorboards. Took me sometime after emptying locker under sink to discover a small hole in bulkhead which I put a paired down cork into, prior to that when I discovered bilge water in cabin I immediately jumped into cockpit and pumped bilge. Taking a chance on being drenched but nothing untoward in bilge. What was happening Thank god for I thought a bilge keep joint or bolt may have been leaking, bilge water was being pushed through this hole into galley locker. What the hole was for I will never know. Anyway still taking a pounding from some vicious waves and being tossed at their mercy. Only good thing is we are on course sine I gybed and 0700.h though we must be making leeway faster than headway, but I do not give a shit as it is to the North and we are moving towards the only obstructions end route The Islands. Last Saturday’s plotting put us 360.miles from them and since then we have covered less than 100.m going N of E can do very little only read. This enforced confinement doesn’t do much for one’s appetite, cooking is far from easy. Got my head soaked trying to scan earlier. Seas are very big and confused and varying swells. Barometer by ½ mb so God is Good. The main thing is that I have no leaks and a dry cabin.
Mention of food has made me hungry, but for what? Decided on sausages and mash with pro/v and lemon coffee. Barometer up by 2.m.b since, but without let up in gale. Forgot to mention that I found a flying fish in cockpit today. Did not feel like eating it at the time so gave it to the crows who had it out on the waves in an easy fight over it. Pumped bilge since also which was fairly full with water from cockpit. Difficult to drink from mug in motion. Do I detect a lessening of whine in rigging?
No reduction in wind as light begins to fade early with overcast sky. No move from barometer since or any change in wind direction sine 08OO.H.
Wind has eased during the past hour with whine in rigging going up and down as wind or gale dies hard. A bare lift in barometer since it went up by 2.mb at 1700.H motion always worse when wind eases as we dance around more when pressure eases on sail and rigging could have more sail up now I suppose but one would want to be a raving lunatic to go on deck now, the seas I was looking at today and they were as big as I have seen so far, will take some time to reduce. Anyway if I am not mistaken wind will decrease to that sails would not fill in the swells left from today. Will see what the morning brings hopefully we will get a fine day which is overdue. Have been reading until now when I made mug of cocoa as my eyes were getting tired. Bunk 2100.
Day 45. Tuesday 15.03
Well I was mistaken, wind eased but stayed that way and we still have a healthy whine. We also held our heading as wind still S.W. Now 0910.H woke at 0400.H and barometer up by 1mb to 1011mb. I rose at 0745.H and had a good breakfast of porridge last of bacon and a boiled egg. Barometer not 1012.m.b. on 2nd last pack of margarine which is perfect, will probably hoist w/jib and mizzen shortly and see what happens. Big crests of yeasty gone but sea as usual after strong winds confused and lumpy. Slept well and long but I feel knackered. Either slept too long for I also woke at 0600.H and could have got up or else it is the strong winds and motion of past few days.
Got into oilers and hoisted w/jib. Put a strop at tack and it is setting better, doing a steady 3kn. could have a 2nd reef main up but will give it a while day overcast. Storm jib was up for nearly 2 days. No wonder I am knackered still no sign of a ship. I am hoping to see one before or on Paddy’s day. Would be nice to get a position also as we approach the Islands but I am edging north all the time and these past few days we have been pushed well to the North. Will plot today at 1600.H Must be nearly a week since a chance to use sextant and 9 days since a sight.
Sky semi cleared 1330.H and from then on sun and cumulous and showers. No shortage of wind and w/jib was ample since I hoisted it especially in strong winds. Wind held S.W. since morning. Barometer now 1015.m climbing slowly. Nice to see the sun again and I could scan from hatch. Plenty of spray but nothing big. Stashed gr/pan with bacon finished. Had a tin of mushroom soup for dinner and cheese and crackers and coffee mid-
Day 46. Wednesday 16.03
Sunset behind large dark clouds. Now 0400.H and I have just dropped w/jib which woke me giving odd bang as we roll in a very confused sea and swells which beat the wind. Barometer 1021.mb. Wind had eased since I hit the bunk at 0200.H and my sleep is gone for the present, made a mug of cocoa and had a biscuit. Very dangerous on deck.
Dropped jib with motion. Will read for a while. Stayed in the bunk until 0900.H. finished pot of tea now with a glopan, after 2 eggs and last of tin of sardines opened Monday. Felt cold after reading at 0400.H and turned in fully dressed and wasn’t too warm when I awakened after a great sleep. Temperature now 70’ and have just opened fore hatch. Lovely to wake up to sun with a few small cumulous for a change. Barometer 1025.m.b. we have a light breeze still S.W. and I will take light genoa and mizzen st/sle shortly in spite of swells.
Took advantage of fine day. First for some time to get a lot of work done both stop and throttle controls were stiffening up so I traced cables to engine and greased linkages. Hoisted m/stsl as a flying jib at 1000.H and it only gave odd flap. At 1200.H wind strengthened enough to hoist genoa and mizzen st/sle which we are under since and going well. Another night of broken sleep I suppose was what made me feel tired after mornings work so I read and took it easy after a light dinner of salami and rye vita and jam.
Sunset again obscured by grey cloud banks similar to last evening. Wind holding but eased in last hour. Otherwise good steady progress during day. Had a decent tea of instant spuds, spinach (other ½ of yesterday’s tin) and sardines. Followed by an apple and now tea and biscuits. Sun left us around 1600.H for clouds. All in all a nice day. Barometer up x 2mb since morning to 1027.m.b. we have a large swell from W.W.W since mid-
Day 47. Thursday 17.03 St. Patricks Day Begorragh.
Up since 0645.H. as I did not wake during the night. Waited up until 2200.H last night hoping wind would hold. There is a nice ripple on the water but no wavelets; anyway wind is from the west so it would be downwind which requires more wind. Took the advantage of not having wind last night to open one of the Huguenot Valley Wine or Franchhoit wine and celebrated my 70th Birthday with 2 glasses of it. No wonder I slept. So here I am on Paddy’s Day far from the capital of Ireland, Liverpool, where I was born. Approaching St. Pauls and Amsterdam Islands in the Southern Ocean. It is now 0745.H while I await a breeze after a breakfast of porridge and rye vita and jam and a pot of tea. Won’t cost them anything on presents this year. Dan never forgets even when I was in Coventry. Anyway I am thinking of you all on this for me historic day. My nicest present today would be to get the message of life to you. One never knows. Barometer 1027m.b.would be nice to get a few days of pleasant winds. At least I have a calm day for my birthday after very strong winds of past week may even get a noon sight if the layered clouds clear.
A few wavelets appeared so poled mizzen st/sle to port and light w/jib to starboard to a light westerly wind and bar odd flap we are sailing Thank God. It is usually a good sign to get a breeze after sunup. Going to make a cup of coffee as I feel thirsty. Had a few peanuts with wine last night and took the last from a large bag and mostly salt. Jesus, but it is great to get a good night’s sleep I feel like a new man this morning, relaxed and refreshed and it is such a pleasant morning. It is great to be alive to count ones blessings. Thank God I have a good boat under me in these waters. If one had an arsehole of a boat down here they would as Dan Larkin is so fond of saying “Be Bollixed”.
Had a nice dinner for my birthday, cabbage, spuds and tune with wine and fresh melon and now coffee and biscuits. Have been busy sail handling trying to make the miles and on the right heading, most of the morning as wind constantly changing direction from S.W. to West and West & North. However we are creeping East and the main thing is to have wind especially with barometer so high. Sewed a piston hank on to light genoa sitting and wedged on fore cabin top before I flew it this morning appropriately the national colours were hoisted first today in the form of mizzen st/sle which I flew as a jib It is green, white and gold and a light wind. Intended to grease gear lever linkage today but we have a very large swell from the E. &.W. and medium one form the west which would make it difficult. Anyway I have been busy on deck must be some strong winds down south and west sending those swells. Now I am going to read and let my dinner digest.
Wind held until sunset. Rolling to swells now after tea of rye vita and fish paste. Sunset obscured but brassy glow between grey clouds. So we will have a puff tomorrow hopefully. Looks like I will be at the wine again tonight. Barometer down by 1.mb to 1027.m.b. bar looking at compass and put a few tape patches on mizzen st/sail I relaxed and read this afternoon. Swells today and now biggest for some time especially as we are in a high. So that’s it folk’s sorry I couldn’t get a message as I know you will be thinking of the Turk today as I am thinking of you.
Day 48. Friday18.03
Awakened to a westerly wind and hoisted poled genoa and w/jib I had dropped and left poled, handy, either rained or else a shower during the night. A dull overcast grey mug with barometer steady. Must put on the kettle.
Looked out some time ago and saw a piece of kelp which leads me to believe we have passed the Islands. My yesterday’s plotting and direction put me 80.miles from their long and 100.miles north of their lat. But it is 10 days since my last position and sat nav and I am inclined to under estimate my speed since I cleaned and antifouled in Gordons Bay. Also I am not allowing for current, which runs at 3-
Greased gear box linkage and battery term’s and all electric connections. Connected sat nav to batteries as solar panels are barely putting back the power and use at night with lights as we have had little sun lately. Yes there are ships around, sailed through four slicks of dirty water, colour similar to sewer water and all near each other. Also plugged and sealed 2 holes in steering console. Wind edging from West to Southwest at present. Nell is as far off centre as she can go without twin jibs gybing.
Going to relax now. Going since plotted position on chart and estimated remaining distance. 1,800 miles or 25 days or 12th of April at present rate of progress. Cooked dinner of soup mixed with yesterday’s cabbage water and yesterday’s ½ tin of spuds, followed by melon and coffee biscuits had to douse one of twins and hoist mizzen st/sle as wind went South West, also went to shop or bunk lockers for tins etc. .Under m/sail since 1600.H as wind came checking bilge pump this afternoon, thinking it was choked but it was ok. Bilge water must go forward when genoa and mizzen stay/sle up. I noticed the same when running under twin jibs. But I always got a dropout of pump anyway after pouring a few buckets into stern gland well it pumped it out so I was happy. Unusual sunset tonight, sky like a fan to sunset horizon or like a witch’s head of hair. Prior to sunset sun appeared watery and at sunset gave a pale yellow glow from behind the grey fan. Barometer still steady 1026.m.b. and wind holding as we make good headway.
Day 49. Saturday 19.03
3rds night in a row becalmed. A mild starry night. Moon was gone but plenty of light from the Milky Way can’t complain made good headway since 1000.H yesterday. Barometer steady at 1028.mb. What wind is there is still from the south. Made a mug of cocoa. What about that bit of kelp yesterday. Amazing and wonderful are the ways of the lord. May have a glass of wine after cocoa in case it goes off R.S.A. cocoa is nice not as rich as ours and does not need sugar or milk. Rolling beam on to swells now. would imagine we will have little wind today somehow even that there were plenty of mares sails in sky yesterday afternoon will be interesting to see what that most unusual sunset foretold. Mist I would imagine. Going to hit the wine now and then the bunk isn’t it amazing the way I awaken to any change in weather and I am not the easiest to be woken out of a sleep must say I am very happy to be past the islands. Looking forward now to picking up croc Dundee on the transistor.
Can’t believe the time ½ the day gone but well spent. Had one glass of wine last night and finished last few pages of a book. Pulled all the curtains and did not awaken until 0740.H when I turned over and slept until 0850.H. a beautiful sunny day until now as it is clouding up from north. Had nellies sun lotion on sitting on cabin top patching m/sail where stitching had come away from a seam. Other than that all I did was have my breakfast, opened a life long milk and it was a treat with weetabix and also tea started a new book. Apart from swells ocean like glass. Barometer up by 1.m.b. overnight to 1027.m.b. will have to start going south again now that we are past the islands. Clouds of the layered type and came fast. Whole sky that was blue is now practically covered. Must make a coffee I don’t know why but I think today is Sunday. The restful Mu’s maybe haven’t had such a peaceful and fine morning for ages. It will do me good. Checked lo and find we have had 9 winds of F7 or more so far including a gale from the east with 13 periods of calms. As Eddie McCarthy said when I crossed the Atlantic “If it was easy everyone would be doing it” I have plenty of food and water a good boat and I feel great if at times tired. Must check fruit today 2 weeks now and it should be done weekly. Should be using engine today but I don’t feel like watching the compass in swells and what difference will a few miles make in a high. Anyway the Batt’s is VP since I ran it last Friday week though now with sat nav on it since yesterday it will require more usage
Checked fruit, one orange ¼ gone off and I ate the remainder which was lovely. Why I don’t eat more fruit I don’t know, never did. One apple as the orange for later all the rest ok. So once a fortnight will be ok from now on or will it? As the fruit gets older.
Sea showing some ripples now as sky semi clearing. Have another bit of kelp within view (50yards) for past hour also odd birds appearing even a storm petrel which I haven’t seen for some time. Very warm out with reflection of calm water. I can feel my face hot now thought I might come near that kelp and have it as a souvenir of the islands would have been nice. Waiting on my lunch to cook other ½ of yesterday’s tin of soup with a chopped onion.
Sailing again since 2030.H a light breeze came up after sunset so I gave it a chance and it held. Main and genoa filling nicely. Heading south of east to get down to 38’south again gradually. Though we have no choice tonight and in that we are fortunate. Did very little since dinner except sand and read. Had salami for tea forgot other ½ of last melon today on a/o of checking fruit will probably hit the lee bunk shortly and hopefully wind will hold. Barometer still high and steady 1027.m.b.
Day 50. Sunday 20.03
Wind held and increased during the early morning and allowed me to stay in bunk until 0800.H when I had to drop genoa for w/jib. I was very nearly tempted not to hoist sails last night thinking I would be dropping them again during the night. So we have made good progress Thank God which will make up for the calms of past few days. Morning overcast and where there is a skylight in the lower clouds. Glad I didn’t run engine yesterday though was very near doing so. Motion fairly wild and whine is back. Had weetabix again with the life long milk for breakfast and it is both a change and a treat also a few rye vita and a pot of tea. Wind holding from the north east since it came up last evening and we are broad reaching. House bound again put my head out of hatch after dressing this morning and got a head wash straight away. Yesterday warmest for some time 74’ haven’t worn socks now for some time. Great to be past the islands that kelp yesterday and Friday were the most beautiful pieces of seaweed I have ever seen apart from the Agulhas Bank they are the only dangers on route. So Aussie here we come with hopefully good weather for a landfall and a good landfall.
Wind increased all morning. Heavy rain from 1200.H until now, reefed mizzen at 1230 as it was pushing us into wind causing jib to shake. Ok since a making good headway in F.7 for last couple of hours. Taking odd crest over us and into cockpit. Had salami and vita and milk for dinner with last of melon impossible to cook and difficulty drinking. But I am going to make a coffee now barometer dropping all the time, sky trying to brighten. Noticed a batten missing from main this morning. Noise of waves thumping bilge and motion, tiring but excellent headway compensating.
Rain showers since with poor visibility with no let-
Barometer down by another 2m.b. was looking back through log and barometer is at its lowest since leaving Gordons Bay. Still no let-
Day 51. Monday 21.03
Woke an hour ago but couldn’t get back to sleep so got up. Still the same noises from waves and rigging dame glad I put up storm jib. Barometer down by 6.m.b to 1000.m.b which is a recorded low. Wind has shifted to west of north so depression is beginning to move south and west of us at last, must make a cocoa. Temperature 10’ and humid which is not helping the sleaven depo either. Everything is damp having a gas-
Woke to light and didn’t even look at the time or heading, just turned over in my lee bunk. Woke again at 0745.H and got up. Wind down to 6’. Set Nell and after a few adjustments got us running before a north-
Wind nearly south now and barometer rising. Wind still strong but easing have w/jibs up and storm jib down since 1330.H and it is plenty. Sun appearing now and then in a lovely bit of blue sky and then banks of mist. Had a decent dinner of green beans, ham, wine, orange and now coffee & biscuits. Making good headway all the time. Seas still wild. Pulled out cans etc. before dinner and steeped some lentils and pearl barley for tomorrow. That ham was lovely for dinner for a change, last of two cans I bought. Wind dying hard. A deep depression, 24 hours of very strong winds. Hopefully a few fine days now as barometer creeping up now nearing 1002.m.b.
Back in after hoisting reefed mizzen. Got a sat/fix at 1410.H local time. Unfortunately it was a v/s fix. But it seems to tally approximately to my d.r. positions they are often quite accurate. Even though wind has eased state of sea is still very boisterous and out of all proportion to wind we have. Getting odd strong gusts. Seas will take a few days to settle. Nice to have got sat/fix, didn’t know I had it. I was changing jibs when it came on. Barometer 1004.m.b. sunset behind clouds. In a semi clear sky shadowing ½ moon. Forgot to mention I saw more oil streaks yesterday. Only having coffee and gaspan for tea as I had a tin of rice at mid-
Day 52. Tuesday 22.03.
Sails down since 0400.H swells from gale after math beat breeze. Awakened at 0100.H and they were giving odd slat also. After the usual cocoa as we roll. Dangerous on deck especially after waking up, put watch forward by 1hour so we are now 6hours ahead of G.M.T. feel very alert and refreshed. Must have slept like a log, so what to do now. I don’t feel like sleeping. Opened a pack of Complan I had since Christ’s Irish food and put a spoon of it in cocoa and will use it from now on as it will only do me good. After nearly 2 months at sea, very satisfied with progress in spite of either too much or too little wind of late. Dampness gone. Barometer now 1010.m.b. no sign of stars whatever is covering them.
Aired damp clothes on aft cabin top, checked all rigging and ok. Stitched loose hank on to light genoa. Checked anchor lashings, whipped and sealed end of jib sheet. Hoisted m/st’sle as jib with light w/jib and poled both, to light north-
Wind steadied and held in strength but from west since 1400.H. odd sh’r slow moving on horizon and we had sun at 1300.H for an hour or more. Sky today typically Irish, blue and clouds. Even cooler today. Even though temperature in cabin 68’ no great rise in pressure. 1012m.b. all day. Are we leaving high pressure system behind us as we go East? Started engine and it fired first time. Thank God. To dry out electrics mainly and to charge battery as I have sat nav on it since last Friday. Have it in neutral as we are sailing well. Dipped fuel tanks and we have 30 gallons. Got all my clothes dry and aired, cords, tracksuit which took a lash of unexpected spray, still have to stitch main. But I will leave it as we have heavy swells still. Anyway we don’t seem to use it a lot. In fact it was a week since it was up before last Saturday. As most of our winds are abaft the beam. Felt tired after work of morning of morning. I think those gales take it out of you, so bar engine and fuel, rad after my dinner of rest of yesterday’s cans of green beans, spuds and ham, had a chopped apple and raisins to follow with coffee. Can only scan horizon when we top swells today they are that big.
Sunset 1845.H this evening with no change. Clouded over but brassy glow through clouds, with one rosy window. Would not say we will be becalmed for a while. Wind increased and I had to drop flying mizzen st/sail. I had poled as a jib around 1600.H and still freshened after I replaced it with w/jib until a swell caused gybe, so I had to drop starboard jib and unpole other one and we are now running ok, now with a whine again. It’s not the wind as Alec Rose said. “but the state of the sea” glad I got a chance to run engine for 21/3 hours to dry out, which is running well Thank God.
Hit the bunk at 0900.H as was awakened at 2300.H to jib flapping and took a chance after a wave came over cockpit and winched it tight in my pyjamas and made it. Came back and it still flapped so got into oilers before seas built up with now very strong wind and struck jib and lased it to fore deck, so we are now lying a hull to another gale from the west this time so I imagine it will be short lived. First time since S.A. that we had all sails down in wind. Nice whine now in rigging. At least I can go back to a lee bunk and not be worrying about getting up again. Made good headway since breeze came up this morning.
Day 53. Wednesday 23.03
Wind still strong and gusty now at 0845.H but not as bad as last night’s gale. Awakened at 0700.H and pulled the curtains and back to bunk and dozed until 0745.H and got up as there was a banging which I thought was the rudder, which worried me. It was Nell who I had not disengaged and locked last night. We have sun and clouds and barometer has risen to 1015.m.b. with wind moderating between gusts. So when I come alive I will hoist jib. I feel dopey and lethargic and don’t feel a bit energetic, which is unusual for me as I am a morning person. Didn’t even feel hungry for the first time. Had weetabix and tea with vita. Must be the noise and motion of wind. Gale force winds during last 4 days are taking their toll. Wind is southwest which is the same as our northwest after a low. Apart from wine and odd thump of breaking crests we lie a hull fair enough.
Bestirred myself and got into oiler’s and went on deck with the intention of putting up w/jib. Holy Infant Jesus It’s still blowing a gale. Anyway put up storm jib and it is plenty. Never saw so much white water or such a conundrum of waves and swells. Luckily the sun was out and I must say it was an impressive sight clean, fresh, wholesome power, strength and beauty and colour. Pure. We get the odd big black bastard of a shower. That bit of air did me good. Colder again today have my pyjamas on since yesterday under tracksuit also socks and a pullover. Temperature 63’. Polar air without pollution. Barometer up by 1m.b and climbing. I know it can be tricky with gales and waves and noise and calms but that was some sight out there in the sun & wind. Makes up for a lot. Bilge took 150 pumps. Normally I pull the curtains when the sun comes in but today it is welcome and lovely to feel its warmth. Big change from the Doldrums and awnings and gorgeous bay heat. Having a coffee and gaspan as I write. Not let up in wind or whining. Even though I say it myself one has to be of a certain breed to put up with the racket. Nothing for it now only to read and wait it out.
Blowing a full gale since 1100.H when barometer went to 1022.m.b. 6m.b. in a half hour. With two more by 1130.H and now 1025.m.b. the black showers died off around midday and we have had sun and cumulous since then. The sun makes a big difference on a day like this. Takes the sting out of wind and sea doesn’t look as bad as it is. Have a second pullover on since early and only for the sun would be very cold. Temperature 66’ “Loon” is one great boat in blow and we are in as big a sea as I have ever seen. That is a comfort, in weather of past four days. Where are the ships? You must all be worried at this stage.
Wind easing now and then as it swings more to south. Have had it from southwest since morning. Getting dopey from been inactive and house-
Wind down slightly but still very strong. Have been looking every so often and scanning. Thinking I might hoist w/jib and reefed mizzen but no go. Storm jib plenty for the moment, unless sunset will have an influence. With the state the sea is in it will be difficult keeping wind in sails if it reduces in strength. Anyway at present the sun is about 3/4hour from setting and it doesn’t look too healthy. Will watch it. Still doing a handy 2kn since 1030.h in spite of seas.
Sunset again clouded up with brassy glow on clouds. Light fading now.
Barometer up by 1m.b. to 1027.m.b. had a light tea of salami and crackers. Salami a godsend as it is tasty; I would imagine we have the equinoxual gales. As days now 12 hours daylight approximately, wind down now slightly but still a healthy whine in gusts.
Day 54. Thursday 14.03
A great night’s sleep under storm jib. Wind held and there is still plenty of it Thank God. Sea levelled out a bit and wind now on our ¼ as it shifted to nearly west overnight. Still a nice tune in rigging. Now 0740.H woke at 0645.H and got up at 0700.H to grey leaden stratus and damp. After adjusting Nell, pumped bilge 160pums and I am after weetabix and awaiting my egg to boil. Nice to know we were making headway during the night. Barometer steady since last night at 1029.m.b. maybe if sun burnt off stratus we will dry out. Down 3kn since I adjusted Nell and put wind on our ¼.
Odd patch of blue showing now and clouds breaking apart. Seas erratic and we get the odd one into cockpit from breaking crests. Will think about increased sail shortly. Was making out work lists since and reading Reeds Almanac. Wind easing but sea state still mixed up. Having an early coffee as I felt thirsty. Temperature up 66’ enjoying the comparative peace after strong winds.
Cleaned up to w/jib and doing h.kn since 100.h sky clouded up again and I think will remain so. Big banks of thin stratus showing odd bright patches. Wind steady at F.6 and we have plenty of sail up in w/jib. Felt out of condition after deck work, being confined is not the best to keep one fit. Have been busy with navigation and estimate another 21 days to Albany. Also had second breakfast before the deck work and air gave me a appetite. 1500 odd miles remaining. We will have a better chance of ships as we near Australia. Hopefully I would dearly like to get a message to you all.
Had a good dinner, onion and cabbage into pot of yesterday’s lentils, protein bar, tomatoes, onion and had it with a tin of pilchard. Along with diluted grape juice with a ½ lemon squeezed into it. Having coffee and a biscuit now. Sat nav showing antennae fail constantly now. “Fuck it” housebound unless I put on oilers. Reading since dinner bar scanning. Difficult with biggest swell of voyage, from southwest have to wait for crest. Main thing is we have wind. Barometer steady at 1030o.m.b. sky overcast most of day bar an l/r at 1300.H. good steady progress unit w/jib.
Went out at 2115.H and saw a well-
Day 55. Friday 25.03
Semi overcast morning with dark mist showers. Hoisted mizzen as wind swing to south-
Changed more sails already this morning than I have for past 2 days. Took down w/jib at 100.h and hoisted genoa but shortly after that wind went abaft the beam so I had to drop mizzen at 1030.h. sky cleared around 0900.h and we have had sun since. Very warm in oilers and I came back knackered. We are on the same latitude south as Lisbon is north so when the sun shines it is warm. Doing a steady 4kn under genoa. I think I will swap mains as I don’t think I will get a chance to stich that main and we could do with it now and as we could have yesterday. Sea state down but still tricky on deck.
Decided I needed main on this lovely blue skied day so took slides of track and fed head of sail into cabin, where I stitched it and have it up since 1130.h with one reef in it. I have had my dinner also since. Finished pot if yesterday’s addition to previous days, lentil & pearl-
Had to drop main as wind shifted at 150.h and to stay on course. In fact it kept shifting since then edging to west and south-
Day 56. Saturday 26.03
Was listening to radio Australia from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and got a time signal at 0330.h my time, 0600.h their time. A historic moment. Reception was weak but distinct. Awakened at 0200.h to a clear moonlight night with a few small cumulous to empty my bladder and went back to bunk and was only dozing so got up and made a pot of tea and had a few crackers and margarine with jam. Still making excellent headway under genoa in ideal south-
Up since 0740.h in spite of being up during the night. Still amazed and delighted this lovely sunny morning though we had a big shower earlier. Barometer still steady and wind still south-
Showers still around and big. Getting one now with no change in wind either in direction or strength. Still without birds. Not even the albatross keeping bits of fat from the salami for them. I saw one crow yesterday. Still can’t get over getting Aussie on radios. Have full main up since and said I would try it and it is pulling well without any hassle. Put my face out of hatch for some complexion mist. Which reminds me I am overdue for a wash and underwear change by a few weeks? Shower seems to have developed into mist. Great to have genoa up now for 2.4m entered two days run at 180.m x 84’t. Estimate 1300.m remaining. Have sat nav on for ½ hour now without antennae fail bleep. Would be nice to get an accurate fix. Last one was on the 8th and one showing d/s on the 23rd. having a mug of coffee now at 1030.h looking forward to seeing ships now that we are pushing nearer Aussie.
Mist persisted until 1300.h and wind went south south-
Have engine on since 1800.h as wind went light as I don’t have to steer as we are close-
Day 57. Sunday 27.03
Reception on radio not as good as previous night, either too early maybe, though tried it again when I was awakened at 2300.h to sails slatting. Wind of south south-
Mizzen st/sail up since as wind is on our quarter. Unlashed boat-
Have the kettle on for coffee. I lay down and read since. That fucking halliard can stay up there. “Bolloxed”. These past days since gales up to last Wednesday have been lovely and badly wanted. Temperature 70’ already with sun and warm wind.
No day of rest down here, read for a short while after boat-
Had to dowse genoa and put up other w/jib poled as we were going too high. Wind now westerly no showers since, sun and wind now very fresh even after poling jib after genoa, to starboard, the best I can do is 100’m when she should be on 120’. Waves were slewing her around and gybing jib so we are now nearly going downwind at a speed we are not used to. But excellent progress even if we are 20’high. Otherwise would have to take in starboard jib and un-
Sun left us some time ago and sky now greyed up, wind still fresh but steady now in direction. That was some swing around from south, south-
Sky semi cleared and sun gold looking and 10minutes or so from setting. A blinding sun for this time of day. Where did the day go to and people ask me what do you do to put down the time. Put up 4 sails and took down 2, 6 sail changes, plus mizzen halliard. Glad I got that down. Sunset large and yellow, after its brassy diffused earlier appearance, which wasn’t bad but sky looked very confused. Now at 1825.h upper northern sky clouds showing red and sky to south overcast, an angry looking sky I would say, I hope I am wrong. Anyway I would not say we will be becalmed for some time, will read now.
Just back after dropping starboard jib and un-
Day 58. Monday 28.03
Good morning at 0845.h. rose at 0800.h to a cold -
Put a reef in mizzen and we are back on heading of 120’m and making excellent headway considering conditions but we are broad reaching and that makes all the difference some pretty hefty waves have built up overnight and we are being tossed around but otherwise snug. Again she is one great boat and Nell who is constantly at work in all winds. Enjoyed that outing, the nearest thing to a walk which I love and the air was a change from cabin. Amazingly barometer has gone up x 1m.b. to 1025.mb. Sun is making and odd appearance which is nice on this coolish morning. Still no sign of a ship.
Was scanning and a slosh came into cockpit no let up or down in wind. Having my elevenses of salalmi and pot of tea. Sky has lightened showing more mares tails. But little sun coming through. Did my plotting for 2 days 155.m’s. Not bad considering we were becalmed for 12hours on Saturday night. Less than 1200.m to Albany, but that is very approximate and dead reckoning after sighting kelp on the 18th & 19th. Inst plus v/s sat/fix of the 21st inst. Last accurate fix for on sat nav was 8th inst. Last sextant sights 3rd & 6th. So we could be nearer for all we know. But no panic anyway yet. Would be nice to get a sat/fix and we are due one or else talk a ship. Radio is good news also. But so far only at night.
Haven’t been out since I hoisted mizzen at 100.h. bar cooking, nothing one could do only read as motion was wild. I think I detect and easing in wind now and then, as we near sunset. Barometer steady all day, noise and motion all day tiring and I dozed for 3.4hour this afternoon for first time in ages. In spite of strong winds made good headway all day. Losing daylight now as I write. Cool all day 65’ highest.
Sunset behind clouds and bar pinkish glow on eastern sky dint look that bad, was lucky to have retrieved mizzen halliard yesterday as mizzen was a great help today. Jib on its own is ok running with wind. We have had f7 since late afternoon, yesterday or 24hours. Being able to reef mizzen is a boon also. Sea is wild now and when drinking it is difficult hopefully radio will give a good reception tonight. It can only improve as we go east.
Just had a look at western sky and from gaps in clouds there is a more copper colour than a brassy one with mares tails of late would imagine give we won’t be becalmed for a while. When are we going to sight a ship? Hopefully soon. “Jesus Mercy” but you must be anxious now, nearly 2 months. Wind easing now and then, and then comes up fierce again. The usual dyeing hard routine. Have kettle on for pot of tea don’t feel hungry as I had a good dinner of other half of yesterday’s spinach and what was left of tin of sardines and instant mast with a mug of mill and a bar of mint chocolate. Coffee at 1600h with a biscuit. Will have crackers and cheese with it. Cheese in perfect condition as are eggs.
Day 59. Tuesday 29.03
Waiting for kettle to boil now after porridge, woke at 0600h and got up at 0630.h to a nice morning cumulous and sun now, I welcome the sun. Temperature 61’ when I got up, now at 0740.m 64’. Wind down to F5 and we are jogging along at 2.3kn will review the situation after breakfast. Probably hoist main. Finished last of margarine with a few crackers and apricot jam. Barometer now 1030m.b. was 1029.m.b. when I hit the bunk at 2100.h motion kinder this morning “thank god” “Jesus lads” as “Dilla” says “You can’t beat a nice pot of hot tea”. Had a good few new birds yesterday evening, half the size of a big seagulls and glides and flies erratically. Was only out twice yesterday. Hoisting mizzen in morning and last night before I hit the bunk I put a vang on mizzen-
Dowsed mizzen and hoisted main as wind is swinging west and is abaft the beam. Put on both of oilers and boots but there was no need for them. We got a slosh into cook-
Only a few cumulous now otherwise it would be cool. I am edging south now at 140.m whereas my course would be 115’m. Variation has been decreasing for some time now and is now 15’west. Winds since passing the islands have been mostly south-
A busy day had to dowse main as wind freshened and was pushing us up too much so I dropped w/jib and hoisted genoa, then later poled out w/jib to starboard at 1115.h and we are flying since. Spent an hour nearly with sextant and between swells and clouds found it very difficult, will work it out late. Had my dinner after that and read for a while as I was knackered and had a doze for ¾ hour now I am after a tin of rice with raisins and having a cup of coffee. Felt cold when I woke up as I was in my bare feet.
Got the new loud and clear from Perth on the hour. Must say it was a lovely day with the morning the best of it. After wind freshened we were getting odd glosh in cock-
Day 60. Wednesday 30.03
Barometer 1033.m.b. up by 2.m.b overnight and excellent progress. 100 miles per day for past 2 days. Must plot on chart. Morning overcast but great to have wind with pressure so high. Slept well and got up at 0830h. awoke at 2400.h and 0400.h and all well thank God. One can be out. Cock-
Had crackers and peanut butter with salami and a mug of milk. Had a late breakfast for me of weetabix and tea, crackers and biscuits and jam. Haven’t plotted yet will do so now, don’t think I will bother calculating yesterday’s sun sight as conditions and readings were crazy.
Took it easy after stopping engine at 1330.h after 2 hours running. Checked batteries on voltmeter and fully charged also did my chart work. 1160miles to Albany or 14-
Sun has set since 1740.h clear and large in a clear sky. As sky cleared completely at 1630.h from the south. Writing by daylight now with clear sky. Wind down for past 1/2hour and sails giving odd flap as we have various swells. Earlier sunset is a good indication of our good progress over past few days. Sunset was the finest and most clear since the Doldrums. Not red but later upper sky showed red where a few clouds were highlighted. Had a coffee with cheese and biscuits this afternoon and had a pot of tea and a few biscuits prior to sunset.
Wind seems to be holding though light.
Day 61. Thursday 31.03
Is this weekend Easter? There was a lot of talk on radio last night about Easter. Woke and rose at 0745.h to sun but now at 0900h sky is overcast with high grey clouds that came up pretty fast while I was hosing sails. Genoa and mizzen st/sle to a light northerly breeze. Wind failed last evening and struck sails at 2100.h should have earlier but hope springs moon came up rosy if you don’t mind whatever that means. Red I know is for wind we will find out. Radios very clear last night and good company. Sky and stars and moon brilliant. Must get to stove only had porridge before going on deck I am going to fry and egg as it is reasonably smooth this morning. Barometer 1036.m.b very lucky to have any wind. Oh Thank God that was really lovely I fried 2 eggs and they were a real treat it’ s so long since I could fry due mainly to swells for a change with northerly wind I am on starboard bunk which gives me more leg room. Sea state as smooth as you can expect down here with a few medium swells and even with light breeze we are doing 3.kn. I feel happy and content Thank god. As we edge closer to land. Pulled curtains last night as moon was bright and as a result had a great sleep. Have 4 eggs left if this is Easter I am ok for the “chuck chuck”. Nice and mild with temperature 66’ now at 100.h with northerly breeze. Will get a chance to do a few jobs today. Replenish container of sugar and coffee etc. and dip fuel tanks. Pull out clean clothes, check fruit which is overdue and rigging.
Day held up terrific, wind steadied and held true plus held after a good sunset. Moon came up rosy again so that is good. Wrote to Jim today for posting in Aussie and got some work done but mainly took advantage of fine day to take it easy and relax. Yes this is Easter weekend. Very good reception tonight on both radios. Hitting the bunk now.
Day 62. Friday 01.04
Woke at 0800.h and got up to an overcast morning. Awakened at 0400.h & 0600.h and on the same heading since yesterday morning when I put up genoa and mizzen st/sle. Wind direction and strength very steady now for 24.h as is barometer 1027m.b. Moon and stars at 0400.h with a heavy dew, cabin damp after it. Sea state still moderate in these ideal conditions. Radio great company last night with the start of 4 day holiday for Easter. Opened another life long milk last night and made mil cocoa. Breakfast weetabix, tea and crackers and blackcurrant jam. Getting a good break with weather.
Sun trying to break out of grey cloud layer. Have tidied cabin and hauled out some provisions from bunk lockers. Found two bad apples, check fruit. Today is Good Friday.
Very little sun today. Overcast and dull. Got a chance to stitch mizzen battery pockets and fit glass reefing. Just finished it now, but wind holding and good progress. Made a stew for dinner, tinned soup with an onion, spuds and peas followed by an orange and coffee.
No visible sunset this evening. What few slits in clouds showing pale. Switched on boat radio at 1730.h on spec while preparing tea and loud & clear with little volume felt tired after work today. Hope I am not getting out of condition. Scanned horizon every ½ hour without success. Few birds today only odd albatross and one mother care’s chicken. Had a good flock of cape pigeons last evening.
Day 63. Saturday 02.04.
Hit the bunk at 1930.H now 0030.H and I have just dowsed mizzen st/sle which was up since 0800.h on Thursday under ideal conditions. Wind up to 5-
Sun doing its best to be seen now in an overcast sky. Slept until 0600.h and got up ok and pulled curtains and slept until 0830.h when I had to adjust Nell. Wind had swung to north-
Poled w/jib to port then dowsed genoa and hoisted other w/jib instead also poled. Balanced better now and easier on everyone including Nell. Have to mind her. A tough cookie like her namesake but good. Wind was up to whining stage before twins went up so we are making better speed. Barometer still creeping down to 1030.m.b. now, but still high. Sky breaking up now and real sun appearing. Temperature 67’ I put on an extra pullover going on deck in bottom half of oilers and was too warm. I am beginning to think there are “fuck all ships” down here. Only “loon” and myself and the birds. Thank God for the radios. Going to make a mug of coffee now.
Bar cooking and scanning and checking heading have been busy with chart. Plotted 3 days run and estimate 900,000miles to Albany another 2 weeks approximately. Also spend some time studying sailing directions for south-
We had odd patches of sun until lately which was nice after dull day of yesterday. Temperature going down now even though 6’. Barometer going down …. Now 1026mb wind steady from north-
Dowsed starboard jib and un-
Heavy drizzle since 1880.h and wind as now swung to south-
Will hit the bunk and await developments.
Day 64. Easter Sunday. 03.04
Got up a 0230.H to check, no moon and clouds and cold. Got into warmer bag and slept until 0700.h coldest yet 57’. Wind s/y up from Antartica. Fortunately we have sun mixed with clouds. A wild fresh cold squally morning have mizzen up since 0800.h after weetabix. Finished pot of tea now after crackers and cheese and jam. Wasn’t I lucky I adjusted sails before dark last night. Was just in bunk last night when jib started to shake. Got up and wind had swung to south-
Pretty hectic motion now with waves built up with wind. Plenty of canvas up in w/jib and reefed mizzen. Which have us well-
Barometer steady at 1026MB since 0900.h temperature 61’ luckily we have sun large swell from south as we reach east no let-
Light fading early as cloud increased for past hour. Temperature 59’ just had a pan of porridge to keep the heat in, looks like being the coldest night after coldest day, even with sun, barometer 1027.m.b.
Day 65. Monday 04.04
Very cold morning overcast and trying to rain. Barometer up to 103l.m.b. overnight. Now 0835.h and I am after a breakfast of salami and jam. Woke at 0700 and got up to adjust Nell as wind swinging to west all the time since 0230.h when I had to dowse mizzen. Running under w/jib since then with wind abaft the beam. Fairly clear sky overnight which seems to be the norm here. Will give it a while before I hoist starboard jib and pole it as there was a very brassy glow from a sunset behind angry clouds with big showers around horizon. East sky showed a red glow. Nice to see barometer climbing again. Been out to adjust Nell again and extremely cold. Forgot my wooly cap. Large high swell from south-
Radios great company last night especially when I had to get up at 0230. Isn’t it amazing that I wake when we get a wind shift, different motion I would imagine. Have my red neckerchief on since morning. Nance used to love it on me “A tinker”? Should have brought my Crombie, “Ye gods” but that hot coffee is nice. No sign of a lift in sky.
Hoisted and poled starboard w.jib, still overcast and trying to rain. I pulled out husky from aft cabin locker. Exercise hoisting jib did me good and got circulation moving. Plotted 2 days run 600.m to Perth. 780m to Albany.
We have sun for past 1/2 hour. Cleared from west slowly. Made a nice pot of soup with lentils and pearl-
Sn didn’t last long. Clouded up again and trying to rain. Found one dozen eggs stashed in a locker. Wind holding steady in strength with just enough of it, with a slight swing to west. Excellent progress. Haven’t seen a sat coming up on sat nav “For a long time now” as Eartha Kitt sings. Up since 0700h and only relaxed after soup, having coffee and a biscuit now. Will finish yesterday’s ham, beans and spuds for a late dinner. Still cold 61’ barometer steady at 103l.m.b.
Had two scrambled eggs with cheese and ham for tea. Hungry weather. Temperature 61’ afternoon showery. Radio ok since 1630.m. Barometer steady.
Day 66. Tuesday 05.04.
Up since 0630.h to dull cold showery morning. 57’, 2’ higher than yesterday. Barometer steady now for 36.m at 103l.m.b. twins up now for 24hours and excel progress. Wind now west and sun beginning to show through a lighter cloud pattern than yesterday. Still have large swell, biggest south-
No sun, in fact the very opposite. The biggest and blackest showers I have seen on any voyage. Got my underpants washed, showers so black you would think it was going to snow. Finished off spuds and beans left since Sunday with some javs for an early dinner. Treated myself to first tin of fruit. Pineapple and kiwis a treat. A change from an apple or orange. Had a mug of milk with dinner and cup of coffee just now with a biscuit. It’s eating weather. Wind increased during showers and eases after them, then settles. They may clear up the cloud we have had of late. Barometer down by 1.m.b. after 36hours to 1030.m.b. Temperature 63’ not bad.
Had to drop starboard poled jib. Wind increased F6. Barometer creeping down now 1028.m.b. Temperature 61’ day stayed grey and dull. Miss the sun, grey skies depressing also cold of past 3-
1700. H. Could not write without switching on light. Must put watch and clock forward by an hour tonight. Wind swung to north-
Day 67. Wednesday 06-
A wild run last night. Wind held in strength and direction. Don’t know how Nell is doing it. Short steep crested waves built up and wind with swells causing lumps of water everywhere. Overcast earlier but sky now showing an odd blue patch sky overcast with waves earlier put watch on last night and got up at 0800.h woke at 0215h and 0600h otherwise slept ok in spite of motion. I must be getting used to it. Temperature 60’ barometer 1019.m.b. have had a pan of porridge since I got up and will make a pot of tea. Now at 0900.h very difficult motion with. Yesterdays showers most unusual. We are fortunate wind did not increase during night as we have plenty as it is. Sea state F6-
Been plotting on chart, 2 days run. Approximately 600miles to Albany or 9 days at present progress. Barometer dropping steadily now 1016.m.b. temperature not bad at 64’ very hard to scan ½ hourly with waves and swells. Also fling spray. Sun barely filtering through. Clouds now and then otherwise overcast. Making good progress under w/jib. Just finished a mug of h/cup soup with a spoon of Complan. Had a boiled egg for breakfast. Confined to barracks again.
Back in from changing down to storm jib. First time out today. Seas big now with plenty of white water. Barometer now 1010.m.b. down by 17.m.b. since last night. Not far off a gale if not one. Sky higher earlier but filled in now and grey. Grey and white lines earlier like parallel lines or straight waves. Will get dark early even with extra hour. Will only have to wait it out., again one great sea-
Full gale now since 1800.h plenty of noise as rigging whines and hallipress flap. Even though they are well tied. No wonder the old sailors christened it the roaring forties. With all the rigging they had it must have been something. Wind still north-
Day 68. Thursday. 07-
Hit the bunk after reading and listening to radio at 2100.h. didn’t think I would sleep with all the racket and the jib was giving odd shake as a wave would swing us to westward with the sheet shaking and banging on deck. But sleep I did, I must have been knackered. Awoke at 0400.h and was amazed I had slept through it for so long. Sky showed clear with moon and stars. Everything damp. Made cocoa and had a biscuit and back to bunk. Woke at 0630.h and pulled bag over my head and slept until 0830.h when I got up, hard to believe. Anyway lovely sun and clear sky, which is great. Wind down to F.7 and barometer up by 1.m.b. last evening at 2000.h Nell slipped her clutch and after that we were beam on to hefty seas. Worst motion ever. Adjusted Nell at 0900.h and so far so good. Ocean festooned with crests shining like snow in sunlight. Barometer now at 1040.h still 1006MB wind gone slightly west to north-
Was only out twice today to adjust Nell this morning and to pump bilge. 130 pumps. Wind still very strong and big seas but constant sun is helping to relieve both. Wind still on our port ¼ which I believe is helping us to say on course. As so far we have rounded up, storm jib plenty in hear gale conditions, with a short deep swell now from north-
Jib gybed and had to disconnect emergency tiller to bring her around on to port tack, which gives some indication of seas. As we had the wind on our port ¼. Usual thing is for to round up and lie abeam. Frankly I am surprised that we held our course since morning, sky clear all day except for a shower at 1600.h and sunset at 1730.h showed grey cloud to the south-
Day 69. Friday 08-
Radio reception improved last night but not as normal. However that was the least of my worries. As were taking heavy seas and been laid over, as previous night only worse, bowls flew out of shelf which I had never seen before. A couple of times I thought we had hit something when a bank and shudder shook us. I went to bunk at 2100.h and slept until 0200h. Put my hand down to get my glasses and cabin floor wet with bilge water. Shifted my clothes to bunk. Luckily only sleeve of one pullover wet. Book I was reading sopping. Anyway into oilers and pumped bilge 230pumps, I had given it 30 pumps to empty at 1800h when jib gybed. Woke at 0630.h and again pulled bag over my head and got up at 0730.h. cabin in a shambles with floor covered with fruit carton I cut the top off and put on carpet. But wind down to 6-
Have decided to make for Perth. Sat nav is” bollocked” and haven’t been able to get noon sights and I would hate to depend on sighting ships. My transistor will bring me to Perth. Changes to w/jib at 1600.h as wind down to F6 and giving us 3.kn, barometer climbing 1015. Sea state is still mad with swell from north-
Day 70. Saturday 09.04
Wind down to F4-
Woke at 0130h and could see sunlight from port-
Never washed too busy airing and drying clothes and sleeping bags went through 4 bunk lockers and took out what I will need before landfall. Found a pack of rivita took out pants and shirts as I was low. Took or tried to take a noon sight but was late. Barometer now 1032.m.b. did it rise too fast? Sunset showed brassy glow through showers which we have for past hour. But of a north-
Day 71. Sunday. 10-
Woke at 0400.H to a starry sky and a heavy dew and jogging along at 2kn. I awoke again at 0600.h to an overcast sky and got up at 0730.h. slept well after “hitting the bunk” at 2100.h. big black showers around giving heavy rain and wind up since 0800.h so decided to have breakfast first before deciding to hoist main. Now 0900.h and wind has eased I now have the clothes I use in a plastic bag since the bilge water hit the cabin floor. I was lucky to wake when I did that night and was luckier still to have had my clothes on the forward side of floor. Now at night I put them into the plastic bag with others. Barometer steady at 1032MB and temperature up with north in the wind. 62’ at 0730.h. now 65’. Funny weather with barometer at 1032MB sky now at 0930h showing layered feathery type clouds. Had an odd skylight of blue earlier. But sky now grey. Funny sunset last night showed a darkish red glow in sky after brassy one and a winder between showers shoed and welding torch alive, colours all vivid, most unusual. I will be surprised if we escape wind today. Still no ships. No wonder that whaler was there. It is a lonely corner of the world, still I live in hope every day that I may sight one and get you the message of life. Now I am going to see if I will hoist main.
Still have overcast sky, would like to have got a noon sight. Main up since 100.h and temperature is 65’ which is great. Could not say when I had main up last. Must be a couple of weeks. Wind north-
Wind strength and had heading steady since and excellent progress. Sky overcast with layered clouds. Not even a glimmer of sunset. Had a great Sunday dinner. Went to town on it in spite of motion. Was fed up of pot food and jammed the pan at an angle and fried spuds, two eggs and sausages, with a mug of life long milk and other ½ of yesterday’s tinned pears. Barometer down by 1mb to 1032mb temperature 65’ Highest today 67’ still without socks. Waiting on first hot sunny day to give myself a good wash and change of underwear. Spent the afternoon between scanning, odd cabin maintenance and reading. Nothing else one can do. Good reception now on boat radio. So far transistor only receives at night when sun is gone. Waves have built up now with north-
Day 72. Monday 11.04
A peaceful night. Awakened at 0130.h and wind had eased slightly. Awakened again at 0600.h as main giving odd flap, so got up and close hauled rig. Wind north-
A busy morning checked fuel and greased engine electrics. Sun and blue skies since 1000.h. Took a noon sight and started early to be sure after last attempt started too early in fact. As after 25minutes was getting blinded by sun and was not able to see horizon. But will work it out late. As I wanted a wash badly and it was such a lovely day for it. I also washed underpants and they are nearly dry already. Just after my dinner of sardines and instant mash. Thought I smelled land at 1030.h. Will have an idea when I work out sight. Going since I got up at 0630h and feeling tired now but clean, washed my hair and the lot. Only fly in the ointment is barometer falling even with a clear blue sky. 1025mb down 6mb since 0630.h Wind swung east of north, so far it is the finest day I can remember since leaving. S.A. with temperature now 71’. A great chance to get clothes aired and sea state still as good as morning and wind steading strength since morning also at F4.
Sky still free of cloud. Barometer 1024MB, temperature 68’. Got my underpants dry and clothes aired. Not so successful with noon sight results. Long ok 113’ 45 east. Latitude pulling at 54’ 30s. Will try again tomorrow if I get a chance.
Sunset in a clear sky, large and yellow with rose coloured glow on eastern sky.
Had to get up after hitting bunk at 2100.h to drop mizzen and take in a reef in main as wind increased. Had been close reaching. Now sailing full and bye saw an unusual sight to south-
Day 73. Tuesday 12-
Slept until 0500.H. apprehensive approaching land. That is the dangerous part. Sunrise 0540.h and sparky in a clear sky, which we still have now at 100.h. Made a pot of tea and had a few cheeses. F5 wind held overnight but increased around 0900.h. and had to take in second reef just now as we were being thumped and heeled. Which we still are but not as bad. Sky showing a few wisps of clouds. Tuned in radio this morning and have been getting Albany since. They give the news and weather on the hour and we are getting their forecasted winds, as we were also from Perth yesterday. Must put my clock on to Australian time tonight. Can smell land since 0800.h even in cabin. According to Albany & Perth they have a dry spell and want rain. Kind of a snuff smell. No reception form transistor today so I estimate we could be 60 to 100miles from land. Nance’s atlas is great as Albany radio mentions Denmark and other neighbouring towns. A wild day with north-
Sky festooned now with thin mares tails and wisps. Barometer 1013.m.b. and creeping down. 20MB down since yesterday morning. Temperature high 70’ land breeze helping along with sun. The wind has been north now since last Tuesday.
Getting it tough now as sea has built up. Barometer still creeping down. Took a noon sight from hatch with great difficulty with spray and it tallied with yesterdays.
Put up storm jib and dowsed w/jib and we are taking the seas easier with less banging and spray. Some nice crests out there now. Barometer still creeping down by 1.m.b. an hour. Now 1010m.b. Would say we are in for strong winds F6 if not 7 now and we have the whine this good while. Albany forecast accurate. Wind now west of north and we are on a better heading or at least we will hold our own distance from land. They said it would go to the north-
Sky clouded up before sunset with high mottle clouds which looked ok to me. Nothing ominous, barometer still falling 1007m.b. Wind still strong and gusty and holding north by west. Seas really built up. I got Albany faint on transistor just now. I was able to match it to radio which hardly needs any volume. I got Perth also and entered angles on chart so I can sleep soundly tonight. Estimate 300 miles south of Albany. Thank God for the transistor. Don’t know how I slept last night. Don’t know how we got so far south. Even o dead reckoning but then it was a long time since Saturday fix -
Day 74. Wednesday 13-
Heading north for Albany with west-
Not so easy scanning with sea state, but big improvement since 0900.h. sky clear now since 1100.h and Thank God for sun as it is cooler today. Having a cup of hot coffee now with a few biscuits. Thank God I have plenty of food. I am looking forward to a rest in Aussie, which I hope won’t be too long. Very disappointed in noon sights which can hardly be wrong, but I still can’t believe we can be on latitude 54’ which is approximately 1100 miles south of Albany, especially as we are getting the weather they forecast. Faint reception on transistor last night I blame on weather, will see.
Wind down at 0200.h when I put up full main, but lumpy from strong winds still there and progress reduced. I still have clear skies, must have blown hard when wind swung to west last night still have a short high swell form it. Must have swung after I hit the bunk. Feeling tired today so made myself take it easy. Had a doss for ½ hour and having coffee and biscuits now after same dinner as yesterday to finish tin of gr/beans can’t complain today, which with the exception of sea state is ideal. Starting to use Complan in coffee which I never think of. I also had an orange after dinner in case I am low in vitamin C. I think excitement of land has me knackered, can’t wait to get in.
Extra hour of daylight great in afternoon. Sun held all day and set clear and good. Sea state now better with long swell from west. Read after dinner and studied charts of Albany and south-
Day 75. Thursday. 14-
Wind eased during the night and I close hauled her to keep sails full. Wind had swung more to north, same wind strength now at 0800h but swinging to west of north slowly. Went to bunk at 0800h and slept until 0200.h with light wind F.4 and sea state not helping, but that is the ocean. Patience my boy and count your blessings. I doubt if sail would fill on any other heading but close hauled.
Having coffee and biscuits now after first salad lunch for ages. A mild day with odd sun with soft large showers passing to north of us. Just got a few drops from one. Temperature 70’ left off shirt for the first time in ages this morning. Tee-
Showers cleared and sun since 1400.h. I love to see the sun now, big change from up north when I got too much of it. Must say it was a nice day. Wind barely there now but still jogging along. Still plenty of swells, biggest from west. Missed radio today as batteries not far off red on volt meter so another reason I like sun which will bring it up. I have to keep it up for V.H.B.. if all goes to all I will swap batteries. Extra hour in the evening is helping also, though I don’t think fluorescent light uses much juice. Barometer still steady at 1019.mb temperature reached 72’ today at 1500.h finish my tea of crackers & fish paste and peanut butter and crackers and jam. Good light now at
About 15m to sunset, looking very like wind will die.
Another good sunset, yes had to dowse sails at 1830.h. just back in now and transistor very clear with little volume. Sails drenched with dew.
Day 76. Friday 15-
Awakened at 0330.h after hitting bunk at 2100.h. to a fine misty rain. Dressed and ha a bowl of weetabix and slept again until 0700.h no wind and showers. Sky grey, to up at 0800h and had my second last egg for breakfast. Did some maintenance on deck between showers. Now at 0910h still raining. What wind we have is from west. I have an idea it will clear as we had a blue patch to west and hour ago. Barometer at 0330h 1017m.b. down by 2MB and now down by another 2.m.b. to 1015.m.b. will give it a while may be able to reach north under light genoa and mizzen st/sail. Had leeboard up last night as sea state still very lumpy.
Yes, light genoa, mizzen st/slf and mizzen are pulling to a light west by north breeze giving us 2.3kn at 15’. No sign of a clearance, still raining now and then like an Irish damp day, but warm at 67’. I must check fruit two weeks tomorrow since last check.
When wind got stronger and I put up main and dowsed mizzen st/sle, still overcast and raining on and off. Sky showing a blue streak on west horizon for past half hour but not spreading. A damp dull day, but good headway with no hassle. Check fruit before dinner and had an apple, have 3 more for salvaging, also a grapefruit, funny how I don’t go for fruit, haven’t touched a grapefruit. Had other half of yesterday’s lemon with blackcurrant drink with dinner and took my spoon of honey, steeped some lentils and pearl-
Wind died at 1630H and raining all afternoon and now still streak of blue to west horizon. Swells not too bad now but in light wind through sails around. Transistor giving good reception now from Albany. I spent afternoon scanning and reading.
Day 77. Saturday.16-
Sailing since 0500.h when I woke to a w.s.w. breeze and hoisted light genoa. Back to bunk until 0745.h. sun all morning with cumulous wind increased and pole w/jib after porridge at 0900.h got Albany on transistor this morning at 0800.h very clear. They had rain last night and yesterday also. Met man gave south-
Good progress north now with wind on our ¼. Great to be receiving Albany clearly on transistor during the day. Met man also said they had a high moving across so I presume that is helping reception. Just finish my breakfast of last egg. Getting excited again as we approach land. Thank god.
Breeze freshened and carried genoa and loose to starboard and poled jib until 1400h. When I doused genoa for other w/jib poled as wind swung more to south also I saw bow bitting holding fore stays lifted on port side and as I had genoa on main fore stay which is behind other two fore stays. It was lifting it having more leverage so I now have twins on fore stays. Don’t know how long it has been like that but was lucky I spotted it. What harm I lifted anchor chain from fore peak and shackled it to anchor today and never noticed it. Will have a good look at it tomorrow. Welded joint opened where it wraps around deck and topside. Sun and cumulous all day and good headway since morning seas today out of all proportion to wind we had. Big swell came up from west with others giving lumps.
Wind easing now. If it dies we will be tossed around good. Have never seen lumps like today except after a gale. Perhaps we are over continental shelf or getting land toggle we shall see. Barometer up from 1019.m.b. this morning to 1027MB now. Today was like a day in the Trades except for sea state. Sunset obscured by clouds but rosy glow.
Day 78. Sunday. 17-
Becalmed again last night for third night running must be the high pressure. Met man said this morning it was off Albany. Yesterday he said there was little shipping off coast so I presume he calls up ships re conditions. Now 11.30.h and we are sailing to an east light wind. Under light genoa, mizzen st/sle and mizzen since 0900h. Up since 0745.h when I had porridge. Just finished my breakfast now – tea, rye vita, fish paste and jam. Took fore stay off bow plate and fixed it to Samson post. Very lucky to have fine morning to get it done. No sign of a lift in plate where joint opened now, could have main up now I think as wind up slightly but I am knackered after deck work. Sleep interrupted last night. Twin jibs had to come down last evening at 200.h due more to sea state than no wind an then I dropped them and went to bunk had to get up and hoist loose footed jib as we when we lay beam on it was too noisy with waves from what wind was there. Woke again at 0330h with jib flapping as wind zilch.
Looked out and saw ship going east ¼ mile off our port bow. Replied immediately and gave me my position. Then Captain came on and said he would fax message, extremely nice man, Indian. Bound Melbourne M.V. “Seamaster”. I think it was a tanker, when I saw it I went on V.H.F. and when I finished speaking it was nearly over horizon. He also said he would advise Albany coast guards of my position. I am excited and happy as hell. Yippee. Hope Christy goes to office today. If I didn’t see a ship en route I saw it when I needed to Thank God. Only 34miles to Albany, but nearest I could get to it was 010’m. I saw land at 1600.h. wind freshened and dropped mizzen. Held on to main and genoa as I though wind would die with sunset as it did for last three evenings but if anything it got stronger. Anway, after sunset I took down genoa and hoisted w/jib and reefed main. By that time it was dark and could see loom of light on headland west of Albany and island light off it, off my starboard bow, so rather than be west of Island and to leeward off Albany came about and dropped jib and we are jogging along under reefed main with lights off port bow. Hit the bunk at 0830.h feeling tired but got up at 1000.h as I couldn’t sleep. Blowing F6 since I reefed with a healthy whine in rigging. But we are snug enough in spite on motion. Was going to enter Albany Harbour at night if wind favourable, as we are only 20 miles from Harbour Headland. Spent time also today checking lights and they are all where they should be Thank God. I can also see glow of Albany even though it is a clear night. Will only have to see what dawn brings.so far we have a north-
Day 79. Monday 18-
Have engine on since 0830.H now 0900.h on a day of blue skies and fresh north-
Land sighted. Took a doss at 1215h and woke at 1300.h to see a ship going east on my stern horizon. Wind down when I woke to f4/5 Thank god so we are making better speed and taking less spray. Had tea and salami and crackers and jam at 1100.h and just finished more tea with crackers and fish-
Another ship going west between me and land. Not a cloud in sky, eyes I think we are ok with land. In pyjamas since we tacked at 1130.h after going east for 3hours. Took off cords and pullover before going on deck in oilers, as I was bathed in sweat last evening after heaving to. Temperature now 75’ with wind off Aussie desert. Wind holding north-
Gave myself a good wash and changed into clean clothes. Didn’t hoist full main. Doing ok and still taking spray. It is always an anxious time. Slightly better heading since 1500.h by 15’. Oh Jesus it is a trying time I am trying to keep calm as it is a big milestone in my life heading towards Australia. If Christy didn’t go to office yesterday you should have word by now. 0930.H Irish time and for that I am happy that you have the message of life to cheer you all up. Thanks to that nice Indian skipper.
Yes glad I didn’t put up full main as wind up again. I can see faint colours on land now or shadows with sun only an hour from setting. I can see the shape of lighthouse on cause position dead ahead will have to make a tack to east for 6miles to clear bald head and enter Harbour mouth, but will close land more first as we may get flatter water. Once we round bald head 10miles to Albany, having cheese and crackers now with cold cocoa mixed with life long milk.