Day 6 at sea

Just a quick update – longer update tomorrow.

Headed on around same bearing for last 48 hours at around 5 knots, winds should change in next six hours and I will head less south.

The entirety of my shampoo bottle ended up in my bilge lol, I wondered why the boat smelt funny.

Idyllic blue skies and little cloud

The sea has looked like this for the last few days, very blissful sailing.

Latitude: -37.9797, Longitude: 158.7627, Time: 10:27:48 29-03-2018 UTC

Day 5 at sea

“And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariners’ hollo!”
– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

There comes a time in an intern’s life when your registrar is called away during a ward round. The registrar, figuring you are not a complete imbecile, hands over the reins and dashes off.

One steps forward quickly, to show fear is to lose before even starting – handing the scribing tools to the deer-in-headlights med student cowering behind the curtain.

Not daring to fumble in one’s pocket for the most sacred text of all, the list of patients, you quickly realise you don’t know her from Adam.

“How’s it going today Beryl? (she has white hair, so it’ll be either Ethel, Beryl or Doris).

She replies with the rather non-committal “Not too bad dearie”.

This is a woman that grew up through World War II. Everything in comparison is pretty decent, so the reply only rules out cardiac arrest on the basis that she is speaking.

Stumped for anything else to say, you pull out the big guns.

“Eating and drinking well”?

“When did you last open your bowels”? “Passing urine in good quantities”?

The minimum allotted time to speaking completed, you gratefully proceed to the patient examination, a bizarre ritual, which in the hands of a master physician is beauty to behold and far more powerful than any CT scanner.

In your clumsy hands, the fact that the patient is speaking and has unremarkable observation readings, means you probably won’t find a single thing. However it makes the patient feel like she is getting her money’s worth, and provides that most important aspect of all, the doctor-patient touch.

The knowledgeable resident, can look back upon this encounter with the knowledge that the poor stumped intern was accidently much wiser than he gave himself credit for.

One of the best indicators of health is that the waste disposing systems are running and that the patient has an appetite. For all the whiz bang machines in intensive care, one of the best indicators of a patient’s hermodynamics (outside of renal failure) is how much urine is coming out.

Anyway, that was a rather long winded way of saying that everything is working well after a slow start to the first few days with rough weather and sea sickness.

Perpetual Succour has completely sailed herself for the last 18 hours without need for adjusting sails or tiller. She danced all night at six knots on a bearing of about 130 degrees relative to true north. Now she lazily ambles at four and a half knots in a gentle 5 knot nor’easterly. I could try and get her closer to the wind, but she is happy and that is enough for me.

The night time revelry did not lead itself to the deepest sleep. But that intern knew that you don’t have nursing staff wake a patient up every four hours to do obs, and then mock them with the question “how did you sleep”

It remains idyllic with blue skies and little cloud. I’m considering trying my hand at baking some damper in my thermal cooker. I brought along 7 kilos of flour, so hopefully it works!

I have The Eagles album “Long Road out of Eden” softly playing, and there is an albatross circling me with very little effort.

Latitude: -36.39062, Longitude: 156.28444, Time: 01:47:28 28-03-2018 UTC

Day 4 at sea

A slow day today. I’m currently about 400km south east of Sydney.
Completely becalmed overnight, I dropped sail to stop the slap in the gentle rolling 3m swell.
Slept well and awoke to find myself surrounded by dolphins just before sunrise – a much more welcome sight than yesterday!
I spent most of the morning hand steering as there wasn’t enough wind to drive the self steering. Eventually the wind settled into a 5 knot east sou’easterly which I spent most of on a starboard tack driven by the wind vane.
I spent the rest of the day fine tuning various things on the boat and even washed my clothes.
I regularly sighted the dolphins throughout the day and there was a bird that circled me for hours.

Day 4 location

I’ve just turned the boat south to try and catch some westerlies promised tomorrow by the weatherman.
I listened to music most of the day – started off on Credence Revival and ended with John Williams!
Now settling down to tasty canned Mexican chilli!

Latitude: -35.16858, Longitude: 155.17195, Time: 07:00:00 27-03-2018 UTC

Day 3 at sea

What a start!

A dream run out of the heads escorted by a flotilla of racing boats. A tad stresfull trying not to be hit, but I did better than Wild Oats XI! Waving at family on the heads was quite hazadous!

A lovely 10 knots soon turned into 15 notes, and I put in an early reef.

By the evening, it was blowing a stiff 20-25 knots and a second reef went in. With the waves getting higher and suffering a little in the way of sea sickness, I decided to hove-to overnight which was a wise decision.

Sunday is a bit of a blur, sick all day and fighting nasty headwinds, – The best part of seas breaking over your boat is you can vomit wherever you want and it dissapears in seconds. 🙂

I awoke early Monday to disaster!

My timber tiller arm had completely snapped through very close to where it inserts into the rudder stock. I had a good look at it before I left, and it seemed quite sound – There was hidden rot running through the bolt points.

The weather was still horrendous and getting worse, I managed to lash the rudder stock to lee to keep the boat hove-to and give me some relief from the 40 knot gusts and 4 metre seas.

I got out my trusty spare marine ply and sawed out three 1m by 60mm sections. I then had to shape it to go into the rudder stock and drill three bolt holes quite accurately. I’m not sure quite how I managed it in those conditions, but the waves may have been aggressively sworn at every time they broke over the cockpit.

My new tiller, fashioned out of three cuts of marine ply!

After a four hour struggle, I had the tiller working well and the self steering reconnected. I remained hove-to until the conditions abated somewhat. The winds changed to a gentle 10 knot tail wind and the seas abated.

Latitude: -35.08006, Longitude: 153.75099, Time: 02:53:08 26-03-2018 UTC

Day 2 at sea

Cruising along at 8 knots on a beam reach in 25 knot winds and 3 metre seas. Too rough for long update, but having a ball – thank you all for the farewell messages

Latitude: -34.06503, Longitude: 152.96574, Time: 05:06:54 25-03-2018 UTC

New departure date!

Sometimes the right decision can be the hardest decision.

In lieu of the low pressure system heading towards the Tasman, my departure will be postponed until next Saturday.

A wise man once told me, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Departure Date!

I’m happy to announce that after much preparation I’m in the position to officially announce an departure date.

On Sunday, 18th of March, barring a nasty low pressure system over the Tasman Sea, I’ll be departing from Sydney Heads and heading for Los Angeles. A gathering of well wishes will be gathering at South head in the vicinity of the Hornby Light house keepers cottage to see me go past at around Midday. https://goo.gl/maps/xw48QQRCGJo

I also have the rather fantastic news that I’ve just surpassed $10,000 in total donations for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. If you haven’t donated yet, please consider donating now at: https://give.everydayhero.com/au/solo-pacific-crossing

Don’t forget to like this page for regular trip updates. A tracker is also set up at http://www.aloneinthepacific.com/tracker

The last month has been an absolute whirlwind, I thought I’d put up a list of some of the things I’ve been up to.

– Designing and fitting an inner forestay so I can hoist a storm jib independent of the furling genoa including chain-plate reinforced deck fitting and masthead tang with tensioner back to cockpit.

– Extra mast track for an independent trysail, The advantage of this is that my dedicated storm trysail can stay loaded at all times and can be hoisted without removing the mainsail from it’s tracks (Quite a cumbersome job in high winds).

– Measuring and having made up dedicated orange coloured storm sails, very durable and easy to spot.

– Designing, fabricating and fitting a stainless steel frame to place solar panels and wind turbines to generate electricity. Quite a tricky task as it rests on non-flat surfaces and fits around backstays and stanchions – Also houses various antennas and flag pole for the red ensign

– New MF/HF radio with DSC capability and 12m antenna from masthead to stern

– AIS with antenna splitter for detecting ships nearby

– Sat and passed my long range radio communications exam

– Setting up a laptop with navigation software and charts for the entirity of the Pacific.

– Fitted new power bank including 2x100a/h deep cycle batteries and dual purpose 100a/h cranking battery – also includes 1000W pure sine wave inverter

– 160W wind turbine along with 80W solar panel and regulator

– Refitting and sealing glass on hatches.

– Fitted windvane self-steering system

– Register with the Australian shipping registry, any ship headed more than 200nm offshore most do this.

– Haul out and inspection of rudder/hull/keel + complete antifoul of the bottom

– Fitted chainplates at the stern for attaching the Jordan Series drogue – must be able to take over 5000kg of breaking strain in storm conditions

Misc list of other equipment (Not exhaustive)
– Jordan series drogue
– Tiller pilot – Fitted to the windvane steering system for light winds
– Liferaft – Four man with a survival kit designed for >24 hours before rescue including extra GPS
– Extra EPIRB with GPS capability
– Offshore wet weather gear and boots
– Satellite communication device
– Paper charts for entirety of pacific
– Cordless dremel and drill
– Extensive tool kit including sockes, spanners, shifters, bolt cutters, etc
– Various engine spare parts including water pump refurbish kit, oil filters, and fuel filters.
– Bosun’s chair and block and tackle for solo mast climbing
– Misc sealant and fibreglass repair kit
– Sail repair tape and tools
– Sextant – (still in the market for a good one)
– 100m spare 14mm braided nylon rope
– 100m spare 8mm superspeed spectra rope
– Extensive medical kit including intravenous fluids, antibiotics, surgical instruments, and bandages.

Thank you to those kinds souls that have supported with an extra hand here and there, and a big thank you to everyone that has donated so far to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation!