Monday, 30 April 2018 – day 37

“Just when this world seems mean and cold,
Our love comes shining red and gold,
And all the rest is gone away.

Why worry?

There should be laughter after pain,
There should be sunshine after rain,
These things have always been the same,

So why worry now?”

I’ve been listening to Dire Straits album “Brothers in Arms” a fair bit over last few days. There is much symmetry to be found with it and ocean voyaging.

The soft vocal entry of “Money for nothing” transforms into an elated guitar riff that cries out with freedom. When Perpetual Succour has been becalmed all day and the wind hits, she sings her own version that melts the heart with joy.

The titular song “Brothers in arms” tells a story of filial love and one’s memory and love of homeland while in another place.

The winds came up with a vengeance not long after my last post. A single reef quickly turned into a second reef as the night commenced. I made the lazy mistake of not getting into my wet weather gear to put in the second reef, and returned to my cabin soaking as the waves started washing over.

The new reefing system works beautifully and I can put a reef in less than 30 seconds – A far cry from the 10 minute adventure out to the deck of previous times.

It was a bumpy night!

Ironically, if the weather had gotten worse, the experience might have been gentler. I would have a hove-to and ridden it out in relative comfort. With the sails set against each other, the boat drifts slowly leeward (away from the wind), creating a slick that helps to nullify the incoming waves. But good progress is good progress, and a bit of discomfort has its own joy. The weather comes and goes. “Why worry?”

As it was, we fought a headwind and rising sea for every degree, minute, and second of longitude all night. “We” mainly being Perpetual Succour and Bruce. I was a just a lazy passenger, giving over-arching directions every now and then. They handled the nitty gritty details. Even with the sea state they managed a course of 40 degrees to the wind!!!

My bunk has a board at right angles to stop me falling out, and I spent much of the night with centre of gravity somewhere in a v-shaped world formed by the right angle.

There was a constant water coming over the top of the deck and every now and then the starboard windows seemed to dip into the sea. A submarine with sails would be an apt description!

I didn’t get an excessive amount of sleep, but I’ve had a week of comfortable sailing, and I feel energised!

The morning brought larger swell and consistent winds. The interesting part of this is that in a smaller boat, it’s a nicer ride.

A big ship would be fighting to crash through the four metre rollers with the occasional set of six metre breakers that comes through.

To Perpetual Succour it is a different world!

The larger swell, formed over some time by constant wind, limits to some degree the direct creation of the choppy sea that she finds irksome.

Instead she climbs each gentle house-sized hill and gracefully slides down the other side.

The wind abates as she dips into the trough, and then returns to give a helping hand up the other side!

Every now and then she falls away, but you can feel it coming and grabbing on is now unconscious second nature.

I was covered in bruises coming out of Sydney from a similar sea state, now it’s just a part of life and I’ve avoided flying across the cabin so far.

The funny thing about a rapid lateral cabin traversal is, like a pendulum on a Grandfather Clock, that which swings left, also swings right. Invariably you end up back where you started unless you landed on a convenient grasping point. At least the bruises were symmetrical!

Having made it seem all dramatic, the current state is just life in the Southern Ocean. I think the wind was about 25 knots (just under 50km/hr) overnight, but my two wind gauges have failed so I can’t be sure. Not even officially a gale!

The overnight combat also paid off with a run of 65 miles overnight. I passed the international dateline at around midnight, and I got to re-live Sunday!

Latitude: -44.54, Longitude: -170.05, Time: 06:08:22 30-04-2018 UTC