Thursday, 3 May 2018 – day 40

The winds started to shift at around 11pm local time to a true northerly at 20 knots.

For comparison, I think my noon is around three hours ahead of Sydney. (45 degrees of longitude, 15 degrees per hour).

Usually I try and get a “noon sight” with the sextant. By taking a sight every few minutes and you can find when the sun is at it’s highest. However, it’s been a few days since I’ve seen the sun.

Anyway, I climbed out of bunk, got dressed and went to sort it out.

The trouble with breaking seas is that you can’t predict when it’s going to baptise you. Nothing really dries in these conditions, so you can’t afford to risk it, which means I’ve been getting into full wet weather gear each time I leave the cabin.

I adjusted the course knob on the steering gear and loosened off the mainsheet, still double reefed, and the jibsheet leading to my orange storm jib.

Job well done! The course adjustement relative to the wind meant that I was no longer trying to punch through waves anymore, but it did mean getting side on which increases risk of a broach where a breaking wave picks up my little boat and flings her on her side.

I sat there for a good 15 minutes watching the sea. No worries, she was handling it well.

Back to the cabin, off with the gear, into the bunk, swig of rum. Sadly sleep wasn’t quite yet forthcoming with the rolling, so I contented myself with reading Chichester’s account of going through these same seas. Not to get delusions of grandour of course, Chichester spent many months in the roaring forties and rounded the Horn!

Anyway, it was interesting to note that his vacuum flask mysteriously disappeared not far into the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps there is a professional hot beverage container thief operating in this area – Nothing marked on the charts.

Chichester eventually found it hiding under his mattress. I checked under mine, but no such luck here.

90 minutes of sleep and the wind had swung around to come from the West. There was still a northerly swell, and the boat had swung around to stay 90 degrees off the wind with the bow directly facing the swell. I think it was this change of movement that woke me.

Hmmm, unlike the great names who sailed these waters before me, I have quite good weather predictions. They relied on pilot charts which showed probabilities of wind for that time of year. Mostly complied off observations from years of clipper ships sailing through these waters.

The northerly had been predicted to swing around to south. I wasn’t expecting it for another 6 hours, but I figured the current westerly was just a stage in the migration.

I was headed north rather than west, and to set the boat up for a dead downwind run would have meant going forward to set a preventer on the boom to guard against a unplanned gybe. (The preventer runs from the end of the boom to the front of the boat and then back to a winch on the other side to tension it up.)

I made a bet with myself and tolerated heading north for now on the basis that once I’d set up the preventer, the wind would have swung around to the south.

The weather man was right once again, and half an hour later the wind was from the south and my boat was headed west and back home! First sensible course I’ve been on all trip!

I got dressed again and gybed the boat back onto a lovely eastward course.

For the first time in 4 days, my world was no longer tilted 25 degrees to starboard. A change is as good as a holiday and now it was 25 degrees to port.

The southerly was blowing up a lovely breeze straight up from Antarctica.

A nice slow cup of tea would be just the thing!

I redoubled my efforts to find this elusive mug. Ahah, somehow it had migrated into the storm drogue bag which sits ever ready under my cabin table.

They say a watched pot never boils, but I watched that kettle like a hawk!

A little more rum to appease the gods of sleep, and I was out like a light.

Today, the wind has been a steady southerly at 15 knots. The cross sea from the wind change gradually became a south westerly swell. This means I’m not longer fighting against weather systems and a much gentler and faster ride. I had been pushed a little further south than I had intended, so I’m running a bit more northerly which also fits in nicely with the waves.

It seemed a Leonard Cohan type of day, so I played him all day. Very cheery!

I was trying to take pictures of the sea state, it’s quite tricky to get a good perspective to show the wave height, and my phone got doused by a wave. I have a water proof case, but I found I had been rather silly and forgot to close the charger port opening.

The phone is waterproof itself, but once it detects moisture in the charging port, it has a hissy fit and refuses to allow itself to be charged.

“Waiting for charger port to dry. This make take some time”

Lol, nothing dries here.

I washed it with fresh water, lit the stove, and played a game of hover a phone over the flame which worked very well!

It’s quite chilly now and a bit of hand warming didn’t go amiss either!

Latitude: -44.087, Longitude: -162.028, Time: 06:16:27 03-05-2018 UTC