IT WAS like a sudden 'wake-up' call when the anticipated wind shift came in. From 9 knots of warm north westerly to a chilling south easterly at 20 knots. The sea was angry - and thus - Day 21 started.
No more South Atlantic Residents Association 'gentle' debates. Now was a call to 'Arms' the banging and rattling of the carbon boat was once again like being tumbled around in a washing machine. While capable, these IMOCA 60s are not designed to go upwind.
This part 48 hours we on a deep dive straight south. Having negotiated through the permanent cold front coming across from Brazil or the SAZC, we have now headed west of the bunch and the hope is to get down the ice zone and Roaring Forties pronto, a calculated risk.
Another 'wake up' was an unexpected landfall in the middle of the ocean. We almost ran into the Brazilian Atlantic Islands, "Ilas Martin Vaz" 600 miles off the coast. I passed within 2 miles of Ilas da Trinade, the largest at 620 meters high and 10 sq. km - majestic rising out of the skyline.
I never knew they existed - and a surprise, only visible when you enlarge the electronic charts. Regardless they look spectacular, little known and another destination to put on the 'bucket list' when I have more time. That's the bizarre thing about a race like this around the Planet - so many wonderful places to stop for 'lunch' and there is no time!
The boat is working 24/7, or 24/8. You must be constantly have to be on the alert for wear and tear. When it all works its brilliant, however when it goes wrong its usually big because of the scale and the loads involved.
This morning on a routine "residence association 'stroll' around the foredeck I saw the Blast Reacher roller furling line as if it was almost about to break from chafe. If so, the entire sail could unfurl in a blow, damage the sail and be a 'nightmare to get down. 20 minutes on the foredeck sorted that out.
During the afternoon, I opened the engine cover to discover the base of the engine almost flooded. The engine and electric pump did not work so it took me 40 minutes to get all the water out manually. Left unchecked within a few days we could have lost the engine and a valuable source to charge our batteries, complimenting the two hydro generators. I think the water is draining in from the waterballast tanks - another project to solve tomorrow.
Moving South each day you can feel the temperature drop, you can see the crisp sharp cold almost on the ocean rolling over the swell that is building. Often the forerunner of heavy weather, it is also a forerunner of the Roaring Forties where the sea literally rolls around the bottom of the world without interruption and icebergs.