Rather than stop in the lee of the Kerguelen Islands, in order to sort out our mast halyard problem, the South Atlantic Residents Association elected to do it on the green open ocean. It was completed at personal cost; a mast climb in some 20 knots of wind and a big rolling sea.
Without solving the problem, it was like driving a car with one gear - and in particular with a big storm ahead, we needed to be able to set our smallest J4 sail and the J3. This was the lesser evil, based on advice from Commander Marcus.
To say it was a nightmare would be an understatement - it was exhausting physically and a massive psychological effort to pull one's self up a mast rolling around in the ocean. And while I did a short practice climb before the start, this was totally different and I was terrified - but it had to be done. As they say, "nothing like a hanging" to focus the mind.
It took several hours to recover from the slow cautious climb, using special mountaineering equipment. I had though I knew how it worked but could not, however a guidance illustration from Commander Marcus at base solved this.
What had been a simple problem, the breaking of the Lazy Jacks holding up the boom, became a complex matter. It was the use of the J4 Halyard to hold the boom up and when this line broke, the halyard went out of control wrapping itself around all the other halyards and the broken Lazy Jacks and even around the head of the furled J3 making it unusable to boot..
Again, properly underway, we got back on track and passed the Kerguelen Islands in the black of night. They named after the French explorer of the same name in 1772. Even to go there then was an incredible achievement - given the ships they had and types of underwear to keep them warm.
2,570 square meters - or about 60 X 70 miles, they are regarded as one of the most isolated places on earth.
They have no residents as such, like Tristan da Cunha in the Atlantic - just some, perhaps mad, scientists undertaking research. By all accounts a horrible climate, they are within a district of France. Historically it was a base for whaling and sealing but no more.
Meanwhile our weather forecast is not good. There is a massive low coming through - some boats have opted to go North to go over the top - we are now committed to going along the bottom close to the ice exclusion zone - it will be a rough ride but we're up for it.
It is with the prospect of reaching Cape Leeuwin and South Australia within a week, in time for Christmas - mind you the closest to Australia we are likely to get is 400 miles - headed for New Zealand and Cape Horn.
President Elect (Self)
Southern Ocean Residents Association
Lat 47 51 South
Long 71 09 East