We’re in deep fog, visibility is down to a few yards. The wind has dropped back to 15 knots. It’s wet with a constant drizzle – yet I spent several very happy hours on deck.
It was the first time the wind was less than 20 knots in almost three weeks and back to a sort of normality as we power along some 400 miles south west of Tasmania.
I am fighting a psychological mid voyage crisis, the sheer isolation, and not knowing what will happen next keeps my humble brain in orbit. It is not helped by being on the backup autopilot, no computer and comms, without proper information it’s hard to compete but I’m lucky to be close to the other boats. On the positives at least the sat phone works.
The entire engineering department of the Southern Ocean Residents Association are working to solve all the various problems on board. Also with what seemed like supplies on board being in abundance now everything from paper towels to gas for the stove have to be measured to last so that we can complete the voyage. Also having enough diesel to be able to keep the battery charging is a concern complementing the hydro generators one of which is not working. On deck the big issue is not being able to reef the mainsail in heavy air.
And to think we’re not even half way. At times I despair, other times just exist. And now after many hours of hard physical work we’ve actually had a good day.
Setting the A3 spinnaker up alone is a major task. It starts with lifting the massive sail out of the forepeak, all 280 square metres out through the small fore hatch. Setting up the sheets and eventually the hoist. Normally a task for 5 or 6 on a boat this size.
It’s surreal here as we move along in the fog, totally alone, deep in the southern ocean. The fact that we are sailing along as a group is a strong comfort should something go wrong in this remote location.
A final thought - wouldn't it be fun if all of us in the group downed sails and got together on Christmas Day? A bit like the battle front in the First World War.
Happy Christmas to all.