THIS is hard. So that I can never, ever do something like this again, I will sign a legal binding document and give it to somebody in trust so that they can stop me from ever, ever, ever again doing something like this. It is tough, it is cold, it is wet and to think I did it with my own 'free-will' to live on the edge with constant challenges. The mind boggles, 'tis bonkers.
That said, I am thrilled to have survived this far. It has been an extraordinary adventure and personal journey, psychologically and physically. To boot, a good way to get fit! I am lucky and honoured to fly the flag and be in a position to have a go. The race organizers do a brilliant job. Thanks Laura Jacques and team. It is just wonderful to be part of and feel the emotional support, passion, celebrating the environment, the ocean, man against the elements and all that.
From reports some other skippers seem to have it tougher. I feel for them and note Conrad Coleman - on 100% Naturally, who has been performing extraordinary feats. And taking a line Mich Desj', two-time winner of the Vendee Globe, who says that you need to be mentally prepared for one major problem per day.
In one such problem on board Kilcullen, a mirror would have been useful, one which is on the "we forgot list." A sheet was jammed around the rudder and I could not see how or why. It was dangerous on the rudder and would not come clear. It would have been handy to look around the edge to see the problem.
In the end, we did an Alex Thomson. Namely canted the keel the wrong way and hardened the sails for the boat to heel and go more upwind. This worked. She was remarkably steady going along at an angle of about 60 degrees.
Then I climbed out over the stern and stood on the aft ledge and the port rudder was clear out of the water which I was able to stand on. Later that day a starboard sheet caught itself around the hydrogenator. Not as extreme, but another problem to be solved.
And having set out just of get around, it's not in my nature not to race or compete and to be 15th is just grand. Mr Motivator. And its been brilliant racing working to stay ahead of the American Rich Wilson, Alan Roura from Switzerland and Eric Bellion of France.
When the wind goes lighter we close up - and I suffer not being able to fly my asymmetrical sails. At some stages, we have been extremely close - we chat by email. At one time, I had warm VHF conversations with Alan and the mutual respect and support for what each is going through is powerful.
Our next landmark are the Kerguelen Islands, about 600 miles East. I am contemplating whether to pull in there to sort out my halyard problems and climb the mast.
After that its Cape Leeuwin off Australia the 2nd of the big 3 and after that its Cape Horn. Like eating the proverbial elephant, each day a little bit at a time.
Lat 44 54 South
Long 55 40 West