Welcome to the INDIAN OCEAN. Wow!
The first to greet us was Rich Wilson on Great American IV. We trailed him by over 300 miles and finally caught him on the transition. The Kilcullen has been going faster that she should be, not helped by our difficulty with Reef 2 and that we could not furl the Blast Reacher. Mind you I was feeling lucky that I was not having problems that other boats seemed to be having.
The day started normal. The wind was increasing so I thought I would furl the Blast Reacher and sail with the main alone with one reef and perhaps try the second (the reef line broke back up around the Canaries, however we have found improvised way that works).
Then all hell broke loose. In preparing, the furl line for the J3 became undone and the sail opened out of control. Then the furling line on the blast reacher broke leaving me stuck with two headsails out of control in the now gale force winds. Sheets and sails flogged, all wrapped around each other in a mess, as the wind howled.
Then there was an involuntary gibe. As the boom crossed it caught in the runner and the boat, with the keel the wrong way, went on its side. Eventually I got to the keel hydraulics and pulled it up the other way and released the runner in the chaos while bringing the new one on. Rather than crash gybe back and risk serious damage, I continued the wrong gybe and set out to sort out the mess below and on deck.
Fortunately, after a few hours the wrong gybe, the wind moved around and it became the right gibe.
The plan was to sail through the night with it up in the gale and, mind matters carefully and - as the system moved through - and the wind softened to sort the problem the following morning.
And to complicate matters the radar dome, one third the way up the mast - for no apparent reason - came loose and crashed down pulling the wires out of the mast. Fortunately, we saved the unit, but I am not sure it will work again on this voyage and minus an important safety tool.
It was a cold, wet and miserable night. Not helped by my two sleeping bags being wet. There is a small leak in the fairlead and, while not significant on its own, it let in a massive amount of water for the sheer weight and pressure of the waves rolling over the deck constantly.
And that's how we arrived in the Indian Ocean, now 0400 hrs BST time, the storm has abated, the sunrise has been spectacular, the skies have cleared - we are down to only 15 knots of wind and ready to solve.
Reflecting back on this moment, before setting out we had some wonderful greetings, good wishes and support. It came from close friends, acquaintances' and people whom I have never met. In time, I will hope to get around to responding to them all.
I take the liberty of copying one email from a man who describes himself as "Masochistic10" - word for word. Of course, for administration purposes, I have filed it with the relevant Ministry within the South Atlantic Residents Association - which is now merging with the Indian Ocean Development Agency (more about that later).
On review by the "Committee", they were not sure whether to class it as an insult or as a compliment. However now since arriving in the Indian Ocean, and having completed the First Leg "Without being rescued" we will take it as a compliment
"Good on yer Endof, ! You can do it, if anyone can from little old Eire ! You have the balls, and the brass neck to do it, and Boy ! do you need the balls ?! Having shown how hard your neck is throughout your checkered career, of attempts, surface-scrapings, launches, rescues, returns to challenges, and recoveries, and stuck that neck out so many times it's a wonder it is still attached, you are really putting it "on the line" this time. If you complete the first leg without being rescued I, and a lot of others, will applaud you, but if you finish intact you will deserve all the praise and admiration you will deserve. Go to it, and the best of luck! This is the real thing, and no pretence. You proved something when you did that Transatlantic race, let's see what it really is, and if you have what it takes ! Keep that neck clean, and shiny. You'll need it ! From your worst, and least likely, begrudging, admirer."
Wow, is that me? Thanks, Mr Masochistic10.
In response Michael Joseph Sir, I have no logical explanation. We are all individuals and this is simply what I do, who I am - and I am lucky to be able to have a go and to have qualified for the Vendee - and lucky to be able to put something back into the pot and contribute to the greater good while living life on whatever course is set.
And, to conclude today's log as the rising sun, in all its glory, now matures in the morning sky, I must set to work to fix the boat.
And I take this line from Louis MacNeice, kindly texted to me by another Enda (card carrying member of the "Union of Endas,"
"By a High Star our Course is set."
For me, the secret to good navigation is to "Steer Around the Rocks."