Day 11 1/2, NZ to Australia
07 June 2008 | 27 44 S, 157 15 E
Sunday morning, June 8
Rough night. We dropped the jib before dinner around six. We had the main double reefed and the staysail set. That went ok for awhile. Winds were 15-20 WSW and slowly turning counter-clockwise. Very slowly. Steen had the first watch, but it became impossible for me to sleep as we started getting knocked around by the increasing swell. Winds picked up and we were going pretty fast, 6 to 7 knots. We traded watches for the night and I took over, since Steen was tired and I was wide awake. The rigging was vibrating and the impact of the waves were making a muffled boom sound as we either hit one or fell off one. I sent off for the latest weather on the SSB and typed up a couple notes. For every other word I typed I had to stop and grab on to the side of the nav. desk to keep from falling over. (as I'm doing now.)
By early morning the GPS said we were going 7.5 to 8 knots, which must have been while sliding down a wave. At four am we dropped the main and sailed under staysail only and Steen put on the running back-stay to support the mast. That felt better. We still made 5 knots with SW winds 20 to 25 on the beam. We still got beaten up every 20 seconds by a big bully wave, and the boat still had a lot of athwartships motion, but I slept well for a couple of hours after that sail change.
It's eight a.m. now and we all had to find a spot to wedge ourselves into to eat our cereal. We're staying down below except to pop up and check for ships. During his watch last night Steen saw a freighter about five miles away.
It looks pretty ugly when you open the hatch to look out. You have to time it so you don't end up with a face full of sea spray. The cockpit is pretty thoroughly soaked and salty. It's partly cloudy but clearing, winds are still about 20 knots and the swell looks about 10 ft at 5 to 7 seconds maybe. The wind isn't blowing the white caps off - not that strong. Just uncomfortable down below because we're not running, but straight on the beam. But we're making progress in mileage at least. Now Steen and I have different ways of counting miles as well as number of days. We each have our own waypoints loaded into the GPS. 205 miles to mine; 222 to Steen's. 205 sounds a lot better.
In response to your comments; I do know what I'm made of... but it wouldn't be polite to use that phrase in a public forum. George, I certainly hope we can take you up on that offer and we'll say a toast to you and Dan and the others, for your commentary support. It really has meant a lot to us. Thank you.