Last night I was sailing a course of 020 trying to get north and sail around the worst of the large swells that are being generated by a passing low pressure system. As such I was sailing very close to 'the border so to speak. The 45-degree south mark. I need to stay within the boundaries set by the Antarctica Cup Ocean Race. These boundaries are between 45 South and 60 South. I can sail anywhere within those but I void my chance at the speed record by sailing outside these lines. So, last night I was sailing from 47 South making my way north and closing in on that imaginary line. I was waking regularly to ensure that I did not accidently cross that line.
At 9.30 this morning I was north enough that I could put in a gybe and altered course to 100 degrees and started going in an easterly direction once again. The winds were WSW 15-20 knots occasionally gusting up to 25 knots and the swell was steadily increasing. By lunch I was sailing in 5 meter swell with the odd larger set coming through. When the winds were light the boat, Climate Action Now, would get shoved around quite a bit by the swell and often get shoved off course by a large wave. The sky has been an angry shade of grey and threatening rain all day but little has fallen.
I spent a bit of time playing with the generator but to little effect so tomorrow I am going to 'phone a friend' and have a chat to Chris from SLR in Albany who is a wiz with engines. He helped to get the old girl running before I left, so is familiar with the model…….. between the two of us we should be able to solve the issue and have the generator up and running again in no time. In the meantime, I have been using the main engine for charging when I have needed some extra power.
Normally I would have 2 wind generators going and can consistently hear the hum in the back ground from the watt and sea hydro generator so I would only need to use the engine occasionally however this afternoon I made an unfortunate discovery.
The Hydro Generator makes a humming noise when it is in-use, so this morning I had a moment of confusion when everything turned quiet... So, quiet that it was very unusual and alarming. It took me a few minutes to place the missing noise but I realized that the hydro generator wasn’t making its hum. I figured that the securing line that holds the generator down had snapped. This was not unusual and has done no harm to the generator in the past as it just lifts in the water and trails behind the boat. I didn’t go up to check on it right away and I wasn’t concerned until I looked out the back and noticed that the securing rope was still tight and very much in use. My assumption was well wrong if the unit was still held down.
I got out on deck and took a good look and my heart sunk... The propeller blade was completely missing and it looked like the securing screw for the blade had sheared off leaving just the thread behind. This would have been fixable however I also noticed that the unit had a bend in it and had buckled in the middle.
I have no idea how this may have happened and don’t recall hearing a noise like I hit something. Unfortunately, it has occurred, so one of my eco powered charging sources is lost... I am currently down to just the wind generators and solar. I still have the generator and main engine and I am carrying enough fuel for the whole of the trip……. but it is still such a bummer.
Bad news aside I wanted to spend a minute to share with you a little glimpse of my world. The attached photo is of me kipping in my bunk. (yes again) It’s not much but it does the job. The bed frame is an aluminium pipe cot that is 50cm in width and 2 meters long with a canvas netting strung between, for a little extra comfort I have added 2 yoga mats to cushion the bed. The grey netting you see on the right is called a lee cloth and is a very important feature. It has the job of stopping me from getting tossed out of bed in the middle of the night.
Normally I would sleep on the low side bunk when the boat is leaning over however given how much extra supplies I have needed I have used the starboard bunk for storage and I have made the port side my bed. As such I am sleeping either against the wall with the aluminium frame underneath me or against the lee cloth with the other side of the frame below me.
It is a far cry from the double bed that I was given at 6 degrees in Albany but it is surprising what you get used to. You also need to find positions that you can fall asleep in when the boat is rocking and rolling. Usually I sleep in a position similar to the recovery position in first aid with my top leg bent to stop me rolling too much. Sometimes there is not much you can do to avoid the roll and need to be tired enough to actually sleep... But I do sleep. You can also just make out on the right an orange square, this is my super loud alarm clock and the B and G Zeus on the pivoting arm allowing me to use it in bed.
Anyway enough about sleep, I enjoyed a lovely dinner tonight, my favourite freeze dried meal of bare burrito, mumm and I still have some natural yogurt left to enjoy with it.
I have had the main engine on for most of the afternoon so the batteries are topped up and the winds have been consistently around 15 knots for the last few hours offering an easy sail with my 2 reefs in the main and the no 2 jib furled almost all the way out. There are now some twinkling starts poking through the little gaps in the clouds and the swell seems to be abating a touch so here’s to a good night.