Well its official. I definitely woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning or should I say this afternoon. I haven’t had a great sleep pattern from the start but it has gotten a lot worse since Cape Horn with me mostly staying up all night and sleeping all day... It seems easier as I can then talk to my family and shore support team but it isn’t doing my body clock any favours. I have been skipping meals etc. just because it is a funny time to eat. I guess it’s all caught up to me because after going to bed at 6am this morning I got out of bed at 1pm and had breakfast. I was still feeling quite tired but figured I would get up for a bit and then try for an early night...
The winds were still dropping of so I went on deck to shake a reef out. This hasn’t really ever been an issue but this morning the boat was testing my patience. I am sorry to say I lost.... I was almost finished shaking the reef from the 2nd reef out to the first reef when I noticed that the line was getting tight. When I shake out a reef it is a solid 10 minutes of winching and can be quite tiring. So, it was hugely frustrating for me to notice that the running back stay was caught on the top of the main sail. The running backstay is a rope that runs from 3/4 up the mast to the back of the boat and is another way of adding support to the rigging. It is a very important piece of rope and I needed to untangle it because I couldn’t get the whole sail up with it like that. The only way to untangle it was to lower the main sail again. All that hard work and here I was lowering the sail right back down. I ended up needing to lower it all the way back to the second reefing point again before I could shake the running backstay line free. Once it was free I started winching the sail up again.... I was again almost finished when the line got caught again! Ahhh. I was tired, grumpy, cold and wet and it was doing it again.
In anger I lowered the main sail all the way back down to the second reef point again only this time I also winched in the boom and managed to get a hold on the running backstay and carried it forward to a position where it was impossible for it to get tangled again and tied it off. I was really angry by now and was storming around the boat. All that did was cause me to trip or bump myself on things making me madder... With my eyes prickling from unshed tears, I winched the main sail up yet again... This time the boat decided to play nice and let me finally get the sail set... I stood there for a good 10 minutes taking deep breaths and trying to push past the frustration. I know that this anger was solely a reaction to my isolation and the fatigue of the trip but it doesn’t make experiencing it any easier.
I decided that I was being ridiculous and I was going to have a good day and put positive thoughts out there. I had my interview with Sky News Australia at 6pm my time so I was looking forward to talking to them again and having a laugh so I went down below to make a hot bowl of porridge to cheer me up. After my interview, I needed to get on with the repair of my B and G Auto Pilot Hydraulic ram. I started gathering some tools to do the job with. I would need to climb through a very small hatch into the steering compartment and it is a very cramped place. When I opened said hatch though, there was a humongous amount of water... Way more than anyone on a boat would be comfortable with... I knew the reason for the water however it is still unsettling to see that much sloshing around the boat. The steering compartment was almost half way full. When I was refitting the boat in Sydney we needed to replace the rudder bearing however this has since caused a miss-fit with the rudder its self and I have been plagued with a leaky rudder ever since.It has been the bain of my existence at sea.
In Albany we installed 2 automatic submersible bilge pumps into that compartment and I still had a pick up to the main bilge system of the boat so I had 3 options for maintaining the water levels in that compartment. Guess the electric pumps went working anymore... I had also gotten in to the habit of running the main pump from that compartment twice a day just to make sure, but since I discovered the huge amounts of water in that compartment I realized that the line had a blockage. My extra pumping twice a day was doing nothing. Well the water is there now so I cleared the blockage and pumped it all out. When it was mostly gone I squeezed myself into that compartment and set to work re-attaching the section of the hydraulic ram back together. This didn’t take very long, but while I was there I started plumbing in the replacement bilge pumps that I had on-board. I got around to wiring them up but started to get really frustrated again, every time I was about to crimp the wire the boat would lurch causing it all the slip out and miss and I would need to do the whole thing again. I got so annoyed that I decided to leave it for tomorrow. I was crouched in a small compartment at 3am trying in vain to connect some wires together. There was still some water sloshing around my legs and it was freezing cold. I had simply had enough...
When I was in the steering compartment I heard a large amount of water sloshing in the small rear lazaretto compartment. This is the compartment where I store all my rubbish of the trip. Unless its organic I save it and will dispose of it on land when I return. So far, I had put 2 garbage bags worth of rubbish in that locker. As the water was sloshing I decided to pump out that compartment too. Unfortunately, this one had also gotten a blockage. So I climbed back on deck and opened the back hatch to check what was blocking it. There was an awful amount of water in there and as i was on a starboard tack and the access point for this compartment was on the port side all the water was pushing against the hatch. I realised that when the steering compartment was flooded the water must have made its way back into the next compartment back through a loose hose fitting. From what I could see just using my head torch it just looked like salt water was pushing against the hatch and not a bag or rubbish so I got ready to open the lid. It didnt matter if some water sloshed out as I was already on deck and it would just go into the sea however I was poised to grab a bag of rubbish if it happened to try to float past. I opened the hatch and came face to face with rubbish soup. A brown gross looking mess with an abundance of plastic floating in it. I slammed the hatch shut again so quickly to prevent any of the rubbish from escaping into the sea. Well if I was thinking I was having a bad day before I was wrong... It just got a whole lot worse. I wasn’t game to open the hatch again so I tried the pump one more time but it was still blocked likely with all the rubbish floating around...
The conditions are still 10-15 knots of wind from the SE with a SE swell rolling through. As the hatch for the back compartment is currently on the low side I needed to either tack the boat and tackle this disaster or wait until the conditions drop off tomorrow as forecast when a high-pressure ridge passes over. It’s still dark outside and its now 4am so it was an easy call. There is nothing in that compartment that will hurt the boat so I have chosen instead to run away from my little world for a few hours and get some sleep. The winds are expected to drop out to 3 knots at 9am my time so I will only manage a few short hours sleep before I need to actually deal with that lovely mess. That’s a few hours of warmth in my bed and I hope that I will wake up with a much, improved attitude as I just can’t stand myself when I am this frustrated grumpy person. I want the bubbly Lisa back.