Most of last night I had winds of 10 knots so I decided to keep the No 1 jib out and the full main sail even though I was looking at going to bed. I did end up setting a wind alarm on the B and G display to let me know if the winds were over 17 knots. This is the upper wind range of my no 1 head sail so I wanted to make sure that I would be woken if the winds built while I was sleeping. About an hour and a half later the alarm sounded waking me from my blissful sleep. The winds appeared to be building and was averaging 15 knots in strength from the NW so I changed over my jibs to my trusty no 2head sail and then decided that I would also put the first reef in the main sail. By putting the first reef in at 15 knots it is slightly early however I felt that the winds were going to continue to build. I remembered that the forecast said I could expect gusts maxing out at 30 knots this morning and again I would rather be safe than sorry. The winds did build to 18 knots but then didn't appear to be increasing any further so I went back to bed at about 8am and re-tuned the wind alarm to trigger at 25 knots.
I woke a few times through the day to check the wind strength but I didn’t see anything over 20 knots. By the time I finally got out of bed around 4pm in the afternoon, the winds had already started easing again and I was back to 10 knots still blowing from the NW. I decided to put the bigger sails out again so I shook out the reef in the main sail and changed over the jib back to the No 1 head sail and went below to make myself some breakfast. I enjoyed a steaming bowl of hot porridge smothered in honey and read some of my book.
As the sun set and night approached I decided that I had been putting off the repair of the manual bilge pump long enough and dug out the tools needed to strip it apart. There is a crack in the rubber diaphragm that prevents it from sucking water in. Previously I had repaired this by using a tyre tube repair kit. This held for a few days but seeing as this is on a moving part of rubber the glue has given way and the pump is sucking air again. Last time I used my cheese grater to rough up the surface before applying the glue. It seems that this doesn't quite cut it, so I went on a whole boat hunt looking for sandpaper. When we re-fitted the boat in Sydney before I left, I had a HUGE amount of sandpaper around and for some reason I cannot find a single sheet or scrap of it on-board. I have checked absolutely every where... I am sure I will find it in the clean-up at the end, but for now I needed to improvise once again. I found a grinding disk for my angle grinder and set to work sanding the rubber with this to get a good rough surface to bond the glue too. This done I applied my patch but I only did one side today as I wanted to keep it pressed in the clamp for several hours on the off chance that this will help the bond. Tomorrow I will do the other side of the patch.
It gets hard to do repairs on-board, especially with the sail, or with glue, as everything is just a little bit damp. There are water features all around the boat where the condensation is dripping off the roof and nothing dries... The best way to dry anything is to actually put it in my sleeping bag so that my body heat dries it while I sleep. The sleeping bag takes away the moisture, but there are some things that won’t fit inside, like my main sail with that tiny hole at the foot that still needs repair. Given that I still haven’t blown out the sail because of it, I am inclined just to leave that one and hope for the best. The other option which I may try on a dryer day is to use the kettle as a iron to help melt the glue and create a bond. It may work. Apart from the 2 storm sails that need some repair everything else is ship shape, which is good because there is another storm looming on the horizon and is due early next week.
For the remainder of today and tonight the winds have been backing all the way around to the SSE and jumping between 4-10 knots. The wind direction is also jumping around, causing me to make constant course changes throughout the day. The fog is also persisting. I have not been able to see past 500m from the boat so it looked quite eerie today when there was a bird coasting along in and out of the fog. Tonight, it is black on deck, no stars, no moon and no difference between the black of the ocean and the black of the night sky. If I didn’t have a compass to tell me the right direction, then I would easily be doing circles and not even realise it. I will be glad to see a starry night sky again. Also, it would be nice to be inside the boat and not have my breath frosting from the cold. Burr.
Dinner was more wraps cooked on the fry pan with cheese and salsa. They went down a treat. I have also noticed that I seem to be eating more. I am not particularly hungry but something about the cold just makes me want to snack. It’s not a bad thing as I am likely burning more calories just to keep warm. I am not that cold with all my layers on. Given that it hasn’t been raining, or bad enough conditions that I am getting waves over the boat I have taken to wearing my Zhik Xeflex Midlayer around the boat and on deck. They have a slight waterproofing, so the dampness of the fog doesn't seem to matter and with them on I have remained toasty and warm.
Also as I was enjoying my dinner it occurred to me that i think I have been at sea for 60 days? Truthfully, I had lost track. The days just seem to blend into one, but if my maths is correct I have been at sea for just over 60 days. That is a pretty amazing thought. While I knew I was setting in for the long haul of this trip I have been quite surprised at how quickly the time has passed even through the days feel long. It will be a few more short weeks and I will be setting foot once again on home soil. A part of me can’t wait to get there but another part knows that I will end up missing this simple life at sea of eat, sleep, sail when I go back to the bustle of land.