d'Albora's Action Project: AUS 360 Blog Update
Presented by Pivotel
Well, it has been a bumpy ride out here over the last 24 hours and it is likely to get worse tonight. It is still raining on and off and the sky is grey with a really messy confused swell that knocks us around. Yesterday afternoon I was debating on if I should shake a reef out as the winds were easing to 25 knots however they were still often hitting 30 knots so I ended up deciding against it and stayed with the third reef in the main and set about making dinner. After dinner I was just passing the time by reading my book, it was really too rough to try to sleep as the autopilot alarms are always going off as I get pushed off-course by a wave so I was planning on a late night.
At midnight the winds dropped so far that I couldn't get away with having the third reef in the main any more as I no longer had enough power to overcome the waves so I reluctantly went on deck and finally shook out the mainsail from the 3rd reef to the 2nd reef and managed to cope a few waves in the face while I did it. I also realised how tired my body is as I was feeling much more fatigued by the end of winching up that sail than I normally was so I guess all this time at sea has taken its toll.
I tried to get some sleep afterwards but it was impossible as we rocked and rolled and bounced off the backs off the waves only to come to a crashing standstill afterwards so I gave up on the idea altogether and watched a movie. The winds were mostly 20-25 knots now and occasionally dropping down to 17 knots so knew I was in the lull between the storms however by 3 am the winds were back to 35 knots and I needed to once again but the third reef in the mainsail. It was a long night and in the end, I finally managed to get some sleep just after sunrise.
When I got out of bed at 11 am the conditions were much the same with 35 knots of wind and 4-meter messy waves so it was quite difficult to make breakfast. Everything becomes more difficult in conditions like this from simply sitting to using the toilet (there is a special rough weather technique used here) to cooking. For me, the galley stove was on the high side of the boat. I have a little two burner method stove that gimbals to the heal of the boat but it is still very difficult to cook on when it is on the high side. Basically, I need one hand to hold on, both of my feet are braced behind me on different things and even with that we often crash off waves strong enough to slam me into the dividing wall and I then need to climb back up to the stove to stir the porridge. Then I have to figure out a way to hold the pot and somehow poor its contents into a bowl without them going flying across the cabin or burning me. Trust me it is a lot harder than it sounds but it is manageable and it makes that hot bowl of porridge all the sweeter for the effort.
For the remainder of today, I have been keeping in the same conditions just ploughing through waves or over the top of them and a few times, I think Climate Action Now was getting herself confused for a submarine with how much water was coming over the decks but we are managing okay for now. The winds are expected to build tonight and I will likely hove too for the night and drift when the winds start reaching 40 knots +.
Also mum mentioned that Susie Goodal, who needed to abandon her vessel during the Golden Globe Yacht Race, made landfall and is now safe and sound. The Golden Globe Yacht Race is a solo around the world yacht race with no new technology so the sailors are using celestial navigation and manual wind vanes to complete the journey and Susie was doing fantastic at the front of the fleet at the only female competitor in the race. I can't imagine how it feels to lose your vessel on a trip like this. Our boats become a part of our hearts and have as much personality as people to us solo sailors but I am glad that she is safe and will one day have the chance to go again and crush it. Good luck Susie with all your ongoing adventures
Thanks to the following Sponsors for all their continued support: d’Albora Marinas, Pivotel B&G, Australian Geographic, Zhik , Park Fuels, Karver, 3M, White Bay 6 Marine Park, and Great Circle Life Raft