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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Daylight come...

Position 0630 11th 4538 09902, trip 119, DMG 92. Not bad, considering the nastiness last night. Huge SW swell at first light, wit the NE wind waves over it and the rising waves from the current westerly so very confused, big seas. We are running NE with about half the headsail - still a bit iffy to go for twin poles and anyway, if the grib is to be believed (probably not!) the wind is supposed to go north later today.

Following yesterday's jizz, interesting fact no. 2 - Mercury was used as a 'carrot' or stiffener in the felt hat industry. Lewis Carroll's Mad Hatter was based on workers in the industry who suffered from mercury poisoning causing 'Hatters' Shakes' and mental aberration. Not a kindly portrait after all. From Harold Klawan's book 'Newton's Madness' Bodley Head, uk 1990. Also from the Cape Town flea market. I wonder where the Queen of Hearts came from.

And we soldier on - 1980 miles to my Maatsuuyker waypoint which is about 20 miles short of the island.

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Still dank and claggy but

And the long night drags on. Things have improved - the barometer bottomed out at about 993 and now infinitesimally climbing again, the wind started to back, hesitated, threw us some savage gusts, pouring rain and blasting spray, dropped to nothing and backed very quickly NW then W at 25 kts. I think the top of the eye of the low passed over us - anyway, we are now running NE with the wind on the quarter and about half the headsail. Confused sea but it's getting better - we no longer get the massive crashes and subsequent cascades as big waves come in from the side and break against the boat or over it. We are still rolling all over the place, but it's not constant - just happens in bursts as cross-wave trains trundle through and agitate a lot.

The barn door once more somewhere over the horizon ahead of us where it ought to be.

Wet, clank and daggy

Just come back inside from sorting pearshapedness. Dripping wetties hung and hands dried as best as I can. When you've had it good for a few days you tend to forget how bloody awful these things are. We are now almost bare poled - tiny patch of headsail, gusty NE wind around 40-45 kts just aft of the port beam so we are running with it to minimise the effect, heading away from Hobart to the south west. Big breaking waves, Berri rolling all over the place, horizontal, cold rain, howling blast from the rig and this is only a toy one. Pete asleep through it all - I don't know how he does it. Barometer still falling - down from about 1010 to 995 at about 3hp/hr. I think we must be close to the centre of the low - which the grib puts about 50 miles further south at 1002, so it came as a nasty surprise to disturb the complacency. All we can do is sit it out and try to regain ground to the north when it abates.

I can feel the pressure of the wind gusts in my ears. Now to watch the wind direction to see whether it veers or backs as the low moves away so we know where we are in the system and have an idea what to expect next.

Have a nice day! As I said, it's looking like a long night.