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Saturday, February 13, 2010


Position 0630 13th. 4537 10501, trip 141, DMG 147 - probably GPS glitch here but DMG is accurate. Still thoroughly unpleasant but improving slightly. Just trying to get back north again before the next one hits us. This has been the nastiest bit of sea I have experienced for a very long time - at least three big superimposed patterns and 30+ knots to boil it all up. Seems to be abating now but will take time for the sea to drop. GPS has recovered, at least for the mo.

Bill - tks for ice & fire
Margy, thanks for sleeping bag ref
KC for I know not what but good to hear from you
PP for forecast and AC

Time for a cup of nice hot soup fortified with dried mashed spud for body and periperi for flavour. Hardly matters what flavbour the soup is supposed to be.


Well - middle watch again - oughta be daylight but it's the usual greyout with lashing spray, 35+ knots, violence, bashing, crashing waves the works. Seems we get an hour or so of the good times while the Examiner excuses herself and then it's back on the rack. But it does get us across the ocean pretty quickly so this isn't a complaint, just a bleat. And to keep it all in proportion, this is exactly what Francis Joyon, Groupama and all the other elite headbangers go hunting for and try to stay in for the whole two and a bit months they are out here. Sitting here,though, in this little old barge, the next 15 days or so do look pretty endless.

Erk - that WAS a big one - massive roaring crash and Iguacu falls cascading off the coachroof, poor old Berri shuddering and shaking herself and off again. We have the main up with the 3rd reef and it's really way too much but this is supposed to blow out - like 6 hours ago...And we are continually pushed south - got to get as far north as possible in the next break.

A bit of reality TV for anyone else who might be thinking of following:
first - the Grib files always underestimate the maximum wind in any low pressure system - if you double the grib forecast you are in the ballpark
second - if you have one, a trisail is the way to go but to be any use, it has to be the easiest sail in the boat to hoist. Invariably, it is the hardest because nobody ever uses it. Get a separate track fitted for it on the mast with its own halyard, exiting just above the top of the track, and take the track down to deck level - then you can leave the trisail in the track, in a bag but ready for instant deployment. For various reasons, I could not get the track down to the deck in Berri so we can't do that and the tri doesn't get used as often as it should. The third reef is way too big for most of these weather systems.
third - get a good quality aneroid barometer, calibrate it, fit it where it is both highly visible and safe from accidental bashing and use it. It can place you on the grib file more or less and it is the best indicator you have apart from looking out of the window as to what is about to happen to you. A digital barometer in your wrist watch or on the bulkhead is ok as backup but it needs batteries or some sort of power supply and is subject to other damage like salt water ingress.

Apologies if that's all a bit condescending - but I think it needs to be said occasionally.

Seems the last big wave wrote off the GPS aerial - filled it with water. Damn! Have backup, can travel but a bummer.