POS: 9 23.4S 137 09.3W
The daily pattern of the wind remains the same – a slight increase after dark, then a slight moderation in the early hours.
Shortly after an increase in the wind there is typically an increase in the sea state. The seas are coming from the quarter – about 30 – 45 degrees from the back of the boat, and they overtake the boat. They pick up the stern sending us on a bit of a sleigh ride (depending on their size), then pass by and we wait for the next one. If they come from exactly behind the boat just pitches and accelerates, whereas if they come from one side, the boat also rolls – sometimes it seems quite violent, especially in the pitch black. Its not harmful, but can be a little unnerving especially for Lesley who much prefers slow and steady to fast and furious. I was greeted in the companionway by a somewhat traumatized face at about 23.30. The movement of the boat had woken Lesley and she was clearly not best pleased with the idea of watch duty in the current conditions! We were being rolled from one side to the other and the rumbling and roar of the water passing down the sides of the boat as we surfed at up to 12 kts down the faces of the waves with the sky so black you couldn’t even see the horizon was not her ideal choice of midnight past time! Of course if necessary she would have taken over, but I was enjoying it so settled in for a long night.
Come 3 am the breeze had died down a little and consequently so had the waves so Lesley appeared and I got some rest and by the morning she was in fine spirits having declared that despite the conditions, she had not had to trim the Parasailor or alter the course once during the watch and it was actually quite fine – she had done some work, watched some recorded TV and read her book. Its all down to familiarity and experience – ocean sailing sometimes pushes the bounds of your comfort zone but the more you do it the more you get used to it and hopefully the less you fear it. Toasted freshly baked bread and Tea saw Lesley retire for a well deserved rest.
Considering just a few years ago even the thought of crossing the Atlantic on a fully crewed boat terrified Lesley, to now be so close to finishing the longest ocean crossing people normally do anywhere in the world just two up, meaning she is basically single handedly sailing the boat whenever I am off watch is an amazing achievement!
For the rest of the day the routing software showed a pretty much straight line to Hiva Oa, our destination, so there was little to be done regarding sailing the boat – a few tweaks to sheet angles and course and enjoy the sunshine and catch up on a bit of sleep. With flatter seas we both managed to do so.
Nothing broke and we made good speed – we took another 193 nm off the distance to go so a successful day all round.
As I write this, somewhat belatedly we have 109 nm to go so with any luck today will be our final day of this journey!
All is good on board.