We continue to bash our way upwind off Japan. This continued till more than 2 weeks into the race when the breeze turn behind us. April 1 ,I awoke to a new motion feeling like the wind had dropped and we were going downwind. Actually the boat was going slowly downwind under staysail alone with the boom lashed to the deck to make repairs on the mainsail. The scene was remininiscent of footage I’d seen of crippled yachts limping into Eden during Sydney-Hobarts. Unfortunately this was going to become a common theme for this race. I was asked to come off mother watch to steer while repairs done. The initial task was simply to keep the boat on a flat comfortable heading in 40 plus knot wind and building seas. While repairs were done which was mainly damage to a batten and the associated sail that occurred while reefing the previous night. This was of course in a direction at right angles to where we wished to go. Eventually we re hoisted the main and made our way back up wind in 35+ knots ,3 to 5 metres and driving spray and rain. Fun Hey ! When the AQP took the helm 2 hours later within 5 minutes she commented how the f. did you do that for so long.The yankee 3 went up for a short but with the increasing sea it did not confer much advantage and we continued under reefed main and staysail.
The next night watch we make good progress upwind still.
A stay below deck breaks off the Backing plate that provides countertraction to the halyards on the starboard side.The deck which supports it has also cracked. We have to drop all sails and go downind under bare poles which is in a south westerly direction exactly opposite to where we need to go.A jury repair creating a Spanish windlass out dyneema using a spanner tighten it is effected. We are trailing warps to slow the yacht but with wind gusting at over 40 knots we are still travelling at 4 to 5 knots in the wrong direction all day.
Finally we effect the jury thanks to our skipper and several of our engineer types on board ,including Fred our naval architect ,and of course our rope wizard bosun Carl,and bit of advice from the maintenance team. We thought at one stage we may have to pull in to Japan. It’s back upwind though slightly freer and and doing more than 40 miles in a 4 hour watch and finally back past the island of Hachiojima behind which we had earlier sheltered.
Bit it’s getting colder and colder.