The next morning we have two 40 plus knot squalls ,the second hitting 50 knots at its peak. I manage the coach Sir Clyde through the situation and he experlty keeps us downwind at an angle 160 degrees plus. This prevents us rounding up.
I look to starboard of us. Zhuhaii ,who have been gradually catching us again, are less than a nautical mile south. They have rounded up ,this is a situation where the pressure of sails forcing the yacht to turn into the wind have overcome the turning force of the rudder and the rudders has stalled and the helmsman no longer has control. Because you’ve sailing downwind you have alot of sail up so as the yacht turns into the wind the yacht heels over long way like at a 50 or 60 degrees.The boom is usually dragging in the water the sails are flapping ,the rig is shaking and there is a lot of noise. Zhuhai is an eery sight ,it is still dark but the coming dawn light is reflecting off her sails which are nearly on the water. She looks like a ghost as she sits there on her side for a long time ,like 2 to 3 minutes before they finally gain control. They had been passing but now ,just as the dawn breaks they come out just a 100 metres directly ahead of us. It is surreal that we’ve been at sea for weeks sailed maybe 5000 miles and there are 2 yachts so close together. They still have their main topped up and are putting in a second reef which takes them a while. And we sail past ………again
<span;>Soon the waves are as big as houses and the conditions demand a 3rd reef.
In the evening I am on mother watch cooking when we hear a big wave hit us side on and the water floods the cockpit and washes one of the crew into the handle of the pedestal grinder. She sunstains a severe bruise over the cheek and a deep laceration to the bridge of the nose. Fortunately there is no serious head or eye injury but the laceration needs to be closed. We convert the galley into a mini casualty . Now obviously I’ve sutured thousands of lacerations . Fortunately sitting on same surface as the patient means I’m moving at the same time as she is as I inject local anaesthetic and neatly close the wound as the yacht moves over the 4 to 6 metre seas.
Back on deck it is noted the headboard at the top of the main is becoming disconnected from the ‘cars’ that slide along a track on the mast that keeps the mainsail connected to the mast. When we broke the halyard this was damaged and Mary had put some lashing round to fix it and was now coming undone. When the wind drops we are unable to shake the reef out and have to wait for more benign conditions to fix it . So we sail a little underpowered in waves as big as houses and yes Zhuhai sail by !!!