Author: Rick

Big night and race finish.

18 December

1600 to 2000 watch which is now local time midnight to 4 am.Also just having the main meal at midnight seems odd.Our watch came on deck to the code 3 spinnaker up with 1 reef in the main and 18 to 21 knots of breeze. We were having to steer from the leeward(starboard in this case ) side as the starboard instruments are currently not working. The yacht was nice and easy to control initially steering 140 wind angle.
A gust came through which coincided with a wave that rounded us up.The boat broached and it was difficult to bear away despite dumping the main. Each time I did manage to start bearing away the kite would power up and round us into the wind again.About the 5th time we managed to ease the kite at the right time and I was able to get the boat downwind. Not before I had injured my right elbow when the wheel had spun back into it. It was a different experience broaching while steering from the leeward side ; with the boat half way on its side your downside leg is almost knee deep in water. I asked Seamus who was standing in the other helm to take over. We noted the wind had gradually increased with some gusts now near 30 knots and it was time to drop the spinnaker. Only trouble was the lazy sheet was wrapped horribly around the active sheet.We spent at least half and hour unwrapping it ,though Spokesy seemed to have the knack of knowing which loop to choose to unravel it.Seamus kept the boat downwind as much as possible though every so often he called for us to leave the sheet alone as the boat attempted to round up. We then dropped the kite ,raised the yankee and proceeded under better control under white sails.
Next morning ,still under white sails ,with 30 knots plus and a building following sea.The morning presented many surfing opportunities as we headed pretty much at Fremantle with under 200 miles to go.

19 December

night of 19th ,first time we spotted evidence of other human life as we have a close crossing with a ship. initially downwind under white sails but with the wind easing we set the code 3 but after putting a reef in the main. as the wind eases further we shake out the reef.

We finish our watch with only 40 odd miles to go.

I am awake just after dawn and put my head up the companionway and see the familiar sight off Rottnest Island off our port side.
We are soon into the marina at Fremantle sailing club and reacquainted with the fleet

For me and anti climax this one but still another crossing this time into the Southern Ocean and down to the legendary roaring forties. And I am sort of on home soil having lived in WA in the past. A short intensive stopover and we will start the Australian leg to Airlie Beach via the Southern tip of Tassy on Christmas Eve.

Evolution Watch

18th December
A lot of times there is little to do other than steer the boat. On change of watch yacht was recovering from a near knockdown and sail had to be reduced. I went up to help .First we dropped the yankee then we put in reef 2. On our watch the wind ddropped to just over 20 knots so we re hoisted the yankee .It dropping further we shook out reef 2 to reef 1. A bit further along the watch we shook out the last rèef.
Towards the end of the watch a rain squall came over which initially didn’t look too bad . It then hit quickly knocking us down but we were able to ease the main and bear away relatively quickly. We then noted the wind had shifted 40 degrees and was behind us. Now pulled down the staysail as downwind all it does is blanket the yankee. A lot of evolutions for one watch. And then now on support for the next watch We wrestle the code 3 spinnaker from sail locker then go up and help hoist it.
Yacht is now moving nicely at 12 knots under the code 3 with only 380 miles left to go. Whilst coolish upstairs downstairs is warm again with water tenperatures of 19.5.

Travelling North

11December

We come on watch to light winds and yankee 1 and full main up. The code 2 spinnaker has just come down and is on the floor of the yacht As soon as the spinnaker is packed we re hoist it. In preparing for a gybe unfortunately the tack line is eased and the tack of the spinnaker is released. We drop the spinnaker and re pack it on deck then re hoist it. The wind remains light till the end of the watch . There is enough wind at the end of the watch that it causes us to round up. This continues into the next watch and it is dropped and being on support watch we have to re pack it downstairs.

December 12

A day of nice sailing and nice weather just what we came for.Our watch come up to a moderate breeze and the code 3 spinnaker up.Making good speed at 12 to 14 knots.I try to push a high course straight towards our waypoint but get burnt a couple of times by a roundup and have to release the main. We sail a slightly lower course for the rest of the watch and it is pleasant sailing.The wind strengthens toward the end of the watch and during the next watch we are up on support dropping the spinnaker after the port side steering broke and hoisting the yankee after it is fixed.
Evening watch is under a beautiful moonlit sky. The yacht is powered up and moving nicely at 11 to 13 knots and more at times though quick to round up if you on are not on your game .

13 to 16 December

Another low pressure system white sails beam reaching then downwind.Then finally the code 3 goes up at the end of our watch and has stayed up with the sea flattening out and breeze dropping. Now north of latitude 38 and sea temperatures back up to 17. 800 miles to go in what has become our yacht delivery to Fremantle.
And this night finally just light to moderate 10 to 15 knots downwind under spinnaker beautiful moonrise ,wind starting to warm up as we travel north

17 December

The yacht runs on UTC but the time zones are changing constantly.
So 0400 to 0800 is now 11 am to 3pm
and 1600 to 2000 11 pm to 3 am. This all plays havoc with the mind and I often wake at dawn which means have only slept 2 hours .We were motoring due to light winds this morning due to light winds so this is delivery rather than race. The weather was very pleasant enough that foulies were abandoned for shorts plus base layer base layer jacket. Only around 800 miles left .
White sails on beam reach 12 to 17 knots and very pleasant sailing.

Force 11 to 12 ,near knockdown

Night of December 9

Force 11 = storm

Force 12 = hurricane

On deck that night we come up to 30 plus knot winds ,we have 2 reefs and staysail. Within 20 minutes we have squalls coming through at well over 40. I tap On the nav station window and get Seamus up and we put in the 3rd reef. The wind dies down but comes back up again and this pattern continues throughout the night. When I take my turn at the helm it is only blowing 35 knots but minutes later it is 55. It is however relatively easy to control the boat. Still Seamus comes up and says we’re dropping the staysail and putting up the storm jib as the wind is expected to increase further
The boat is surprisingly well balanced with the storm jib up. The wind continued to blow in the 50s and on later watches tops 60 knots.

Fred at wheel me on mainsheet in 50 knots plus,4-6 metre seas ,breaking wave hits stern quarter ,and Guan has beautifully filmed it’s approach

Came on deck to the storm still raging and 55 to 60 knots of wind. and waves are big maybe 6 metres high.The main is triple reefed and the storm jib is up.Vad is at the wheel and proceed to the stern for watch handover and I announce that Fred will take the wheel. I watch as the stern is picked up by a large wave with a breaking crest which is breaking in an arc towards the port side and it’s peak is well above the personnel at the port helm. I brace for the impact. The wave hits and rolls us and the stern is awash. Vad is washed out of the helm cage I am washed down the deck and get to my feet and take the wheel on the starboard side briefly while Vad recovers. The boat is still rounded up and Vad is unable to bear away. I get to the mainsheet and ease it out and Vad recovers the steering.We look across and both foreguys have broken. We spend the next half hour recovering and re rigging the foreguys. It’s like mother nature punched us in the side and rolled us over , a 35 ton boat being no match for the power of the sea. The wind stays 45 knots plus for first part of our watch then gradually drops and we hoist the staysail and drop the storm jib. By our evening watch we are back under a full rig trying to make way in light winds and a sloppy sea.