Marco Nannini on the GOR: Through the storm

Marco Nannini on the GOR: Through the storm

Thursday December 15 2011 Author: Marco Nannini Location: none selected

Storm is over, back to normality. After a couple of nasty and uncomfortable sailing days we just hoisted the small spinnaker and are finally heading east at decent speeds. The computer has recalculated the expected date of arrival in wellington and instead of some crazy date six months in the future we finally show arriving in the early days of january, fingers crossed that's what will happen.

Sailing through the stormy conditions of yesterday and the day before was wet, tiring, cold and uncomfortable, we went down to storm jib and 3 reefs in the mainsail and beat for hours on end in 35-40 knots with gusts to 45.

The sea state was horrendous as for some reason we keep coming across random surface currents sometimes in favour sometimes against of up to 2 knots, in high winds these currents contributed to stirring a very nasty sea with cross waves and no apparent pattern or sense... occasionally the boat would climb a wave from nowhere at right angles and fall from the top into a trough with the loudest of crashes, i kept checking the floor and keel box for any signs of damage, maybe i was being paranoid, but with the closest piece of land nearly 2000 miles away you tend to worry about these things...

Through the worst of the winds, when it was blowing solid 40 knots under a rainy sky the colour of lead and charcoal, rain drops would hit your face with such violence they hurt, they hurt your eyeballs when you tried to look forward and any trip to the cockpit involved a total soaking.

Today when things got better we first hoisted the staysail, then removed a reef from the mainsail, then it was time for the solent, now finally we are flying our smallest spinnaker, the A5, and the spirits are definitely much higher although both Hugo and I are tired, the stormy conditions take their toll, you are never quite there, either trying to sleep in wet foulies, or forcing some food your stomac does not really welcome or stare at the instruments hoping you dont have to go outside to be wipped by icy

The Indian Ocean has already given us a few kickings, the first night of this leg and now these last couple of days: you fear it in a different way, with that feeling that yes you must try to avoid the worst as you don't want to find out how bad it really can get. We tacked south to avoid the worst, added many miles and lost time, but glad we did so, when it was blowing 45 knots we started to feel we were no longer in full control, it was not dangerous yet as we could have of course run downwind or hove-to or dropped sail, but we could not sail in the direction we wanted and we were being thrown about and started slamming uncomfortably, we certainly were not racing, just pushing forward.

Thanks for all the messages of support you sent us during the worst moments, for those wanting to send us a message please do so through the satellite service at, it's free, dont worry, we pick up the bill!


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