Ian Walker: SiFi scores 40 knots, Nocka a crash tack

Ian Walker: SiFi scores 40 knots, Nocka a crash tack

Thursday March 29 2012 Author: Ian Walker ADOR Location: none selected

Right now the Southern Ocean is showing us who is boss. We are just shy of 50 degrees south and since the passage of the front 36 hours ago we have had sustained 30 – 40 knot winds. We are sailing with two reefs in the main and the J4, which is pretty controllable, but the sea state is horrendous as it remains confused behind the front.

We are sailing hard but trying to minimise the slamming as much as we can. It has been an eventful 24 hours with nighttime surfs up to 40 knots (Si Fi claimed that one), helmsmen being washed off the wheel (well that was me and luckily I landed in Craig’s lap) and the piece de resistance the crash tack. Nocka can claim this one but had mitigating circumstances as the wind gear blew off the top of the mast and the numbers he was steering to in - the pitch black - went haywire.

My last words to him before he started helming were ‘whatever you do… don’t Chinese gybe in to windward’. He took me to my word and as the numbers indicated he was going to crash gybe he steered hard up to weather. The net result was an inadvertent tack and ensuing capsize. It was bizarre down below trying to get dressed standing on the walls. It was remarkably peaceful. Once we got some boys on deck we managed to tack the runners, centre the keel back down and get sailing again. After a good check of everything we were off again.

A very lucky escape. So we have just under 2,000 miles to Cape Horn and it looks like it will be windy all the way.

Hopefully the waves will sort themselves out a bit but either way the next five days are going to be anything but dull.

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