Gales on the nose...

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet power through gale force winds...

Wednesday February 13th 2002, Author: John Greenland, Location: Transoceanic
Ross Field white water rafting...

Midnight, change of watch hasn't been a great time for us - as far as stress levels are concerned.  The situation was that we weren't laying the outer island of the Falklands group so we decided to take the boat thru a very narrow passage (1.5 miles wide) between the islands of 'Flat Jason' and 'The Friday'.  

Thru this gap the tide runs up to eight knots and it’s reported on the chart that there are overfalls.  Well, there were overfalls, huge ones, and to make matters worse it started to blow 35 knots, again it was as black as the inside of that old cow, there are no lights on the islands and there was a difference between the chart readings and the GPS.   Nick [White], Steve [Cotton] and myself were huddled in the nav station while the crew were on deck trying to keep the boat under control and obviously thinking that we were bloody idiots for taking us thru such a place.   We made it, saved many miles and charged towards Rio doing 17 knots over the bottom.  Huge relief...

Alby [Pratt] and Jez [Fanstone] are now trying to do the impossible and rebuild the poor old Bart Simpson spinnaker.   This was the spinnaker that had been certified dead after being blown apart - it has been given a second chance and should be back in action after 24 hours of sewing and abuse.   How they put together a heap of material like this never ceases to amaze me.

Bart has been very, very quiet on this trip so far, the stress of the Southern Ocean was obviously too much.  Some snacks have been going missing and the blame has been put in Bart’s direction.

It’s getting warmer by the day, the gloves and hats have gone, the heavy mid layer and thermals are next.  These Musto mid-layers and thermals have been a lifesaver, but I am sure they weren’t designed to be worn for 18 days - that’s sailing, and sleeping - they're getting smelly.  

The sun is out and I better go on deck before I get abused again.

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