South of Australia

The latest instalment of news from Nick Molony aboard Orange

Monday April 1st 2002, Author: Nick Moloney, Location: Transoceanic

G'day Australia, says Nick Molony in his latest e-mail from the maxi-catamaran, Orange . Remember our night is now your day, he points out to those still in Europe.

During the early part of last evening we crossed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin Western Australia. We are now officially under OZ. Its great to see it on the chart.

Its now sunrise here and we have had an amazing night sailing. Clearish skys long drawn out waves. 30kts True Wind Speed, 25kts Boat Speed. This was the greatest display of Aurora Australis I have ever seen. I have seen the phenomena many times but never so clear or brilliant. We are quite deep south, in the 50's and south of the Antarctic Convergence Zone. Water temperature is below 5 degrees so we are expecting ICE at some stage. It was always the plan to stay away from ice for as long as possible but we will see what the next few days has install for us. Is a bit concerning on such a boat but I on the other hand I don't want the lads that have not seen these amazing frozen islands to go home without a clear image in their memory.

Wind instruments have gone again....its a bit tough in the dark relying on the luff of the storm spinaker, when the apparent wind shifts so fast so its great to have a good sea way to lock into for direction.

Had a 'monty 2 nights ago when the wind lifted 40 degrees and we were suddenly reaching hard into a was a warzone. Explosions of water everywhere and everyone being thrown around on the tramp . You know when you are sieving flour or dirt and the big pieces bounce around on the mesh, that's sort of what it gets like. It happened so quickly that not many had their harness on. It was pretty 'full on for a period until we took another reef and jibed...wild times.

Repair to crack in back beam is finished so we will continue to monitor. Not surprising to see the damage, the water hits that like a sledge hammer and we have taken a few waves over the past nine days.

Its very cold as you can imagine but it feels like we have been making better progress over the past 24 hours. Will enjoy watching Australia and NZ pass by, then we can focus on Cape Horn. I think most onboard are enjoying the South so far which is a little strange. I seem to be setting a trend in my yellow suit [Nick's oilskins were torn, so he is now on Survival Suit] as more appear every watch.

Being so close to home obviously makes you think a lot about friends and family. My mum will now be living on the floor in the study, getting up in the middle of the night to log on to the net and check our progress. Whilst one hand moves the cursor on the screen the other will be shuffling Rosary Beads. Mum, you are a CHAMPION. I have been receiving many mails onboard from the web site and am amazed how many people are living this adventure with us. Thanks all for taking the time to fire off a bit of inspiration it really is fantastic.

I have a warm sleeping bag waiting for me. aaaaahhhhhhh 3 hours of bliss. Last off watch we celebrated Sebs [Seb Josse] birthday with balloons and all throughout the night there were continual bangs as people stood on a stray ones in the dark. Makes everyone jump a little on a boat with tonnes of load on everything.

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