After yesterdays' rendezvous with a helicopter Dee is alone again in the Southern Ocean
No sooner had I finished playing with and waving at helicopters, then I was back to business. Literally within two hours of waving goodbye, in perfect blue sky and sunshine, was I putting three reefs in the mainsail and furling some of the headsails away. I had 35 gusting 38 knots of wind and a grey sky back again. Seawater doused the decks and the swell began to build into waves. Needless to say the wind direction also prevented me from pointing in the right direction, just to make sure I felt at home!
I had a whole night of the wet and windy stuff, with the wind speeds reaching 42 knots. It didn’t take long to remember what it is like banging and crashing to windward again. Obscurely enough dawn broke this morning to the wind easing and the swell dying down. By mid morning I had a full set of sails flying again and you would never have known there was any disturbance during the night.
I have a short respite from the winds before they build again and I pass through some fronts associated with a depression to the south of me that looks pretty fierce. Hopefully if we get some good directions in the wind this will allow me to get past New Zealand and head into the Tasman Sea.
Another member of the team that got very excited yesterday at seeing a helicopter and Dave Greenberg was Rescue Bear. Seeing his dad from a helicopter again made him smile. He was given to the yacht Challenge #40 last year as we left New Zealand so that we wouldn’t be in need of a helicopter again, and day in, day out always with a smile and never complaining, Rescue Bear has stood watch from the A frame at the back of the boat. He has now completed his circumnavigation but will keep watch with myself and Aviva until we are safely home and then I shall return him to his home in Wellington, New Zealand at the Life Flight Organisation where we are hoping that a well travelled Bear will raise some good funds for the charity funded organisation. He is looking a little tired now and is looking forward to feeling the sun on his back and finishing his voyage as we all are.
In the lighter airs and when we are sailing in a straight line in the right direction, I get very frustrated at how long this journey is taking me and after our speedy Atlantic start, feel that I have let people down by being so slow. Then when we are back in our forty-knot depressions and I am being beaten up, I realise why the journey has taken so long and that survival and getting round safely are actually ahead of speed. There are many things we can control and believe me I am working hard changing sails every time there is a change in the wind to maximise progress, but the one thing we have nocontrol over is the weather. Unfortunately the weather has dealt me a bad hand so far in the Southern Ocean, but now at the half way stage I have started a new game, so have a new hand of cards and hope they prove to be better for the rest of the journey, delivering some better weather to help progress rather than hinder progress.