Big winds and watermaker worries for Global Challenge skipper James Allen

It has been another busy day onboard Me To You! We started off in relatively comfortable conditions reaching in around 20 knots of wind; this was a great break for the crew who have been working in horrendous conditions for days. The thing is with the Southern Ocean that the weather doesn’t stay the same for very long.

By lunchtime we were back in 30 to 40 kt winds as the boat and the crew took a pounding. Wave after wave of icy cold water crashed over the deck where the crew were huddled trying to stay warm in between trimming the sails and steering the boat. The amount of effort that goes into maintaining a high consistent boat speed is enormous. The sails need constant attention, and sometimes a little repair. We have been very fortunate so far in the race and have only really damaged one sail our spinnaker, which we flew today and the repair is excellent. We flew it in 20 knots of wind which is near its maximum and the repair didn’t budge. Not bad considering we had to re-attach a whole corner of the sail!

While all this was going on I have been busy below deck where we have been having trouble with our watermaker. We discovered yesterday that it no longer worked. With at least 4 weeks to go to Wellington this could be a major problem. We are now on strict water rationing. The fresh water from the tanks is only for eating and drinking. Washing is now done using saltwater.

We have now discovered that the high-pressure pump that is essential to the watermaker’s operation is leaking and therefore not supplying water at a high enough pressure. The good news is that we have a set of spare seals for the pump so we should be able to fix it. We are now waiting for some calm weather, as we need to remove the pump and dismantle it to replace the seals, not an easy job in a workshop let alone on the saloon table of a yacht bouncing around in the Southern Ocean! Hopefully we will have more news on that tomorrow.

Morale amongst the crew is very high tonight as despite all that is going on we are managing to sail fast and we have seen some great results today, we still have a way to go but the crew are determined and working very hard. Watch this space.