Wierd noises in the night forces Dee on deck 30/1/06

Date29 January at 2320

PositionS 50° 44’/W 144° 34′

A bumpy old 24 hours with a wind that has covered everything from 16 knots of wind to 42 knots of wind. It is pretty difficult to set a sail plan with that kind of range going on.

We had a reduced breeze for about an hour so I unfurled the staysail, all was well and then I dropped off to sleep for what felt like an absolute eternity, it was in fact 28 minutes. I awoke to 38 knots and I still had the staysail unfurled, so off on deck I went again and tucked it away again. Just that ten minutes on deck furling the staysail, sent my fingers numb. The air was icy cold and that southern component in the wind was definitely showing its effects. I touched the cold of the winch handle and was scared that my hand was going to stick to it; everything felt that cold. By the time I was down below deck again, I screamed out in agony as the blood circulated around my icy fingers. The pain was unreal.

So we continue along this bumpy road and I am relieved to say that the sky is a piercing blue with white fluffy clouds at the moment, which has lifted my spirits. The grey, drizzle was getting me down. The sea state hasn’t changed and the wind is still as gusty, but with a little sunshine, it is nothing we can’t handle.

With Aviva pounding through the waves you get used to the creaks and groans she makes and can identify where most of them come from, however, last night at about 0100hrs in my time zone, in the pitch black of a starless and moonless sky, I had a new noise to investigate. There was a flow of water and some gurgling sound. I hadn’t registered the sound before, so I set about armed with my torch to locate the noise.

After checking my bilges I ventured up the companionway steps and looked outside almost jokingly as yet another wave crashed across the deck. Trying to find a specific flow of water out there would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But the gurgling came again. In the centre cockpit there are two drain holes and with the amount of water being collected there, the mainsheet had washed along and was covering one of the holes so as it was trying to drain the volume of water passing over the deck it was making a gurgling and sucking noise as the water passed between the ropes. Mission accomplished I could relax.

Well we have finished week 11 and I have sailed 11,700 miles. There are probably some extra miles there as I have scooted north and south as I have deviated my way between the secondary low pressures and avoided the worst of the winds. The good news is that Mike Broughton is quite confident that we have visited 53 South for the final time. So fingers crossed things can warm up again.

Looking at dates on Monday 30 January I have been onboard Aviva for 72 days. Ellen’s world record that she achieved last year took 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds to circumnavigate the globe. It goes to show how different the two events are and puts a perspective on the amount of time I am away for. I will have been in the Southern Ocean longer than she took to sail around the whole world. That is the nature of sailing a modified 45 tonne yacht against the prevailing winds and currents, west about the globe.

Dee and Aviva