The first thing that greeted me this morning was a dull ache in my hands, fore arms and lower back. I tried to get out of bed, but the exertion was too much, so I laid back down to try to assemble some order from the foggy chaos of my thoughts. I reminded myself of the previous day’s physical exertion and emotional stress and my current state started to make more sense. After a few minutes I was able to stand but my balance wasn’t great, so I had my coffee inside while I slowly regained consciousness and an ability to stand. I was tired. Really tired. While I’ve had a rest day here and there in between dramas, it’s never been enough to regain full strength and the sleep deprivation on top of this is resulting in my physical (and mental) performance starting to wane and my mood dropping. I just need a few days where northing major goes wrong and I’m pinning my hopes on the doldrums which are now less than 400Nm away.
I’ve decided to change my sail plan and will use the third reef until I pass the equator as the squalls aren’t letting up and this is where the real damage to gear is done. When wind is less than 10knts I’ll have the genoa fully unfurled though so I can still maintain boat speed while reducing the pressure on the gooseneck connection. The join was creaking a lot during the night, partly because it needs grease and partly because it’s simply not an ideal repair (but the best I could do) which makes me think this friction will sooner or later result in a complete break. If nothing else this is resulting in some unwanted anxiety.
My ultimate back up plan if it does break irreparably is to use the storm trysail as this doesn’t require a boom and, combined with the genoa will give me enough forward momentum to keep going and not have to pull into a port of refuge. At this stage I’d only pull into a port in either the Solomons or PNG if there was a medical emergency as I know they’d put me straight into quarantine (assuming they let me in) and likely impound the boat given their borders are closed so it poses a whole different set of risks by stopping. In essence the best strategy is to:
Just. Keep. Going.
While I’d hoped for a calm evening, a series of squalls hit around midnight and the seas started to get quite messy with winds variable at 18-20knts. By 3am the going was painful and slow with the boat getting thrown about the place, so I decided to furl the jib and put the engine on as I desperately needed sleep. Once I know the boat is secure and engine on, I find I’m less sensitive to the exact angle of heel or boat noises and simply trust that the engine, the hull and auto pilot can sort out the situation and am able to get a semblance of restful sleep, though it’s never enough.
The Little Prince is a special book. I’m glad you’re enjoying it with Lucas.
@ Donald Hunter
Love your humour Uncle Donald
@ Elieen O’Farrell
Many thanks for sharing Eileen
@ Stephen Bottomley
Any chance you can order me a Beef and Liberty Cheeseburger, Chilli Fries and a large Chocolate Milkshake to be delivered in approx. 1 week from now…?
@ Doug and Jenna
Still not sure how I’m getting down from Cairns to Sydney (or when) but I’m really looking for to seeing you both when I get there.
Rory – unbelievable effort!!! Sounds so scary at times yet inspiring to all us here in Dundee who our closest to ur journey is a wee fishing boat on monikie pond !!! I once went in a wee boat on Loch Lomond in a quiet day and was nearly seasick! Be strong and get there at least alive please !!! Next time sail to Broughty ferry ! Will take u for a game of bingo ! X
Keep your chin up Rory. I’m now googling the specific technical language you use in your blogs because I’m tired of reading on, pretending I know!
Do you see much sea life on your adventure?
Look forward to your next update.
I feel your frustration, exhaustion and anxiety.
I had hoped you would have had a quieter day after the challenge of the Gooseneck. I am also aware of the time lag, where your are receiving feedback from one day but have already have the experience of, and are ending the next.
If you are worried about the Gooseneck repair why not create a safety connection from the Mast to the Boom, using your replaced Reefing Line. A Bowline with say a 4-5m tail around the Boom, wrapped around it a few times and the same on the Mast just above the Gooseneck, then intertwine these two separate lines thru their opposite Bowlines and loops, (Mast line with Boom an Boom Line with Mast), and tension with hitches. That way if the metalwork does fail, at least the Boom should hang in place. Similarly if the Gooseneck and pin are squeaking or creaking, if you have a thinner line, you can work some similar rope work through the loops, bolts and pins back to the Mast and/or the Boom. Alternatively, sheath the metal on metal with the outer core of the old reefing line or using some thin line, create a protective pad limiting the scope for movement?
From the tracker, it looks like you are head to wind again and bearing off a bit, which is monotonously draining, but in the next day or two you could be having a wee celebration with King Neptune!
I hope you will have had some good rest before then.
Keep your spirits up. You are more than half day now, and almost over the top of the hill. ⛵️😊
After that, you will be upside down again in the Southern Hemisphere 🙃. Now that’s worth looking forward to!
Pirate Scotland… Stuck in a grey and wet Haaaaar!
Hi Rory, so great to read your blog every day, you are doing great as far as I can see on the map, you are close to the equator, wind will be better,. So the goal is almost there. It seems your body and mind require rest, try to increase rest period during the day, take some vitamins or any other good food intakes, she needs you in good shape to repair her and take her to Port, easier said than done, I agree….. I hope your main is holding well. I had Lee, his wife and moon for dinner last night at home, we toasted for you, and were so proud of your achievements. The path to change is never easy, you have chosen it and those beautiful moments at sea will stay for ever in your mind, and the ultimate luxury very very few people know the feelings, the beauty, the extasy, precious moments that will last a life time, sail fast, dry, and safe my friend, Marc Castagnet
Rory… So many of us are mentally living vicariously through your journey with you, and I hope with that you can also feel all of our energy, strength, care, protection, and love to help carry and lift you through the harder, tired times. You have a true community and the power of universal possibility on your side, and we’re with you!
Big hug – Sara