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[ THE WIRE ] Atlantis abandoned

Crew finally give up sleeping in wet bunks, and the ride continues.
It’s been a wet and wild ride here for the last little while. At least, that’s what it says in one of the recent entries in our temporary logbook. There have been many less publishable entries alongside this throughout our little spell of adverse conditions. However, a logbook is intended to be an accurate reflection of the conditions and situation onboard a boat, including the crew. It’s fair to say ours has done that well throughout our entire voyage, and the recent days are no exception.

Disco time is currently late morning, and the conditions are showing the first signs of settling down, having maintained a consistently very rough sea state and strong winds for the last 48 hours. Going hard to wind in this kind of weather is very hard on the boat and her gear, and I’m tempted to suggest that it is also very hard on the crew, but am reluctant to understate our levels of physical and mental endurance, and to sound like we’re complaining. Let’s just say that when the boat is suffering, the crew suffer with her.

Big thanks, as usual, to WRI for their constant input and advice to help us try and make the fastest and safest progress to San Diego. As you may have noticed, our new tactic involves pushing further offshore, before coming back towards San Diego on a NNE heading. This should get us clear of the rougher stuff that is slowing us down as soon as possible, and provide some better sailing angles for the second part of the passage, both of which mean faster sailing, which is good for everything.

The internal water feature that is the mast step in the main corridor below has reached new levels (no pun intended), and surpassed all expectations of the amount of water that could come through such small apertures, even with the force of the Pacific Ocean on the other side. This has finally got to an extent that it has forced evacuations of the forward two cabins. Starboard forward cabin, aka Atlantis (so named because it’s usually underwater even in fair weather) has seen Renaud displaced to my cabin at the back of the boat, and I have commandeered the space left behind to store all the unbagged sails that are currently below decks, so that they don’t block access to the bilges or obstruct the watertight doors that provide us with compartmentalisation in the event of a collision or flooding.

Port forward cabin, aka Down Under (so named because it’s where Ty lives), has seen The Lost Aussie finally bite the bullet, and move into the Port midships, aka The Jungle (known as such for possibly politically incorrect reasons, so I’m hesitant to elaborate further in a public forum), with Henry. Starboard midships cabin is Engineering, and where acetone, white spirit, and other chemicals live, so no one else is allowed to live in there as well in case of spillage.

This leaves Alex the current sole survivor of Down Under, and I just roam the boat, occasionally found helming, pumping bilges, complaining about the state of the galley, or curled up at the nav station snoozing.

I suppose our recent endurance of the Pacific has reminded us that we are only here, and still moving in the right direction, as a result of good preparation, and a certain level of determination. As previously mentioned, a lot of time was spent in both planning and physical prep before leaving the UK, and has been instrumental in getting this far safely. All our recent issues have been in areas that were part of this. The LPG system was professionally tested, various bits of standing rigging replaced to ensure total confidence in exactly these demanding conditions, bits of deck hardware resealed, and a good set of spares for our systems acquired.

It goes to show that even with all behind you, this is a testing environment, and while prep and planning can’t prevent everything from going wrong, it makes all the difference as to whether you can hold things together when it does. Ripping the mainsail was very unfortunate, however it was not being unduly pushed at its moment of failure, and showed no signs of deterioration in the area which tore. I’m led to believe it had sustained many hard miles in its life with Disco’s previous owners, and luckily we actually have a completely new spare tucked away at the bottom of the sail locker. I’d decided to run the original one as an ‘Atlantic main’ and save the new one to be our ‘Pacific main’, partly to save the new shiny sail from enduring any of our learning curves as we first sailed Disco. Not expecting the changeover to be quite so dramatic, it’s much less of a problem than it could be in the long term, and will only require a couple of days work swapping over all the hardwa
re.

Life for the five of us aboard goes on in the same sense, for what is our normal. Time on deck is lived at the end of a bright orange tether. You clip in while still down below, to the tether hanging down the companionway steps, left there already attached by the person before you. Then up onto deck, usually immediately copping a wave down the back of your neck, work your way back towards the helm, handover with the person already standing there bedraggled behind the wheel, and then begin your 2 hours of fun.

My two hours normally involve some music for a change, as I can’t listen to music or wear earplugs while dozing below decks in case I miss someone shouting from above or the sound of an alarm or radio call. The recent days have taken me beyond playlists and I am now in ‘full shuffle’ mode, with my iPod going to new depths, for better and worse. With it buried deep underneath layers of clothing, skipping the bad tracks isn’t an option, so you are just left to endure it, and ponder what bad life decision made you ever think that downloading that song was a good idea. There were too many of them for comfort last night…

And so we continue, finally making good progress at last.


NAV STATION
Date: 24th March 2017
Time: 1756z
Position: 25-50.3N 116-25.5W
COG: 300T
SOG: 7kts
Wind: N 6
Swell: Rough NW 7-10ft
Sky: 2/8 cumulus
Weather: Settling.

With the support of our partner Weather Routing Inc. 


 

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