09/11/2014 – Not much to say!

Yesterday evening was horrible, strong winds and big seas. Trying to sleep on my first off watch was very difficult. When John woke me up at 2300 he said the winds had been up to 30 knots but had settled back to the 20-25 knot range. We were well reefed and in no danger but there is a niggling worry at the back of both our minds about the repaired forward lower shroud. We check it regularly and it is rock solid but….. The night improved and by midnight the seas were smoother, the wind was down to 18-22 knots and the moon suddenly rose above the cloud layer and shone like a searchlight on us. On balance I think it is safe to say that Sunday has been a much better day than Saturday. For the first time in 3 days I have been sitting in the cockpit this afternoon in a tee shirt (long sleeves though) and minus oilskin trousers and fleece. The wind has dropped steadily as we head as far east of south as possible, the wind has other ideas and we are moving much closer to south. We are now in a position where less than half of the distance we travel is actually towards New Zealand, not ideal. Mid-afternoon we decided to tack and try motorsailing towards our destination but gave up within about 10 minutes. The new heading took us straight into the waves and swell, not nice. More importantly the GRIB files we have, predicting the weather, indicate that we need to be another degree further south at least to avoid stronger headwinds. By tomorrow morning we should be in a position to tack, let’s wait and see! The only problem today was that the jib sheet snapped again but we have replacing it down to a fine art. Other than that there has been no ‘excitement’ I am pleased to report. Our progress is slow and we are further west than any of the other boats, partly because we have sailed with the main out a bit further than necessary and stayed further off the wind. We have done this to protect the rig however, after last night’s winds, John has much more confidence in its stability. Now the wind has dropped even further but also veered. When we could only sail at less than 4 knots making no miles towards New Zealand it was time to start the engine. The jib is rolled away but the main is still up with two reefs in it. The winds are expected to veer further (go clockwise) so we should be able to make our required heading on the other tack sometime tomorrow. We just have to wait to see what the night brings. We are still actively reducing our prohibited foods mountain. Breakfast, as it is Sunday, was eggs and bacon with grilled tomatoes (all prohibited), that finished the bacon. Lunch was bean salad, cucumber sticks and open sandwiches of ham, smoked salmon and cheese. Most of those items are prohibited but apparently they are easing up on the restrictions on dairy products, still better safe than having the cheese confiscated when we could have eaten it. Dinner was Beef Bourguignon with mashed potatoes, carrots and sweetcorn, again all prohibited except the canned sweetcorn. One advantage in having a longer passage than anticipated is that we will need to discard far less food! Joyce

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