Kitemare Part 2 and Self Testing Liferafts
So another kite incident in the middle of the night. Set to peel from one kite to another when the hoist of the new kite went pear shaped. Ended up with the new kite in the water and the retrieval line for the original kite underneath it, which basically meant we couldn’t douse that kite until the other kite was out of the water. By the time we’d sorted it out a couple of hours later we had two trashed kites and a busted block at the top of the mast that means we will no longer be able to peel between kites. One of the kites looks pretty much un-repairable at sea as well.
Conditions after that deteriorated rapidly, the wind and sea quickly built to 60Knots and breaking waves as high a 2 storey house!! So we were down to 3 reefs and the no. 3 Yankee asap. And there the conditions stayed for 48 hours (hence the gap between blogs)!! The helm has to be particularly aware of breaking waves approaching on the beam and bearing away before the hit to ensure they are taken on the aft quarter. There can be dire consequences if taken beam on! The rest of the crew have to hang on.
In all this bad weather, I discovered a few other things:
1) The boat leaks like a sieve!! There is water coming in everywhere as the waves crash over the boat! My bunk has a running water feature through it and the mattress is now like a water bed – thank god for a waterproof sleeping bag. However in the end I had to abandon the bunk and move to a less damp one. Not as though sleep possible down below because of the noise of the waves and weather up top!
2) The official waterproofs are pretty useless in these sorts of conditions! In particular the cuffs at the bottom of the legs basically don’t seal at all and allow water straight up the leg and into your boots. The neck seal on the jacket also doesn’t seal so lets water down your neck.
3) Waterproof boots aren’t waterproof….. I spent nearly £300 on my boots and in no time flat they were sodden outside to in. Fortunately the 4th find makes this bearable.
4) My drysuit is a god send!! This item of kit makes the conditions on deck bearable, and at times they were pretty grim with waves crashing over the boat. Well worth the money! I think I may take to sleeping in it……
To add to the situation, in the middle of the weather front one of liferaft’s decided to self test and inflated itself on deck! Fortunately we carry 3 and only actually need 2.
For now conditions have abated and we are back to full main and the Code 2 kite (second largest) and we should have these conditions for the next 3 days or so before we get clobbered by the next low pressure that is approaching from the south.
The weather doesn’t seem to bother the multitude of birds though and we are now spotting plenty of Albattrosses, although they appear camera shy because as soon as I get my camera out they disappear!
One final point – it’s DAMN cold this far south in the Southern Ocean and we still have a couple of degress of south left to go before we bottom out and head back up to Oz!