Sunday, October 21, 2007

Friday 19th October

At Sea
22 26.649 S
152 20.730 E (at Midnight)

It was just as well we did reduce the sail area as the winds grew again for the rest of the night and we were having sustained wind of 27 knots and gusts up to 30 knots, needless to say we were moving along pretty rapidly. We finally saw a sign of life other than the 2 of us this morning - a cargo ship appeared out of the clouds on the horizon 6 miles in front of us; it crossed our path and vanished back into another cluster of clouds. Soon after spotting this ship a huge wave hit us side on and managed to get under the canvas and Gerry got soaked through, I escaped as I was down below getting us a drink at the time. The wind began to drop and once it was down to 20 knots we turned the engine on to try and steady the rolling; it didn’t work too well as Gerry tried to cook up some sausages for breakfast and the pan ended up on the floor when the boat gave a violent heave to one side (they were disgusting sausages anyway!). It did make Gerry appreciate what I normally go through to put a cooked meal in front of us when we are underway. We turned the engine off mid afternoon and unfurled the jib , we managed to sail for at least 2 hours before the wind dropped aft enough to cause the sails to flap annoyingly; at this point the jib went away again – its certainly getting a good work out! At around 22.30 hrs we reached the end of the Great Barrier Reef at around Rockhampton and began rounding the bottom of it to head back north and towards home. As we turned to head north the wind was now directly aft of us and maintaining our course was increasingly difficult. The auto pilot kept dropping out and the boat kept trying to round up into wind, it was a very frustrating night. Sleep was difficult but at least we had half a moon and plenty of stars even if they did keep disappearing behind the clouds.



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