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  • A Call to AntarcticaOn March 10, 2009 at 13:43:19 French time, Skipper Rich Wilson and Great American III crossed the finish line at Les Sables d'Olonne. Race time: 121 days, 41 minutes and 19 seconds
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Day 68 - Familiar Territory

  • Jan
    16

    2005utc 44/26/s 118/41w, wind 25-30 knots north and building, speed 9 knots, storm jib and 3 reefs in main, seas 15 feet and building. Earlier we sailed directly into the trough of the elongated low, the extra tropical storm HETA, which has been sitting here in mid-Pacific spinning off secondary lows. Heta is finally about to move itself to the southeast and on to Cape Horn. After getting the big windshift at the trough mid-pint, we are coming out the east side and heading directly for the east Pacific ice gate. The wind will build, and the seas will build, and so we are hunkered down with the sail combination ready for when that happens, giving up some speed, but its OK for me.

    Small milestones are encouraging. This morning, the INMARSAT-C unit (International Maritime Satellite), the original, very slow text satellite system showed "Cannot Acquire Synchronization of Channel", several of these messages were in dialog  boxes on the computer screen, then a message of the fleet positions. I thought, OK, it picked up the satellite again, good. I looked at the fleet message, and noticed that the unit was no longer logged into the Pacific Ocean Region satellite, which it has been for some time. Instead it was logged into the Atlantic Ocean Region - West satellite. Coverage for the INMARSAT satellites also includes the AOR-East and Indian Ocean Regions. It was a nice welcome back into familiar terrain, AOR-W. I also noticed that when we sailed our 1993 passage San Francisco - Boston, we sailed down 126 degrees W longitude, and we're in somewhat familiar area today.

    Even though we're going across the seas, the boat is pounding as it goes off waves and crashes into the troughs. Some of these are absolutely bone jarring. Last night, when we gybed (easier than tacking, and more control) in the trough to go east, I went forward and bailed the forward compartments, 4 buckets from the forepeak, and had to use the bilge pump system to bail the sail locker amidships. Also, since I could still hear water sloshing in the compartment underneath the cockpit, and our two autopilot compasses are in there, I got the water out of there, not by going back and bailing in the lazerette, because that was far too dangerous and ineffective, but by draining the compartment into the main cabin. We have a small screw drain plug between the two compartments, and although it took a while to get comfortable with draining water into the cabin, it was the simplest. Good news is that the water stayed on one side of the centerline, and I could bail it into a bucket, pour that into the sink in the main cabin, and then pump it overboard. It was simpler, and we got 4 buckets out of the cockpit compartment.

    The scab from my eyebrow gash wound of December 26 finally came off today and the healing looks good. Thanks Dr. Brien Barnewolt for advice on that one. Had a shave to make me feel a bit better. Only 1 hour sleep last night though waiting for what might come in the trough, so pretty tired now.