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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 82 - A tired skipper and boat

  • Jan
    30

    1926 utc, 45/53S  49/15W, 8.7knots @ 049T, staysail and 2 reefs in main, upwind, port tack, going into high. Studying multiple weather maps for when to tack to stay on the west side of the big low developing off the coast. If we tack to soon, we sit in the middle of a stalled trough; if we tack too late and get on the wrong side of the low, we wind up with very strong headwinds. Of course any decision is subject to the weather actually doing what the forecast says.

    So, thinking that if you tack too late, you can't make up the distance if the system has speeded up, we'll tack a bit earlier than appears to be optimal, so that if the system has sped up, we'll hopefully still be on the correct side. If it has slowed, we can always tack back to this side for a few hours. Anyway, these are hard decisions to make.

    Boat took a hammering last night again in big seas. I stayed up in the cockpit. It was like sitting up with a distraught friend, until figured I would fall asleep in the seat under the cuddy. If the boat took a big crashing lurch while I slept there, I'd go flying headfirst across the cockpit. Not a good idea. So I finally went below, sadly to leave my friend the boat to fight the fight on her own.

    In my studying of the weather with Jean-Yves Bernot last summer, I have in my notes a comment he made about getting to Cape Horn. He said the boat will be tired and you will be tired. He was spot on. I was watching the windcharger yesterday when it seemed different, then noticed the black gasket cushion upon which it sits on its pipe, working its way loose. Thirty seconds later, it fell out, leaving the windcharger wobbling on top of its pipe mount. I organized screws to screw in between as wedges, and they stayed in for about five minutes.

    While sitting aft on the blue platform, I noticed that the 3-lobed radar reflector was loose. It is bolted on. OK, I'll get to that later I said, and after I was finished for now with the windcharger, I forgot the radar reflector. This morning I remembered to tighten the reflector, and when I went to fix it, I saw that it was gone. I've been making these small mistakes for the last few weeks, and although I'm trying to be diligent always, I can't seem to get things completely correct each time I do them.