1105utc we are at 48/54S 115/53E, making 10 knots with staysail only, in 35-45 knots of wind, yet again. Distance covered last 24 hours: 216.6 nautical miles. Cannot in my memory now discern the different lows that have gone by, they just all blur together over about the last 4-5 days, and by the forecast, we have another 2 days of this to go. The staysail is mostly too much sail, the storm jib is right for the 45-50+, but too little for the 35. Very difficult. Big breaking seas that throw the boat around, and all the contents, including skipper, inside.
Have had 2 autopilot alarms today, very startling, very nervewracking. We have a fault somewhere in the windspeed sensor system. Fortunately, if sailing on a wind parameter, the pilot defaults to compass, and hopefully this will hold until the sailing instruments can get reset. This entails going into the cockpit, handsteering until you thiink you have a 5 second chance that the boat can steer on its own, then leaving he helm, leaping below, turning off the sailing instruments, leaping back to the cockpit and helm, giveing it 60 seconds off so that the computer in the system can recycle, then finding a smooth patch, leaping below, flipping the switch on, leaping back to the cockpit and helm, then hopeuflly the sensors all come back on. Very, very disconcerting.
Today Jonny called and later Derek, and 20 seconds into each conversation the alarm went off. Coincidence with the Iridium? But this is same Iridium as used for radio vacances, etc., and so far hasn’t happened, and the alarm has gone off when not on the Iridium. Mystery.
Checked the stern compartment where the autpilot rams are today. Needed to crawl back through the boat, very cramped, and luckily only a bucket of water in there, compared to the 8 buckets i took out of forward compartments yesterday.
Everybody’s nervous here in our pack, we’re in survival mode.
Last night, thinking that the grib file showing 30 knots might be correct, i set the 3rd reef in the main, a very difficult maneuver downwind, entaileld sailing upwind into 20 foot seas with the storm jib so the mainsail would flag away from the mast, and so i could try to hoist it through the lazy jacks, took an hour, then, instead of 30 knots we had 40-45, too much for the pilot, a horrendous night, stayed at the chart table ready for broach, very cold and wet, and got chilled, eventually, took down 3rd reef, have to sail into seas again, took down storm jib, for a few minutes we were going 6.5 knots under bare poles, no sail, then rolled out staysail, and took off again.
Somewhere in all that managed to have a wondrous conversation with two of my sisters who were with my mother, and my mother. Very emotional. Very difficult to be so far from home. I can’t wait to see them all again.