It's hard work in the calms too!
Since that storm conditions in the South Indian Ocean have been more kindly, but that can cause problems too as Mark Slats reported today.
“The last 14-15 days have been the heaviest so far. Everyone thinks that the storms are heavy, but the calms are much heavier. Its much more work. It all started just around 30 September; the wind left but there was still a lot of sea. After 3 days the sea was flatter, but when you sail with your spinnaker up you are busy day and night.
Just before this, I went into the water to clean the bottom of my boat. I was surprised how many barnacles were attached to the bottom. First I scraped the boat with a filling knife, then with sandpaper before finishing with a scourer. I came out of the water like an ice cube and set up the spinnaker. I flew it for 100 hours. So I have not slept for 100 hours, just naps of fifteen minutes.
I have also become kind of scientist. There were all kinds of jellyfish around the boat. Very special. In the calms I suddenly had a whale next to the boat, really super cool. He just came to take a quick glance and then left again.
Now I have NE wind. Sailing close hauled is boring. The boat comes loose and then it falls down again. Sleeping is very difficult because I am woken up by the waves. Sometimes it quiet for 15 minutes but then you have waves again and the boat comes loose again.
I can tell you, ‘things are not for free’ this moment of the race. It’s annoying. Fortunately, I make progress. I am not going that fast, but, I make an average of 5 knots. I sailed for 5 days close hauled. Yesterday the wind turned to the East 5 knots, almost no wind, then to the North, then back to the West. For the first time in 15-16 days I’ve very good wind now. I don’t know for how long. I do have south wind now, I am sailing half wind. I do 5 knots; it’s super nice.
A low-pressure system has passed over me. That gave a lot of rain last night; I was busy all night with jerry cans and buckets catching 70 litres of water. It's nice to be able to drink just a little bit more. I even took the luxury this morning of brushing my teeth with fresh water – something I have not been able to do since the Atlantic.
I do not look forward to the Hobart [film drop]. I would rather have just sailed through. It may sound strange, but I am here in my own world. It sounds very weird but it makes sense to just continue. But then I do not have a map of Hobart any more, so that will be exciting!”