Saturday 24th October

12:30 GMT – Forecast, SE 15/18/21. That’s a strong wind at 21. As I said last night the calm wouldn’t last and it didn’t. The wind picked up quick, I managed to drift a bit more without loosing any south but that didn’t last long either. I put the para anchor out about 09:30 and that held our ground. The boat is gyrating quite violently, so another night with virtually no sleep. I need to eat breakfast and see if I can add to our tiny drift.

15:00 GMT – Well back on para anchor, took me ages to decide to pull it. The swell was big and even on anchor I’m getting water over the side in large amounts. Quite often things seem worse when your on para anchor because your head on into the wind, holding against it and bouncing up and down. Sometimes when you turn with the weather it can seem quite calm. The trouble is that the weather is going NW, the wind is moving about but mainly 150° ish, so low SE. I pull in the anchor and survived the side on unscathed. Get to the oars and start rowing. Normally takes a few minutes fiddling with the rudder and then I can hold course with the oars. I was still loosing ground north whatever I did, one armed rowing, two armed rowing with more rudder, nothing would hold. I waited for the wind fluctuations to get back the loss, I got the odd thousandth but overall I was going north too quickly. I was desperate not to quit as once the time goes that’s it, it’s gone and you have a short day. But eventually I gave in and did the sensible thing. I need the wind to go a bit higher before I try again. The bad news is the wind is forecast to get stronger, although I think it’s definitely over 20 already.

20:00 GMT – I have managed to add a couple of miles but it’s proving really challenging today. I think this morning was the end of a squall as it was a big powerful swell pushed by a stronger than forecast wind. It was a little easier when I started again at 16:00 but it’s now picked up to 21 knots and is a struggle. Just hanging on to the south I have so going due west really. I have added 0.25nm of south but it means nothing really. I’m back on para anchor so I can eat and put sun tan cream on and see what I can do in the remaining hours of the day. The wind is supposed to ease about now and the angle is good at times, just so strong it’s hard to get anywhere.

05:30 GMT – Well what an afternoon, 7 hours with just a quick water top up break. The wind did eventually ease a little but picked up again and is all of the forecast 18 knots at least. The wind has occasionally moved up and I managed a whole new mile south. I’ve passed back and forth again over 10°02 about 4 or 5 times and the same with 10° 03. I’ve done 25 miles again today which is obviously not good enough but it’s difficult to argue with 21 knots of Pacific wind and swell. Because the wind keeps moving it’s creating a multiple directional big swell and hardly any of it going my way. So I’m rowing tight up to the wind and my wind indicator has been at 90° to the boat all day. If the wind moved up, I stayed tight to it trying to do better than 270°. At end of day, my 24 hour course made good was 266°, not good either. The problem with rowing close to the wind is your square on to much of the swell, any breaking water as you side step over ends up in the boat and frequently over me. The water evaporates and leaves the salt, not comfortable at all, can’t wash it off though or my sun tan cream will go to and I don’t have enough for more than one application a day.

The one bit of positive is that this afternoon I started to pick up more areas of smooth rowing. They would be followed by a tough patch but my mile times came down to 30 minutes, 2 knots. I only had 10 miles banked when I went out, so the final 15 came from that 7 hours. Hopefully that gets better tomorrow to. I might be reaching the edge of whatever molasses I’ve been rowing through. I’m on para anchor again as the wind direction is ok to drift but the swell is too big, it side swipes the boat and skews it NW. So another flat start for tomorrow.

Any other news:

Cairns is 2288nm away,

Vanuatu is 1035nm away.

Heading to Vanuatu 241°3, that’s half a degree less than yesterday, need to hold my course.

25 days to get to Vanuatu, I need 41.4 a day. I need to get a move on.

The forecast tomorrow is SE 15/18 until 15:00 then ESE/SE 15/12 so might have a better chance tomorrow.

Had quite a large squid on the boat this morning, not sure how he got there. I’ve had a few, didn’t realise they jumped out of the water.

So just a quick bit to finish. When I’ve finished this rowing adventure I will get back to my running. Not sure how that will go though. After the Atlantic trip I had lost a bit of weight, and was nearly back to my youthful (can you call your 20/30s youth?) 132 pounds racing weight. I thought great, might even do a couple of 5k’s. I even snuck out on the first morning on land as believe it or not I woke up early. That ended in a walk though because I hadn’t taken into consideration my sea legs expecting the ground to move. I’d run a few steps and then nearly fall over. Anyway the bigger problem was when I started going out again, every time I got to a hill I had no strength, my running muscles had vanished and been replaced with rowing muscles. How I will cope this time I don’t know as I can see a massive change in the make up of my thighs and calves. Will be interesting to see me climb out of this boat for sure.

That’s it for now.

John

Out
Notes:

Colin: A boat will come out to me, I forgot to renew my membership with international rescue and don’t forget I’m self financed.

Mike: This chap sounds like he’s related Mike, best heed his advice.

Brian: I’m trying Brian , I need some big scores but with wind like this it’s a challenge.