Friday 20th November
13:30 – Forecast – SE 18-15-18-21, the wind was supposed to blow at 21 knots last night but don’t think it got there. Still windy though and the swell is full of power and battering the boat. Consequently I only got about 3 hours sleep. Drifted about the same as yesterday however if I can do 10 miles or so at 270° I’ll be able to do 285° all the way to the pass and that’s a much stronger angle to take advantage of the SE conditions. 50 will be a stretch but it’s not impossible. I’ll have a better idea after the first pre dawn session. Either way I’ll be close enough to make it by dawn in the morning, latest I hope.
Shoulder seems a little better this morning so that’s positive. I do know from the way the swell is hitting the boat it’s going to be wet on deck for sure, not looking forward to that.
18:00 GMT – Well that’s the most frustrating start to a day for a while. Great wind, 20 knots, perfect angle for the course I require, good swell in our direction and I’m crawling along. I should be doing 17/18 minute miles but struggling to keep it under 30 minutes. There’s a strong current holding everything back. I just can’t seem to catch a break. That’s going to steal half a day from me. I’ve been soaked a couple of dozen times, funny how when the boat is moving fast it doesn’t bother me, when it’s slow, it drives me crazy and at rest the boat movement with the swell fighting the current is atrocious. Anything needing more than one hand leaves you vulnerable as I’ve cracked my head against the cabin wall twice in the last 10 minutes because we have yawed so violently.
Not a lot I can do but grind on and hope to fall out of the current. The wind is lightening for a couple of hours so I hope the strong stuff returns as forecast or the day could get worse.
06:00 GMT – Got to keep this short as I need some rest. I’m 30nm short of the first waypoint which I was supposed to get within 15/20nm, drift tonight and then row that last 10 or however many miles I needed. Today has not gone to plan, last nights drift was strange and that was because there was current at play. When I started this morning I knew straight away I was in trouble. In my 18:45 session the current was worse if anything, I was still struggling to do 2 knots and the SE wind today was much lower than yesterday. I’ve rowed all day at 90° to the wind. This morning I was 30° above course to make course over ground because of a southern current and this afternoon 30° below wasn’t enough. It appears the current is NNW and I know this because I’m on para anchor at the moment. With a SSE wind blowing at 18 knots and NNW current I stood no chance. The current plan is the wind is supposed to ease in the next 5 hours, I wait for that, get up at 11pm local time, row from midnight until I meet Tony. He’d like me there by noon but 30nm in 12 hours needs 2.5 knots, no stops and if I can’t make 2.5 knots it could be 15 hours. All a bit of a nightmare.
So I’m going to turn in and report tomorrow.
Oh I should mention, my back and shoulder has not improved and think I messed it up good today. Will see how it goes tomorrow.
Note from Editor:
A few images for you today. (a) Maewo Island which John will be passing north west of (b) A screen shot showing you where John is and where he is heading for.
Geoff: At least they have competed. Thanks Geoff.
Mike G: Thanks Mike, hope the nuts get me there.
Brian: The loo rolls are just incase, I’m actually well stocked with them from the beginning of the trip. 1320 to go at the moment Brian.