HAPPY NEW YEARS
LAT 08 29.9S
LONG 155 02.2E
ETA 14 JAN 2012
WEATHER LIGHT AND VARIABLE, CLOUD 2/8 CAOTIC, 1002.5
For the past day we have been sailing in near perfect sailing conditions with a perfect breeze from the north blowing us along at a good 6 kts in the right direction. It has been almost like a dream run and I have been saying to all onboard how lucky we are to have this wind as we sail up through the Solomon Sea and past the Laghlan virtual mark to port. The area we are sailing through it is so beautiful some times you need to close your eyes and remember where you are, and then we are quickly reminded, as the wind shuts down completely and the familiar crack crack, crack crack of the main flapping across the boat in 0kts of wind and the random swell – we are near the equator in the doldrums, that’s where we are!
Left in the sweltering mid day sun at 8 degrees south with no wind is extremely hot. There is no option of wearing no shoes on deck as bare feet burn to the deck. We are all drinking about 8L of water per day plus washing, and sunscreen does not seem enough to stop the suns harsh rays on our skin so t-shirts and hats are a must. Today at mid-day, being new years eve we had planned to have champaign, but it was so hot this has been postponed till later in the evening when it cools down. Instead, as the boat speed was 0kts, we jumped into the water for a quick swim. The luke warm water is like paradise, and a nice small cold bucket of water washes the salt off nicely to complete the evolution.
With no wind and no boat speed today I decided to drop the mainsail and undertake some maintenance by replacing the top two batons that had been lost or destroyed since the start of the race during the strong winds. The top batten had clearly snapped itself in half and the inner peice that had snapped off proved impossible to remove without unpicking the sail, therefore we placed another baton in the pocket alongside it to support it and hopefully prevent damage to the mainsail before we can repair it ashore.
During the calm conditions we have also made a wind scoop for the front hatch to try to funnel what wind we can down into the ghetto. This scoop will probably come in very handy for the remainder of the race in the NE trade winds once we reach them.
The good conditions (up until midday today) has allowed perfect training conditions so Gold Coast Sailing Academy has been in full swing as everybody onboard gets lessons and lots of practice helming and trimming. Everybody onboard is doing remarkably well.
With any luck the wind will come back to us this afternoon and we can bring in the New Year in style. Gold Coast Australia has a new years resolution, and its very yellow. HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERBODY! WHOOP WHOOP!!!