Crew diary – Race across the South Atlantic Ocean – day 9

31st October 2019 – Race day 9 – Halloween horror show

This bucket list item is being well and truly ticked. I am witnessing waves nearly 10 meters high with winds of 60 Knots!  

Epic waves all around us.
We are constantly checking and adjusting the Vang and Topping Lift to take some power out of the sails to prevent us broaching but sometimes it can’t be stopped.
This basically means we are balancing speed and progress (we are in a race) vs rolling the boat sideways!

It’s a crazy moment when you see the toe rail disappear into the waves and you have part of the deck submerged.
The mast almost goes in the water. Then you start counting as you would in a thunderstorm waiting for the weight of the Keel to bring the boat back upright.  

I’ve been washed out a few times by waves crashing over the deck and trying to sweep you away but it’s all part of experiencing the force of nature.

My kit is holding up really well.  I’m warm and my base layers are amazingly dry (apart from sweat).

Jeronimo and Ryan are both having to control the same helm at the same time because of how much water force it is going over the Rudder.
The strain on their faces is incredible and they are still managing to surf waves at the equivalent of 30mph!  

A huge wave crashed over the side of the boat and swamped the deck and sweeping Sophia down the deck with it!
Thankfully she was tethered correctly but she did hurt her back on a winch as the water carried her down the deck. 
So, we are now one crew member down as she can no longer move without being in pain. Andrew our onboard medic is checking what pain meds we have to help her out.  

From about 20 seconds in you can see us catch and surf a huge wave then pitch and roll as we hit the trough which causes the Bow to dig in as we hit another wave which rolls down the deck sweeping Sofia along with it.

Even with a reduced sail plan, the boat is hard to control so Jeronimo orders us to collect all of the spare sheets and lines (ropes) and bring them to the stern (back of the boat).
We then tied them on to the strong points of the stern to allow them to drag behind us.

This is to create drag and slow the boat down as well as helping the helm maintain course. We must have had 15 lines weighing over 200kg dragging 200m behind us and still, the boat was hard to helm and control.

On the dawn watch, the storm had started to lose some power so Nige and I stared the task of pulling each freezing, soaking line in by hand. I think it took us 3 hours!
Not made any easier by the fact they had dreadlocked around one another, but we got it done.  

Ale, Clara and Sadie untangled the bowl of spaghetti that our lines had become, and we got them separated and stowed away correctly. 
Now we are back to racing instead of surviving.  

It’s been wet and wild, and I have loved it. This is what I have signed up for, truly epic.  

We cancelled happy hour today as it was too rough but Mary on Mother duty with Ale made some great food despite the conditions. Including the best bread so far and a spooky scream inspired cake.  

Although Mary has basically cut her finger off but she’s too hard to notice lol.  

I am thoroughly knackered so my bunk is welcome and surprisingly comfortable considering what it is going on outside. 

Epic just Epic!  

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