We have just been through another big storm.  Or have we?  Wendo reckons we haven’t had a storm at all this trip yet – only fronts.  If it gusts at 100
miles per hour, that’s not a storm – it’s just windy!

This time I was on deck for some of it.  I was hoping that it would be the
other watch (is that wrong?), but unfortunately not.  We knew that there
was going to be a low front coming from about five days out, but the timing
kept changing.  It was originally meant to hit Monday morning, then it was
due at 6pm.  It actually started to build at around 5pm – I was due off
watch at 6pm.  Slowly the wind got stronger and stronger, and the waves got
higher and higher.  When I went off watch, I was hoping it would have
passed on through by the time I was due on in four hours time.
Not the case.  It was still blowing a gale when I struggled up the
companionway stairs.  But up the stairs I went this time – unaided I am
pleased to report.  It is really important to clip on before you go out of
the hatch in these conditions.  The wind is so strong, and the waves can
get you as soon as you stick your head up and over the side you can go.  I
do not want to be the one that the boat has to turn around and go back for
– if they ever find me!

I must admit, in these conditions I am as much use as a chocolate teapot.
More so than usual.
As soon as I have managed to climb up onto the high side, I am rooted to the spot.  Unless we have to do a manoeuvre and I have to force myself to get from where I am to where I need to be.  Slowly.  And usually by crawling along the bottom of the boat.

But sitting up on the high side last night brought more joy.  The waves
crashing over the side were so many and so strong, the bottom of the boat
filled up like a swimming pool.  It didn’t have time to drain before the
next one came in.  Most of the time the waves will hit your back, and as
long as you are holding on tight you don’t move.  But these were coming
from all sides.

One hit the side of my head – it was like being banged on the ear by a rolled up newspaper.

If I thought I was wet before, this was on a new level.  If I thought I was cold before, this was even colder. But by midnight, just as if someone waved a magic wand, the wind dropped and the waves lessened.  The sky cleared, and there was the most amazing sky full of stars.  But it was still cold!

One of my last minute purchases before I left home was a balaclava.  I have
never worn one before, but I am jolly glad I have it here.  It keeps my
ears warm, the front of my face warm, and it drys really quickly when it
gets damp.  I am now known as the Danang Ninja!
More like a bungling burglar I feel.  Most days I wear my sunglasses, more for protection from the wind, rain and waves rather than the sun.  With a balaclava and sunglasses I look as if I am trying to go incognito.  Not a lot of chance of not being recognised on here!  When the sun does come out, on the odd occasion, my sunglasses steam up.  So I can sit on the high side completely oblivious to what is going on.

We have now got the sun shining – one of those odd occasions – and the
spinnaker up again.  We will start the ocean sprint for this leg sometime
this evening – between 90 degrees and 95 degrees east longitude and around
230 miles.  I think the time to beat so far is about 18 hours.  We will do
our best!!

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