Wednesday, 16 September 2009

4025N 01002W 674 miles

What a night! gusty 30 - 35 kts and big following sea. About 15 ships overtook us, some very close indeed. Big waves seem to come in groups of about 5 or 6 very closely spaced very steep faced 5ish metre waves with the first one breaking and the next about to break. Because we are going much more slowly than the waves, Berri rides up them, in effect, backwards and they tower above her stern and then she slides over the top, more or less straight and meets the second. If the second one breaks, it's the one that usually makes things difficult and slews the stern around and confuses poor old Kevvo with a false apparent wind. There's a long express train roar and the cockpit is obliterated by rushing crashing water - and so it goes for the rest of the wave train. But at night, with phosphorescence it's magnificent - and scary - it's like surfing down the face of a giant living boiling neon tube. Sometimes with an incandescent rooster tail from the bow to the cockpit. All under a lovely clear sky with the waning crescent moon and Venus at about 15 deg on the E horizon, Orion high above Sirius to the S and the Great Bear and the Pole to the N. For the first time I can remember, I watched the Great Bear turn its half circle and end up upside down...

We're averaging nearly 170 miles a day - huge for Berri but when you consider that the 24 hr record is now about 900 miles, rather ordinary by world standards! Wind due to ease a bit today so perhaps 2 days to C. St Vincent and 2 more to Gib

Impossible to keep the inside dry in these conditions - we have the storm boards in, but at every watch change we bring in litres of water on our gear and B is so small there's nowhere to isolate this from the rest of the boat. So everything is clammy. Erk!

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