Friday November 24th, 2000

Location

Approx 2200 sailing miles to Cape Horn

Latitude

48.025S

Longitude

126.10W

Course

100/110 deg True

Wind

WSW 20 knots

Sea

Rough but easing

Air temp

3 deg C overnight, 7 deg C daytime

Sea temp

5 deg C

Barometer

1000 mbs


0700 hours. A very squally afternoon yesterday with the gusts of wind whipping the tops of the waves into froth and foam underneath the black rain and snow clouds that marched at us out of the south-west. The big swells with white breaking tops reached an impressive size, coming through in brackets of 3 or 4 enormous ones in succession that towered way above the stern like large moving hills. Seamaster was at a 30 degree downward slide at times. We were grateful to be on this vessel with her good manners. The air temperature plummeted in the squalls of up to 45 knots and for the first time it was cold on deck. To go on deck was to wear full wet weather gear and to make sure that your safety harness was attached. The tops of the waves continually slopped right over the cabin and during the night, when Ollie was having a look outside in the cockpit, a wave came right through and collected him and the cockpit cushions and deposited them together in the corner. It was a good lesson to clip on at all times, even in the cockpit.

By early morning stars began to appear between squalls that gradually lessoned in intensity and a fine night developed. We watched as the faint glow of the sun travelled along the southern horizon then gave us a dawn at 3am. This is too early so today the clocks are going to be moved ahead again, with the onboard time of 2pm becoming 3pm. This means that I get a shorter watch this afternoon.

0830: It’s cloudy again but we hope to be under full sail by lunch time if the waves continue to decrease in height. Our weather forecast is for gradually lighter winds that should last for the next 3 days or so. This will be welcome as it will allow for a more normal life onboard, instead of having to “hang on” all the time.

Life onboard: Well, the Southern Ocean Masquerade Ball (party, really), went off well last night – the only ones not taking part being Ollie and me who stayed in our full on-deck gear ready for action if necessary. The attached photos will give some idea of the time that some of the crew put in to make it a success. Where Roger (Alistair’s Dad) found the blond wig, we are not sure, and his explanations leave some doubt. But Sean took the prize with his Fred Dagg impersonation right down to the chainsaw (that set the engine room fire alarm going) and the 2 sheep made from two rolled-up woollen under-blankets. He earned himself a night in his bunk. Tracey excelled with the meal – a real feast of the best bits and pieces. Michael came as Batman. Roger was Batman’s “friend”. Janot dressed up as an old fisherman and carried a large, blue, letter C made from cardboard, on a string: The Old Man And The Sea (C). Alistair looked good in a toga. Tracey put on a huge amount of weight (cushions) and wore a mask like the cook out of Southpark. Trevor looked like a gentleman farmer (but says he meant to look like a “bit of a dick”). Rabbit… well, he covered himself with weather maps and bits of string and false scrabble score sheets (he won, yesterday, and hasn’t stopped gloating about it since to anyone who will listen) and came along as a weather man (in his fur slippers).