Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Yes, the tracker does not lie, I did come in at Albany on Tuesday afternoon after the most challenging sail I have had in my life. I caught the edge of the storms that hit Perth and had it classified a natural disaster zone. My weather forecasting did not predict these conditions, everyone was caught by surprise including me. It certainly tested myself and the boat. I managed to fix a few problems that had arisen. I had to get up on the foredeck three times to sort out knots in the jib sheets, they were that tight I had to pull them apart with my teeth. I started to make good ground after passing Cape Leeuwin. Then I found water in the side compartments that was sloshing out over the whole middle of the cabin. It was getting worse and I realised I would have to bite the bullet and go into Albany. And that is when the fun began! Basically I then had a three day slog into a 30 to 40 knot sou easterly, bashing into it all the way. Yet again Spirit proved to be a tough little ship, sometimes launching off waves and coming down with an absolute smash. The boat was constantly pounded by king waves going over the top. One particular wave felt like the boat was dropped from a 20 story building. As it fell I went airborne and was up against the ceiling of the cabin. I must have looked like spiderman! When the boat hit the bottom of the wave the jar was that hard that it smashed the toilet in the front of the boat and these conditions stayed the same all the way until I entered King George Sound at Albany. I was quite battered and bruised when I got in but no major damage. Darren, the shipwright at Emu Point in Albany, has successfully found a number of leaks in Spirit in both the deck and one of the water tanks and is able to seal them up. Luck was on my side in finding Darren, not only a world class shipwright but also a wealth of knowledge with thousands of sea miles of solo sailing under his belt. Because of Darren, the boat will actually be in a better condition than when I left Rockingham. Once a new toilet is installed she will be ready to go and I anticipate being able to continue the journey in around one to two weeks time, depending on a favourable weather pattern to get me safely to Hobart.