The last time I was at Cape Leeuwin was about 7 years ago. The sun was shinning, there was a gentle breeze blowing and I was just a tourist. If anyone had told me that one day I would pass the point where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet in a racing yacht during a full gale I would never have believed them, but here I am!
Our sail down the west coast of Australia has given us almost everything in 48 hours…
For the first few hours we had sight of all the other boats and in the beautiful sunshine our gorgeous yachts looked amazing – we really are so lucky to sail on such beautiful boats, especially when seen under a full double rainbow just after a shower this morning. Singapore and us have been playing a game of cat and mouse for most of the journey, it’s an enjoyable sport passing them and having a bit of banter on the radio. As I type we have just overtaken both Singapore and Quingdao.
The first night back at sea brought calm seas and clear skies however they didn’t last long and during this morning the swell began to build and the breeze picked up, the boat began heeling more and some leggers’ stomachs began to turn. Throughout the late afternoon and all through the night we have been sailing in a full gale which has seen waves not only crashing over the bow but the whole deck. Without exception everyone is in very wet foulies and bracing each time a wave hits the boat. It is a bit chilly but not too bad so far, so in that respect we are quite lucky. We have had a few instances of people being washed around by waves but our safety lines have done the job well and we’re all fine, just a few bruises. I had an oscar winning dive from one side of the boat to the other, thanks to my 2 safety lines I’m fine. The sail changes have been exciting as the bow becomes submerged in a wave and the snakepit sits full of knee deep water. On the ‘Neeps’ watch our new bow lady, Sarah, has been doing a fabulous job getting stuck in on the bow, being soaked and bounced up and down. I’m not sure whether Shaggy, who is usually at the bow, is at a bit of a loss as to what to do now or if he’s enjoying the respite? I’m back in my usual place in the snakepit (wading through the water!) and we have our helming stars Baz, Rich (aka Tring) and Scarlet (Nick B) negotiating the waves. We’ve had a few eventful watches making sail changes to cope with the wind and are currently sailing under a main with 3 reefs, a staysail and a stormsail and we’re still doing 12 knots (for those with no boat knowledge – that’s not much sail and we’re still moving very quickly).
To keep us perked up through the second night at sea we’ve had a moonbow (rainbow but at night, all the same silver colour) and some fabulous stars. Given that this has all been in the first 36 to 48 hours I wonder what tomorrow will bring?