Friday, April 14, 2006

Meanwhile, off the coast of Japan...

(Sunday 4/16 note - This picture was sent to the Brian's-friends list today, and was taken during the storm he wrote about below - that's him at the helm. Salty enough?)
Bonnie's note: This just in from Brian's wowwow wow wow wooooooow! WOW!!!! I am rendered wordless. Fortunately Brian's got a few to make up for my lack!

Day 527: Did someone say “beatings?”

I’m actually not sure how long this has been going on now. I think
we’ve been in the roughest stuff for at least 18 hours, with fairly
rough weather for the past 24 (or more?).

Yesterday after lunch I went to my bunk to try to sleep, but found that
sleep was impossible. The angle of heel made it uncomfortable, even
after trying to level my bunk. Plus the side to side and lurching
motion, combined with the stomach-turning, freefalls as the boat topped
a wave. So, I was lying there, listening to the howling winds, and the
machine-gunning of the spray across the foredeck, imagining what it
must be like topsides. Foolish me, I decided to get dressed and look.

I got up on deck just as the on watch was putting in a third reef in
the main. The waves looked ferocious – all nasty churning gray,
streaked with white foam, maybe 10-15 ft high. I should have stayed
below. Anyway, with half an hour till I had to be on watch, I stayed
on deck, going up to the foredeck to help bring down the Yankee 3.

When my watch came on deck, it was me, Tom and Jenn. Jenn and I went
forward to lash the sails down more securely. With our lifelines
clipped to the jackstay, we crawled on hands and knees up to the
foredeck in 40kts true wind, 45kts apparent. Once up there it was like
swimming, what with all the water coming over the bow. Anyway, we
managed to get the sails secured, then crawled back to the cockpit.
Occasional waves would wallop us, and the spray would sting like
bullets or razor blades where it hit exposed skin.

At 9pm we came off watch for dinner, which I was unable to eat.
Seasickness finally hit me. For the first few days I wore one of those
patches, but when it came off, I went without. We had some fairly
lumpy seas after that, and although I felt queasy, I did not get sick.
Yesterday was just too much, I think. More the stress of being in
these waves and trying to work on the foredeck than anything else.

The rest of the night was more of the same. To bed in wet clothes,
trying to dry them by body heat in my sleeping bag. 2 ½ hours later,
back into wet socks, boots, oilies and up on deck to face 15-20 ft
waves. An hour or so on deck, then down to the saloon while the next
shift went up. Trying to sleep on the saloon floor. Back to bed in
wet clothes, and the whole cycle starts again. I’m not even sure how
many times I’ve done this now. It gets old really fast. The days blur.
The beatings continue.

Still off the coast of Japan
4151nm to Victoria

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