Day 18 Lazy Dawn's Ocean Passage 8/12

Thu 8 Dec 2005 18:44
Well, we're almost in the last 24 hours to go and have stayed under genoa since dousing the parasailor yesterday.While it has cost us some miles, we feel safety is paramount and the conditions are just too wild for a crew of three to manage the kite should it need to be dropped quickly. Unfortunately this means some nearby boats have slipped away and we have had to relinquish our 40.7 line honours position....for now!
Everyone is now looking forward to arriving and psyched up that tonight is the last night in the washing machine. Throughout the night the wind was 20-25 gusting 30+kts as we ran down the wind directly to St. Lucia. We're still finding it difficult to sleep in the confused seas as we get thrown about in the berths and the change in sea and sail plan has introduced new noises from halyard, gooseneck, kicker, sail, pots and pans, etc., which are magnified many times in the boat as it acts like a natural drum. Trying to maintain a stable sleeping position on the berth is a full gym workout, as muscles are working all night to try and prevent the motion of the boat bouncing you from side to side in the cabin. We get up feeling ready for 8 hours sleep!
Anyhow, a quietish day on Lazy, as befits her name, was what the doctor ordered, so that's what we've done. Chris was also feeling groggy from his exertions yesterday and was having some problems with his ears and sinuses, so the parasailor stays bagged and we run under genoa averaging nearly 8kts with peaks of 12.9 (that we've noticed RJ!). Thankfully Chris is feeling better now after some medication and has even dared suggest we change the genoa for the parasailor! We protest and Chris busies himself filling in the arrival declaration, ARC questionnaire and customs form.
The weather forecast said waves of 6-8ft, occasionally 8-10ft. As usual, the forecast is not right. Some massive rollers are developing now and we've seen waves at least 20ft peak to trough just feet from our stern. The horizon around us ranges from about 5 miles down to 30' when the whole boat is in a trough and skyscraper like walls of water surround us with breaking tops and spume heading straight at us. Fortunately Antony the Autohelm is coping, but looking out through the cockpit from below is quite an amazing sight as the boat yaws, rolls and pitches the sky and sea whip rapidly round 60 degrees and up and down 30 degrees, much like one of the stomach churning rides you find at a fair. We normally cope with the motion now, but sometimes not. Earlier today Chris lost his balance and was thrown across the cabin from chart table to galley where he squashed Jo into the cooker and crushed her shoulder. Jo's fine now, though her shoulder was complaining at the time and relocated itself with a loud click! We're now convincing ourselves the constant movement is excellent training for our skiing balance, as we compare it to the motion down a bumps run where one is constantly adjusting one's position to keep balance and stay on top of ones skis.
The waves themselves are quite mesmerising to watch and allow one's imagination to run riot. That is until a square one hits the boat in the aft quarter, breaks and sprays the whole of the cockpit with sea water soaking anyone foolish enough to not be keeping a good lookout. Sea water drenched clothes are not much fun as they itch uncomfortably and Chris and Peter are running out of dry underwear! Enough for Peter to do some handwashing yesterday of his own and Chris's!
The good news is that Chris and Jo have kissed and made up, the champagne is now in the fridge, ready for the finish line celebrations and Jo is making crepes for the last supper!
What, I hear? Time for the parasailor....