Day 10 | The one where we get no sleep

Wed 5 Dec 2018 22:02
18 08.010N 045 28.324W @ 1300hr 5/12/2018
Daily Run: 197nm 
Tune of the day: "Cloudburst" by Eric Whitacre
Throughout the afternoon, the sun beat down on the Theia aggressively. Spending too much time on deck was leading all the crew to feel fatigued, so what we all desperately needed was some shelter and a good night sleep. A dinner of Fish and Chorizo pie filled hungry stomachs and we all prepared for what we thought would be a pretty standard night at sea.
The first round of watches went without a hitch.  The night sky was very dark as the moon is now its its last phase and almost completely dark as we approach the new moon in a couple of days time.  Nevertheless, the evening was fairly enjoyable as Theia progressed at good pace in steady winds. Then after midnight, with Minkey on watch, the wind speed dropped. With the sea states still lumpy, the wind direction started to shift erratically causing the rig to shudder with every change. After the wind passing through 360 degrees a few times and the temperature rising, in came the rain. Light at first, then a torrential down pour, of biblical proportions, drenched Minkey (and now Ben, who'd be called on deck) for 30 seconds. The temperature plummeted, the wind increased for a few minutes.... and then nothing.  Everything returned to how it was before. It was almost like we were experiencing the passing of a cold front, but what normally takes a few hours, was all done in about 30mins. The same pattern continued for the rest of the night, driving the crew insane and requiring multiple changes of jackets after previous coats became wet through.
It became the night of nights....The sea was a mess, every wave threw the boat in a different direction and even when off watch and in the dryness of the cabin, proper rest was impossible. Iain, now completely adjusted to life at sea, slept through it all and work up in the morning wondering what all the fuss was about.
The sun rose, and we assessed damage of the previous night. We faired quite well.  Our only damage was a broken reefing line (a rope used to shorten the main sail in high winds).  Our already weakened vang and gooseneck fittings appeared to have withstood the night's violence, which is a tribute to Iain's Aruldite application skills and several large pieces of dyneema rope which he has tensioned around the mast with super-human strength.  So, ever the hardy former tall ship skipper, Ben volunteered to crawl along the length of the boom and fix the broken line. In true Theia-style, he did this while we continued to sail at full speed - and with good reason. The ferocious night had - for the first time - put us within visual distance of another yacht who, at the time of writing, are are marginally ahead of us in our division.
With the reefing line fixed, we gybed away from the other yacht (we aren't going to beat them by following them) and once out of view hoisted our purple spinnaker "Prince" in the hope its extra power will help power us up so we can press on with better speed towards the finish line. To be continued...
Otherwise, life on board continues.  Mark and Ben have successfully completed another day of celestial navigation and have now refined their findings - we are able to confirm that we are still in the North Atlantic and are further west than we were yesterday.  The Justice League Advent Calendar continued to disappoint - today being another rabbit dropping with, what looked like a bell stamped on it - and Minkey continued to work on his tan.  After a little too much sun yesterday, Iain ended the day with a face looking like a slapped bottom and today smothered himself in factor 50 and wore a tea towel on his head all day.  Each to his own ... 
Theia Crew
Today's "firsts" for Iain
- Sleeping through a very lumpy night.  How, on earth, did he manage that?
Daily Stats
Max boat speed: 13.7kts
Dolphins spotted: 3
Whales Spotted:  No further sign of Boris
Gybes: 0
Flying Fish on deck: 5
Buckets of vomit: 0

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