Day 69 High drama 9/11/13

 Nov 9 2013 roundingPosition: 48.04 S, 163.50 E

Just as I thought, it was quite a night. Ron’s weather reports are very good and help me a lot. Knowing what’s coming and when it’s coming helps me make good decisions. I work with the weather, instead of reacting to it after it has happened.

I hung on to the yankee with the pole out running downwind till midnight. Then the wind shifted from northeast 25k to northwest 25 so after rolling in the yankee to the forestay I released the topping lift, lowering the pole to just inside the pulpit, released the sheet and the down haul from the pole then went back to the mast and hoisted the pole up the mast and secured it to the deck. I rolled out the stay sail to port with the main still down. Rolling out the stay sail also requires setting the running back stay on the windward side. The back stay adds support in the opposite direction to the pull on the stay sail furling gear which is set about half way between the spreaders and the top of the mast.

I then take the back stay off the toe rail amidships and mount it on the aft toe rail and give it lots of tension through a block and tackle on the deck end. After it’s secure, I can safely roll out the stay sail. I think it is important to paint a picture of the scene on deck. It is pitch black, the wind is blowing 25-30 knots and there is a 3 metre breaking sea running. It’s difficult to stand up and difficult to see or get orientated in the blackness. I am completely suited up in rain gear and all you can see are my hands and a two inch strip across my eyes. I have a head light on and my safety harness and tether. After rolling out the staysail I find the furling line has jammed at the toe rail and there is so much tension on the stay sail I can not get it untied. While trying to figure out how to solve this problem there is a loud crack and the staysail starts to shake violently. The jib sheet car has come off the track on the deck! I have to think fast to get his sorted out. I decide to tack. But the running back stay needs to be switched if I’m going to do that. Meanwhile the sail is cracking like machine gun fire. Bang! Bang! Bang! I also have to figure out how to bring the boat around with little head way on. All the time I am talking to myself, “Take it easy, take it easy you can do this.” in a  voice as calm as possible. I manage to sort it all out and we get back on course after a supreme effort and many trips on hands and knees to the foredeck and back over the next hour and a half. I come below exhausted and wet. Off with the wet rain gear, stowed in the head, and back to my bunk.

I’m up two more times before dawn getting fully suited up each time before going on deck. Dawn has come and gone and I have had a cup of hot chocolate and radioed my position to Meri in Bluff on Fisherman’s radio. I ‘m going to make my oats now. There is still a gale blowing outside and the main halyard has taken it upon itself to drum out a constant rhythmic “rat-a-tat”, “rat-a- tat”, just to add a little more drama to the scene.

In the afternoon the sun’s come out so I have the hatch open and we’re in the process of drying out. I made myself a nice hot lunch, pancake and one scrambled egg with fried onions and a cup of special tea. Then I made my stew, washed the cabin sole and port lights and washed out the cotton cloths I used to do that, and then changed the dressing on my elbow. And now with another cup of special tea beside me I’m here typing this message.

I’ve been reading Alec Roses’s book My lively Lady about his trip around the world in 1964. He had a stuffed bear on board, whose name escapes me, but it became the other voice in his head who was constantly wanting to pull in everywhere and give up. He talks quite openly about it. I have to admit I have that same voice wanting to pull in and go home. I thought turning the corner and heading for Tasmania would have shut him up … I think it’s normal to have those thoughts. The size of this voyage is hard to put into perspective. 

Course 350 T Speed 4 knots Wind W 25 knots Waves W 3m Cloud 75% Temp 11 C Baro 1006 Miles in last 24 hrs: 105 nm 


  1. Bruce Cameron says

    Glenn, I have followed your journey for several weeks now and must say I am hooked on your postings. In a short while, the BC Lions play Sask., which is my biggest thrill of the day, I can not imagine the challenges you face on a regular basis along with the highs you must enjoy upon succeeding. Stay safe.

  2. Pat and Fred Lark says


    I found myself holding my breath while reading this post. Breathe Pat breathe. That is some serious sailing. Keeping your body, mind, and spirit in balance is going to be tricky with the drama and challenges ahead. But as I told a close friend recently who is fighting her own battle “Everything is going to be all right.” There is no doubt in our minds you are up for the challenge and a great captain.

    Pat and Fred

  3. Hi Glenn,
    Still enjoying your daily reports. Glad you got everything sorted out last night without damage or loss of gear.


  4. This all reminds me of a Star Trek: Voyager episode I saw years ago, where Captain Janeway had to single-handedly do battle with an attacking hoard of giant noro-viruses. At the end of the episode, she calmly sat having a nice cup of tea. (Trekkies will know the one I’m talking about) Amazing report! Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

    • MaryLou Wakefield says

      Thanks Lisa. Glenn will be amused at your comparison to a Star Trek episode and in a way his adventure has some similarities to exploring the unknown galaxies and doing battle with the forces “out there’ with the obvious difference of course, that this is real, not TV.
      Thanks for your interest! MaryLou

  5. Kathryn McCannell says

    Hi Glenn,

    We don’t know anything about sailing, but the process you describe of late night tasks involving jammed lines and shaking sails amidst wind and waves sounds VERY difficult – yet we know you’re the guy who can figure it out. And it sure is normal to have those thoughts of pulling in (speaking as a psychologist!). As you say, it’s a bit of a journey you’re on!! Hope you can hear all the 600 plus voices cheering you on, saying “Go Glenn!” Take care,

    Kathryn and Grant on St. Patrick

  6. Glenn:

    Your posts are much appreciated. I eagerly look forward to them. You write well about all your impressions including your feelings. You have a curious mind and appreciative spirit. It is a joy to live along, even from such a great distance. You fill me with admiration!

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