Day 83 Great Australian Bight 23/11/13

Nov 23 Great Australian Bight

Position: 41.47 S, 132.18 E

It is 08:00 on Day 83 aboard the good ship West Wind II. It is a grey morning with the familiar quilt resting just above the top of the mast from horizon to horizon. It is not a warm quilt like the one I sleep beneath. The wind is coming lightly over our stern at 5 – 10 knots just enough to fill our poled-out jib and make a respectable 4.5 knots. The sea is running at 1-1.5 metres and if the main were set would shake it. We have a gentle roll about us that shifts things below at every swing of the pendulum. There is the sound of water swishing by that is typical when running before the wind. It’s 12 degrees C below and a small drop of moisture has formed on my mustache. I have two layers of fleece on along with my ‘Cowichan’ toque. I clench my fists under my arm pits to keep the circulation going. There is a draft through the boat that I can feel on my face ( the part that’s not covered with my grey beard).

I’ve just had a wonderful belly warming and heart warming cup of sweet Earl Grey tea and I will soon make a steaming pot of ‘Only Oats’. The log has been filled and our night progress plotted on the chart. The gracious winds that have come from the top of the High, that sits in the Great Australian Bight these last five days, have brought us many hundreds of miles along at a very pleasant point of sail. The wind is expected to come from the North for the next day or so which is off our starboard beam. I will head on a course of 260 T for as long as it continues to blow. Ron has forecast a short calm and then a westerly which will put us on a port tack up towards 40 degrees South.

Watch a short aerial video of the Great Australian Bight by Rob Thompson, Aerial Video Australia.

I was on deck last night at around 03:00 to take down the main and swing the jib and pole over to port as the wind shifted from SE  to E and then climbed back into my nice warm sheepskin quilt. Although the grey quilt above totally blocks the sun, the two 80-watt solar panels are busy making it possible for me to type this message on my computer. I clean the panels every morning and thank them for the great job they are doing keeping me connected. The wind generator on the other hand, just spins. It’s just along for the ride from here on, unless….

Most days in the last week have started out grey but as they wear on, become brighter. I’m hoping the North wind will be warm and the sky bright. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a star filled sky.

Course 245 T Speed 5.5 kts Wind NE 10-15 kts Waves 1-1.5 M Cloud 100% Temp Outside: 12 C Inside: 14.2 C Baro 1021 NM in last 24hrs: 132 nm Volts 13.14


  1. steve sonneveld says

    Has anyone suggested taking the wind generator down completely and looking inside? It may just be a loose connection from coils to rectifier. May even be able to bypass one diode on rectifier and still get partial direct current. I’m sure better heads than mine thought about it but that’s what I would try before giving up on it. Steve

    • Doug Westlake says

      I follow your journey with interest , Glenn. I check up on you every week or so and happy to see your progress and wish you well. Take care my friend…… Doug Westlake (Hajim) sends.

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