The wind died by 5 knots: seemingly not a lot, but enough to cause yet another sail change! Grrrrrrr………!!!

I received a bit of a shock on peering out the starboard pilot house window this particular morning.

Roughly a mile from us, in between the swells was a 200 metre long oil tanker quietly sliding past. During the night hours, the continuous radar alarm blips caused by small breaking waves entering the safe zone perimeter had driven Bob crazy, so he had turn down the gain in order to receive some peace and quiet: hence the reason we missed an early sighting.

Below in the galley preparing a much required coffee, the poor guy received quite a shock when I called down to him:

‘There’s a ship just metres away!’

Dropping everything, he raced up the steps – oh, to see him move!!!!

Espying the ship, to be a safe distance his exasperated response was, ‘Don’t do that to me!!!!!’

Unbeknown to myself, the simple phrase one would use on land had been perceived by Bob as ‘collision course, impact imminent’.

Lesson learnt: beware the phraseology one uses on a boat.

This was the day Bob took out the text, ‘Ocean Passages of the World’. The bible for climactic charts, trading routes and ocean currents distribution, it was from here that we determined the passing ship was South Africa bound from Asia.

With the winds now a steady south easterly, it had been a god send not having to set the various sail combinations. By the conclusion of Tuesday, the constant repetition of doing so had exhausted us and even though I was relegated the lightest of duties my body was wracked with pain. The following few days gave one the opportunity to recuperate to some degree. Having the time to sit, relax, read and listen to music was a real boon.

Recipe for Prevention of Muscle Tension:

  •          Rest on a base and use both hands.
  •         Using electric winch, sit on cockpit combing with drill positioned across               the stomach.
  •         Winching almost completed: turn to low speed and use short bursts of                power.
  •         For opening jammers at low levels, use the feet.
  •         Whilst legs are handy for providing the impetus required in moving from               one level to another
  •         Stretching exercises are a must:

                        Stretch to the right

                        Stretch to the left

                        Stretch up high

                        Stretch down low

                       Relax those muscles, go, go, go!

  •          Massage with eucalyptus and peppermint oil at the conclusion of each                session.
  •          Place hot heat pack on the muscles in question to continue the releasing            process.
  •         Complete the day with a ‘Nature’s Own’ Complete Sleep Calming Hot Drink.

14:00, the half – way point came and went. A silent sigh swept through us.

Swells had levelled and the uncomfortable cross swells significantly reduced, thereby making for a much smoother ride: the rocking and rolling had become quite monotonous!!! As our eyes gazed forth the seas were such that, as one would ascend an escalator, Gratis appeared to be climbing a rolling mountain. For the first time since departing Carnarvon, she had taken on her plodding gait.