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Lord Howe Island - New Year 1993
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26th December 1993

Daylight arrived very quickly, Colin was also due to arrive at 5:00. He turned up well before time and actually got us out of bed, however Ian couldn’t quite manage the same result.

We rang him and he was still asleep, it was decided that it would be quicker to pick him up at a wharf down near Coal Point on the way. We set off with Glenn throwing me a bottle of champagne at the last minute. It was a loss that Glenn didn’t come with us. We picked Ian up and made the bridge in plenty of time. Sandra and Josh, my mum and her mum and dad were at Swansea Bridge to wave us on our way. It was a bit sobering to see them and realise what we were going to do.

We cleared the heads and headed straight out to sea. The morning was fairly casual.
 
There was hardly any breeze so we motored until mid morning. Jodi had brought her fishing rod and proceeded to set her self up to catch us dinner. After the activity of the previous day I just layed on the side deck and fell asleep. In the afternoon the land was starting to fade away in the distance and Jodi started to get sea sick. In truth I was feeling a bit queasy myself but I wasn’t going to let it get to me so I kept busy and stayed up on deck. Not so Jodi. We gave her our best advice about eating something and sitting upright facing the way we were travelling but she did the exact opposite and the spewing started.

At one stage we were about 50 miles off the coast and I heard a load engine approaching.
I looked and on the horizon was a game fish boat absolutely powering along bashing through the swell.
It passed us pretty closely coming out of the south and disappearing into the north. We also saw the first lot of dolphins.

 

That evening, the wind started to pick up some more and although we didn’t know it the Sydney-Hobart fleet a few hundred miles south was copping a huge battering.

During the night the weather built up until we had quite a big blow. Rosalin and I were doing a watch with Ros steering when the boom jibed and tore the fitting off the deck. Ivan heard the noise and came up to survey the damage and was royally pissed off. He accused Ros of not steering properly so took over the steering himself. A few minutes later he managed to jibe the boom and tore the deck fittings off the other side. The wind built up to the point where we had put the first reef in the main. Col, Ivan and I had to get onto the deck while Ros steered. This accomplished it was not very long before it was decided to go to the second reef. Once again Col and I ventured up to the mast. It was the scariest thing of the whole trip. Neither of us had a life jacket or a life line and it was pitch dark on a slippery deck. Stupid really, but exhilarating.

The weather built up to a point where it was decided to drop the main altogether, however when we tried the topping lift was snagged somewhere. We couldn’t lower the main sail without lowering the boom and this was not acceptable as it would have crushed the canvas dodger. We ended up hanging the boom out over the side, lowering it onto the deck and lashing it in place. We were not going to need the main that night and figured it would be better to fix it all up in day light.

The best place to sleep was on the floor of the main cabin and this is where I spent my bunk time on the first and second nights of the voyage. The floor is virtually the pivotal centre of the boat and hence has the least violent motion. A good place to be if you feel a bit queasy which I did. Sitting up facing forward is OK but you have to sleep sometime.



 

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