3 May – Diary update: Cape town to the start of the race

The first 36 hours were characterized by a light to non-existent NW and big sea that had not featured in any forecast that I had read! I managed a whole 65.5 miles in the first 24 hours or which three were motoring when I couldn’t stand the slapping of sails anymore. The next day saw a bit of a W fill in which made things more pleasant although I was hard on the wind to get offshore to where I expected to find more wind. I managed 129 miles on day 2. During the night of day 2, the SE came in and how welcome it was. I packed away my code zero, took in a reef on the main and genoa, and poled the genoa out. Then it was simply a case of reefing or unreefing both sails to keep a good balance and make sure I didn’t break anything. The wind has seldom dropped below 20 knots and has been around 23 on average which gave me the opportunity to do 148 miles on day 3. More like it. I’ve made muffins, and a few more savory meals and so far haven’t had to discard any! The boat is creaking like my grandmother’s bones, but otherwise everything seems to be working well. The constant motion takes some getting use to as we’re doing a fair bit of rolling downhill with two different swell directions. I thought only the Indian Ocean was like this? Ellen is dealing with it like a champ and I haven’t touched the tiller for two days now. The nights have been cold but the stars and planets have been spectacular, especially with no moon. The days are warming up now with the sea temperature nearly 20C. I’m slowly working out a sleep routine after a rough first night where there wasn’t enough wind for Ellen to steer and I’m no longer setting my alarm, rather a stopwatch to see how often I’m naturally waking up. It seems like 53 minutes is a regular number, why? I have no idea. I’ve seen one ship in two days and I swear it altered course just to give me a hard time. It’s quite weird being so silent after all the talking and socializing I’ve been doing lately. Cathartic.

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