31.12.06 – a dreadful New Year’s Eve

We did 180 miles yesterday with 1 reef, in a very steady 20 knot NNE breeze. Our best 24 hour run for a while. The wind is still ahead of the beam after 3 weeks. Unbelievable.

Now it is raining steadily and the wind is rising. We have an increasingly lumpy NNE swell. We’ve rolled in the yankee and are doing 8-9 kts under staysail and double reefed main. 

I burnt my leg tonight when cooking the pasta – while I was doing an al dente check the boat lurched and half a pot of boiling water splashed onto me. Absolutely my fault, but it helped to blame David. I’m feeling sorry for myself at the moment, but you can put up with a lot when you’re going fast in the desired direction.

Knee3

A brief chat with “Inspired Insanity” beforehand had been sobering, to say the least. Donna is approaching Cape Horn alone, in her 28 foot boat. I was almost embarrassed to tell her Tainui’s waterline length, how many of us were on board, how many songs we had on the iPod, and our relatively sub-tropical latitude.

By 11 it was blowing hard. At midnight, when we should have been letting off our fireworks, we were dragging down the reefed main in very strong winds. I got through that exercise with only a subungual hematoma.

The New Year’s Eve frontal system, which we had plotted and were expecting, moved through at great speed. Steep irregular seas followed close upon one another. As a measure of the state of things, I need only say that Dave had to come aft from the forepeak to sleep lee-clothed into the saloon settee berth. This has never happened before.

Tainui was comfortable (even if we were not), under storm staysail alone with 40 kts of wind on the port quarter. Unpleasant seas though, and we were lurching all over the place.

At 3am while I was having a pee, the boat took a fat wave hard on the port beam. I was thrown to leeward, I burst out through the toilet door with a 3½ back somersault with pike across the saloon. Degree of difficulty 4.7. An audible cracking sound in left chest wall, expletives undeleted, much pain and back to bed with more drugs. Now as well as big blisters on my thigh I’m nursing 2 fractured ribs whose ends grind together as I move.

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