Update #60 - 31st December 2000 (5.00am AEDST, 6.00pm local time)
Position - 26°43' S, 09°59' W

Air temperature - 32 degrees
Water temperature - 26.3 degrees

More rig problems!!!

This morning I was at the mast area and had a look at the rigging. I was horrified to find that the starboard D1 had 2 broken strands of wire at deck level and at least 1 broken on the other end, up the mast. The kicker is that the V1 has done a strand in as well!!!! For the uninitiated: the wire used in the rigging is called 1x19 because it consists of 19 small diameter stainless wires wrapped around each other to form 1 complete wire. If 1 strand breaks then the way I understand it, is you lose MORE then 1/19th of its strength. The D1 is the wire that goes from the deck, diagonally to the mast at the first set of spreaders. The V1 is the wire that leaves the deck vertically and makes its way to the top of the mast. Both these wires are expected to take BIG loads.

I have just spent the whole day on remedial work. I have a spare set of D1's on board but a size down from the one that has failed (3/8"). I have changed the D1 on the starboard side (the opposite side to my other rig problems a month or so ago) and rigged cascade block & tackle purchase systems as back up in case either fails.

Poor old "Sal" is trussed up like she's got five broken legs and a crook back thrown in. I climbed the mast to the top set of spreaders, looking for the same problem elsewhere but couldn't see any more drama. I could not ask anymore of Whalespar who built the rig. They did a wonderful job. In fact the D1's were increased in size just prior to leaving at the insistence of John Denton. Maybe the extreme cold combined with the shock loads of the Southern Ocean are not a good combination. Anyhow, I've had a huge day physically (lucky I'm an elite athlete ..... ha ha) and we survive to bat on a bit further.

We have the world's biggest, slowest moving high pressure system sitting right on top of us, which means NO WIND! Whilst I carried out repairs today, I had all sails down, and still do, as there is a "glassout" on the ocean. I had a big day yesterday - ran the motor to make sure it goes and did a few odd jobs on it, did my first lot of washing (I mixed the colours and the whites!), serviced the main halyard winch, dried out my bunk cushion and went on a trip of discovery in the inner recesses of my bunk area.

A rain squall dropped by but by the time I rigged my rain catcher it had bolted (only got 1 litre), so then spent a couple of hours fine tuning the catcher so lookout the next squall that comes my away, the catcher will be out and on with blinding speed (I hope).

The last couple of days have seen light headwinds so progress has been slowed again. We are about 690 miles from St Helena Island and if I'm lucky, I might be there on Holly's (my daughter) 9th Birthday on 6th January. As I write, the East Coast of Australia will be thinking about waking up and getting ready for the festivities tonight to celebrate New Year.

Have fun everyone,

Tony Mowbray