Sam Davies: "I think I hit my Vendée Globe version of the “wall”"
The British sailor, who left with the firm intention of completing her circumnavigation of the world out of the race, has just passed the antimeridian. These last few days were hectic since they had to face many problems.
"I’m not a runner, but I’ve heard that in marathon there is a moment that is called “hitting the wall” or something like that.... anyway, over the last 2 days I think I hit my Vendée Globe version of the “wall”.
It started with a gremlin switching off the wind information that my autopilot was using - obviously whilst I was asleep, it was pitch dark and blowing 30 knots! The resulting “pirouette” was high tariff, requiring a bit of work to get back on track, but luckily without damage. I also managed to find the fault and correct it in my electronics so all good there!
The next event was discovering that my keel ram boot had slipped off.... and the area surrounding it was flooded .... so had to tack the boat to get it out of the water, pump out and resecure the ram boot back on.
Whilst in the keel zone, I did my routine check and discovered that the ram head (the part that attached to the keel) is unscrewing from the ram... this is impossible to re-tighten at sea, so the solution was to create a system to block it and prevent it from unscrewing further. Some grinding, glueing and laminating later the ram was secured. Luckily, by coincidence I was in a zone with very little wind.
The ram now has more play in it than usual, and so my keel is a bit “noisy” which was a bit worrying, so I also carried out a lot of checks to make sure the noise is only coming from the keel bearings moving and no other problem. All good!
Writing this, It seems so simple to fix these few problems, but out here, alone, with the accumulated fatigue and stress from sailing halfway round the world (and also already breaking the keel area once!) this episode has totally exhausted me. It just felt like every time I had fixed one issue another one sprang up. The ones I wrote here were also coupled with a heap of smaller issues, plus cutting myself whilst working (only a minor cut!).... Thank goodness, I am not alone and I have the amazing support and encouragement from my shore team who have been working night and day to find the solutions to the problems and help me fix everything the best I can out here.
Now all is secure, I am reassured that my ram should survive the rest of the way, and I am able to rest a bit to recover. Luckily the weather is being kind to me and the conditions are OK. I have a couple of days respite before the next depression!
Oh - and the good news is that I was so busy I passed one of my “milestones” without realising - I am now in Longitude West as I have passed the Antimeridian or “international date line” and so I have gained a day!! or lost one... depending on which way you look at it!
I really am on my way home now!
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