The weather has been rougher than we would have liked with 15/25 knt winds and seas generally 4 - 5 metre swells with the odd set coming through at 6+ metre just to keep you on your toes. The main problem with the seas is the chop on top of the swell that slams the boat at times. Unfortunately the weather conditions have taken a heavy toll on the rally fleet with 12 out of the 26 vessels retiring as on this morning's radio schedule with gear failure, structural problems or sea sickness. It is a great shame that so many boats have had problems and we really feel for them as everyone has put a huge effort into getting themselves and their vessels ready for the trip. Our friends Mark & Susan off La Scandell have had to retire from the rally but may leave Cairns on Wednesday to rejoin if repairs can be completed. Obviously we are hoping that they can still make it and if they do we will wait for them at Duchateau Island - the rally's first planned landfall.
We are sailing conservatively with sail area reduced to a point where the boat's motion isn't too bad and the stresses on the boat are minimised, but it is still a rough ride at times. All on board have found their sea legs and we are able to get plenty of sleep which is essential with doing night watches. Our boat "Lettin'Go" is handling the conditions fairly well with just a few minor leaks around some of the fixed windows when the decks are awash with sea water. We will see if we can do a temporary fix once we get to Duchateau as the conditions don't allow for that now. Patrick and I have had to go out on deck a couple of times and it has been difficult getting around. We wear harnesses and are always clipped on when on deck so it is only for urgent things that we go on deck for. We have both managed to get minor injuries to the feet while on deck in these conditions, nothing serious but a reminder to be careful.
Managed to catch a tuna while leaving Cairns out the Grafton Passage through the reef but have decided not to put lines out again until the weather settles as it is too dangerous to be landing and filleting fish in these conditions. The forecast is for a change on Wednesday to very little wind so we will need to motor if it stays to forecast.
Will do another update once we are anchored at Duchateau. If it is not on the blog by Wednesday evening, don't panic about our whereabouts as it probably just means that we didn't get to the anchorage before 4pm and are standing off the reef until Thursday to enter with the right conditions.
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