This vent location was a bad idea. It now remains closed at high seas.
Cezeriye is a sweet treat. Half of this box was soaked with salt water.
December 20, 2007 - Day 164 8.2110N,165.5268W
The rough sloshy seas of yesterday kept me out all day. The boat has more windage at its rear with the cabin, which makes its handling very difficult when winds average 25 knots or above. The wind, as well as the overtaking waves try to shift the stern to one side, then they keep pushing to keep the stern on that same side. The rudder is useful to stop that initial shift, but once the boat turns past a critical angle, then it is hard rudder and hard rowing which eventually corrects the bearing downwind. Needless to say, rowing at an angle to the wind becomes more and more difficult with increasing wind speed.
As I tried to put some more west into my course, I kept receiving rogue waves from my starboard side. These splashed and pushed and threatened my boat all day. These waves would be driven by the wind, running as a crescent shaped wave front tallest and strongest in the center. However when one crescent ovelapped with another, and many of these occurred around, the resulting seas would be a mess.
I received waves from the sides, often lifting my bow or stern and changing my heading up to 45-degrees. It was not unusual to have one rear up right at my stern, perhaps 6-7 meters trough to crest, then to dump forward just as the wave crest passed under my boat. There would be white water roaring next to my boat, darting it forward perhaps 40-50 meters at 7-10 knot speed, while the pressure of the water on either side would gush warm ocean water on my deck past the scuppers. That joy ride was always accompanied with the feeling that I was not in control, and the best that I could do was to line up the stern well at the beginning.
The same waves bumping me from the starboard, tipped my boat to port side. In order to not get knocked off my seat, I would push the port side oar handle along its length, making it impossible to take the blade out of the water. The accelerating boat would drive past the blade, wrenching the oar handle past me, torquing my right wrist and elbow each time this scenario happened.
At night I was not going to take a chance with rowing, but the seas required being outside, or else I had to deploy the para-anchor. I tied the oars and stared all night at the compass to correct by the rudder. The effect of tilling the rudder had a delay to it, since the boat corrected on the rear side of the waves as it rushed. I could keep my focus on the compass for about seven hours, which was when the halfmoon also started getting low on the sky. I had to sleep.
The wind seemed to have flattened a bit, maybe I could let the boat be? Add that to our favorite list of "famous last words!"
On the 19th, the boat tipped perhaps 60-degrees. This time I woke up on the ceiling, then the boat snapped back upright dropping me on the mattress. The roll to starboard had to be 120 to 150-degrees. The holds under my mattress which simply have a plywood lid had opened and dumped their contents.
I made a quick assessment of what had happened. I had set my alarm for two hours of sleep, it was about 2 a.m. local time meaning I had only one hour of sleep before the capsize. I had set the boat to receive the wind from starboard side, but the wave had attacked me from the port. When I checked outside, I saw that I was taking the wind from port side. One spare solar panel which had been tied at one end, was now flagged across my cabin door.
The deck was clean. The trip line and rode line for my para-anchor were strewn all over my starboard side oarlocks. I hoped that the lines did not tangle around the rudder somehow requiring a dive. The contents between my rowing seat tracks tucked under my chartplotter housing had been washed away. Those included one grocery bag of meticulously collected plastic trash, one ziplock bag full of GU energy gel packets, another with Cytomax fluid replacement packets and a sponge. Everything else had been tied down fortunately. I could reorganize the deck next, after the cabin.
Looking back inside, I noticed a wet spot on the starboard forward corner where I had opened a vent hole. Sea water had come in, much of it collected by the sponge of my pillow, and a couple gallons had filled the hold by that corner. In those high seas, I had to empty the hold a cup at a time through the open cabin door, then fetch another sponge to wipe it dry. Fortunately, the water did not get beyond the first hold and I could dry the rest later.
I stepped outside after closing the vent hole, making the cabin watertight. With the anchor light and headlamp, I gathered the spare solar panel, and coiled the anchor lines rather than laying them to one side. Then I sat out again to till the rudder. By the morning, the wind had backed down to 15-20 knots, and I could catch another two hours of sleep.
Rowing felt like punishment today, my back feeling as though I had carried a ton of bricks up two flights. Just sitting in one fixed position for so long in a rocking boat is a very strenuous task it turns out...
One item which was partially submerged, was a box of "cezeriye" brought by my main sponsor AKTAŞ Group to San Francisco when they came to send me off. A sweet treat made from baby carrots, walnuts, spices and coated with shredded coconuts, this special Turkish delight was a favorite of mine, which I was saving for my celebration on the Equator.
When a sponsor asks, "what do you miss, is there anything you would like from home?" - that sponsor has a special place in my heart and the relationship has the warmth of a family.
Alas, I had to open the cezeriye box to find half the contents soaked with salt water. I ate a bit of the salty sweets, finding them a bit too salty and dumped them at sea. I cleaned my pallet with the uneffected sweets, and washed it down with some coffee. Now let's hope I can get to the Equator.