Race 6 - Day 2
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Crew Diary - Hobart to Whitsundays, Australia
Three days wasn't long enough to stay in Hobart. What
a fantastic place, and a fantastic welcome we received from everyone local with
whom we came into contact. I had easily my most memorable New Year party, and a
wonderfully relaxed New Tear's Day stroll among the stalls of the Taste Of Tasmania.
But we're on a time line here, and as much as I'd easily have spent another month exploring Tasmania, we had to set off on 2 January. I didn't get to wave the docks goodbye as we motored out as I am part of the "human throttle" we have had to set up since Cloughie bust the throttle lever in a fit of excitement at the start of the Sydney-Hobart. We'll get it fixed in Airlie Beach, but for now the helmsman has to shout "Full Ahead!" (for example) to a relay at the top of the steps, who shouts it to a relay below decks, who shouts it to the stoker in the engine room (either me or Ed Deacon), who then manually adjusts the throttle setting.
A relaxed sunny downwind first evening has been replaced by stormier stuff for the last two days. Our third crossing of the Bass Strait was fairly routine; better conditions than the first, worse than the second. We're now bashing up the coast into wind, at a familiar angle.
Yesterday, we were cycling through speeds of 11, 12, 13, 14 knots, when there was a thump from within the fabric of the boat and we couldn't get more than five or six knots out of the old girl. A look over the side confirmed that something big and draggy was jammed on the front of the keel. Martin hove the boat to, and then gybed it through 360, and the unfortunate organism that had adhered to us, fell away into the depths. Tzen Chia, who was on the helm when the marine murder occurred, was inconsolable, particularly as we spent some time suggesting the many different smiling and intelligent mammals which could have been the victim of her hit and run.
Hobart is the turning point for me. It was the most southerly piece of land we will set foot on during this trip, and it marked the start of the New Year. It is now 2016 and we're headed North, for the Equator, and home. The last four months has flown by; I am expecting the next seven to do the same.
Everyone is well, and we're back in the routine of our watches. I was sad to learn that Murat left us in Tasmania. I didn't have a chance to say goodbye -- Goodbye, Murat, I wish you well for 2016. We also wish Peter Rice well, and hope that he is recovering and readying himself to rejoin us in Airlie Beach. Happy New Year, Pete. Finally, to all my family and friends, and all followers of Unicef, I wish you all a Happy New Year from the Tasman Sea.