Finally, the promised wind to get across the eastern part of this depression has arrived. The torrential downpours, and regular downpours, have been replaced by bright blue sky and blue seas.

Dragonfly, a long way from land

When the wind did not occur as forecast yesterday evening, I tried to make a fast sail change to the big genoa. Whenever one does something in haste, mistakes are likely to occur, and they did. First, I hoisted the sail around 2 pieces of shock cord that come from the daggerboard to the mast. Instead of lowering the sail after the arduous hoist, I tried to untie the shock cord, but in the surging and swinging of the furled sail, it came out of my hand (the other was holding the halyard wrapped around the winch) and zing it went up and down in a heap. It’s not essential, but it was a mistake.

And then, when the sail was finally hoisted and ready to be unrolled, I forgot a safety lashing I put on the furling drum when I was afraid in a blow 3 or 4 days ago that it might come unrolled if something happened to the furling line. I ended up damaging the drum, and twisting the top plate of aluminum, such that I had to saw off with a small hack saw, two protrusions that would prevent it from rotating. It’s working ok now, but that’s a small mental error, that could have turned into a big mistake if the genoa was no longer available because the furler wasn’t working.

Fatigue clearly contributes to these mistakes. I think that I’ve commented on how I fell asleep while having a Skype with our Expert Murray Lister in New Zealand, and also how I fell momentarily asleep while recording one of our audio reports. A few nights ago, sitting at the chart table, looking at the navigation software, I was eating a slice of bread, and fell asleep for perhaps 30 seconds. I woke up, with a piece of bread in my mouth, partially chewed, un-swallowed, and not yet choked upon. That actually happened two more times, before I made a concerted effort to chew and swallow.

Regarding nutrition and hydration, see an email below, from Dr. Barnewolt (Expert), who was concerned that I wasn’t replacing glycogen stores rapidly after some of the monumental sail change sequences. It’s really interesting and has pushed me to eat and drink rapidly after those big efforts.

 I wanted to make sure you were recharging your glycogen stores adequately after your intense sessions of sail changes and that this is accompanied by an appropriate amount of hydration.

As you may recall from your training, and your marathon running days, long periods of intense exercise will actually begin to drop your glycogen storage in your liver. Glycogen is a stored form of carbohydrate and an immediate energy source the body draws on when needed. With prolonged exercise, the glycogen stores can be depleted. Continued depletion will result in intense fatigue – or at least add to the sense of fatigue.

My understanding of the research is that restoration is best accomplished within about 30 minutes of prolonged intense exercise with a combination of carbohydrate and protein. One of the very simplest ways to do this at home is to drink a large glass of chocolate milk- easy to make and it has the right protein/carbohydrate mix, and is rapidly absorbed. The recharge process is also dependent on proper hydration, which you know plenty about.

I am not sure how quickly you are recharging after intense activity – or if you even have the energy to eat, but thought I would make these points. I know you eat your fig Newtons, which is great. I also know you have Ensure on board. Here is a breakdown of Ensure vs Fig Newtons:

2 Fig Newtons: 100 calories, 2gm Fat, 20gm carbohydrate, 1gm protein
Powdered Ensure: 250 calories, 9gm Fat, 34gm carbohydrate, 9gm protein

Bottom line: After several hours of intense physical exercise, drinking THREE servings of Ensure within two hours of the exercise will help restore depleted glycogen stores. You could get similar caloric and carbohydrate replacement by eating TEN Fig Newtons, but the added protein in the Ensure is important in the whole process and is probably the better option. Of course a combination of the two is also possible, or even using other foods would work. The liquid nature of Ensure makes it simple to implement.

29° 52’S x 37° 02’W
41° True
10.1 knots
True Wind Speed
16 knots
True Wind Direction
Sails (click for diagram)
Mainsail (2 reefs), Staysail
Sea temperature
81°F / 27.2°C

Winch Pedestal Revolutions (daily) Amp Hours: Alternator (total) Amp Hours: Solar (total) Amp Hours: Hydro (total) Amp Hours: Wind (total)
5371 1752 20,417 3081