Painting a white line across a big, blue canvas


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Oceans and Seas » Indian
October 11th 2008
Published: November 15th 2008
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Direction Island, Cocos (Keeling) Atoll


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1: Zach at the helm 35 secs
We are in the middle of the Indian Ocean, it's the middle of the night, and it is very, very dark and stormy.

The tricky thing about sailing in a storm in the dead of night is learning how to not suffer from vertigo. When the stars are blacked out, you can only steer by the compass, and as you fly through the water at 12 knots, no matter how hard you try to stay on course, inevitably you will feel the sensation that the boat is veering off course. Dizziness often starts to set in and the struggle to steer a straight path gets tougher and tougher.

In reality, you'll probably doing a whole lot better than you think. Relax and breathe. Long deep breaths. Trust the compass. And it's probably best not to look up.

The lights from the instruments display all kinds of data for you to take into consideration - apparent wind speed, apparent wind angle, true wind speed and angle, magnetic heading, course over ground, speed through the water, speed over ground, cross-track error, distance to waypoint, bearing to waypoint, the list goes on and on - and they cast eerie green and
The sushi bar is now openThe sushi bar is now openThe sushi bar is now open

The reigning Iron Chef serves up something fresh.
red glows around the cockpit. There is a light on the top of the mast, and otherwise, that's all you can see. We have the main sail reefed twice and the genoa poled out on the opposite side but they are just grey blobs hovering above you.

You can barely see your hands and the wheel they are grasping, but you spin it anyway to maneuver down a wave face, then grope around for the centre spoke to return to course. The boat is lively however, and she responds to every ounce of pressure you exert on her wheel, carving and slicing her way through the wild, black seas.

The noise is incredible. It sounds like the boat is ready to become airborne. As the boat accelerates down the waves, there is an unmistakable roar - and you can usually tell exactly how fast the boat is going by this sound. As we approach 15 knots, it becomes more of a hum. We managed to set the boat's new speed record of 18.5 knots (34 km/h through the water) one evening and the sound was bordering on terrifying.

The Indian Ocean has reminded me that a sea
TomfooleryTomfooleryTomfoolery

The weekly shower is a big event for all on board.
voyage is as much art as it is adventure. By applying skills learned by study and practice, sailing is the conscious arrangement of forms (sails) and movements (steering) in a medium (a big, blue ocean) that affects the sense of beauty. The white line we leave behind is a perfect expression of freedom and movement - on a canvas thousands of miles wide.

Below are photos while crossing the Indian Ocean (or as I call it, the Indico Project) from Bali to Ile de la Reunion. I hope you enjoy them!


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1st December 2008

Amazing!
That was a wonderful blog, and although a little scarey, it brought tears to my eyes. Once again, well done, and you look well and even more handsome! Take care, as always, and enjoy the festive season coming up! Love, Mum.

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