Dramatic Wind Shift

2 Dec

Another difficult night. The long forecast front came through on schedule, for us about midnight. The wind would shift dramatically from Northwest to Southwest (approximately) with the only unknown being how strong the wind would be, and how rapid the directional change would be.

When it happened, it happened fast. The Wind had been at about 25 knots, and it went up to 41 knots (highest that I saw), and shifted very deliberately, so that our course (which was connected to the wind direction by the autopilot function) changed from an easterly course to a northerly course.

 Front South Atlantic


 Front passage

True Wind Speed and True Wind Direction

Our options were to tack or to gybe to get back to our southeast course. We chose the latter. These photos show our route and the data for True Wind Direction and True Wind Speed. (click each to enlarge).

After the gybe, the wind calmed to about 10 knots. Since we had 3 reefs, I hoisted the mainsail to 2 reefs, then unrolled the Solent jib, set up for the fractional gennaker, re-rolled the Solent, and unrolled the fractional gennaker. This was a nice combination, as the wind went back to 18/20 knots, and we headed off at anywhere from 12 knots to 19 knots. It was all erratic, but that’s what you get when you are that close to a big meteorological event.

I then went to sleep at the chart table. Hoisting that mainsail is a big job and I was tired. When I awoke, we were going along nicely, but we needed more sail, and over the course of the morning, I hoisted the mainsail to first reef, and then, after a granola breakfast, back up to full mainsail.

Each hoist between reefs is either 300 revolutions in the lowest gear, or 150 revolutions in the medium gear. The medium gear is really, really hard, sometimes just not doable. The Lowest gear is really hard, and sometimes your arms just do not want to do another revolution.

So my question for Dr. Barnewolt, or for Marti Shea, both on our Team of Experts: is there a point at which your muscles, biologically or chemically, will just stop and not do any more no matter how much your mind tells them to?

35° 24’S x 0° 28’E
128° True
9.7 knots
True Wind Speed
9.4 knots
True Wind Direction
253° True
Sail Plan
Full Mainsail, plus Fractional Gennaker
Air temperature
68° F / 20° C
Sea Temperature
67° F / 19.4° C

Winch Pedestal Revolutions (daily) Amp Hours: Alternator (total) Amp Hours: Solar (total) Amp Hours: Hydro (total) Amp Hours: Wind (total)
1928 1498 374 6577 1103

This article was syndicated from Ship’s Logs | sitesALIVE!


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