Last night we endured the warm front and strong winds of this depression. The barograph plummeted, the wind got up to 35-40 knots. We started with 3 reefs in the mainsail and the staysail. At 35 knots, our sail charts say that the staysail is still ok, but borderline. So to save the sail for the rest of the race, we went with the storm jib.
Earlier in the day, I had rigged the storm jib, and hoisted it to make sure everything was led properly. But then I lowered it and put it back in its deck bag. At dark I realized that was a mistake, and if we needed it in 35-40 knots of wind, that was not the time to be on the foredeck, in the dark, trying to hoist it. So up it went. And in the middle of the night, we needed it, and it was ready. And it did good work for us.
In these conditions,some will still be ‘racing’, but not me. For me it is preserve the boat and preserve the skipper. The conditions on board cannot be described, nor filmed. The boat is going fast and it is ricocheting off randomly oriented waves in an entirely unpredictable manner. It is violent. In the cabin we have 10 handholds all within reach. If one misses one, you might lose all your teeth, or crack your skull open if you go flying across the cabin. The boat might move 8 feet underneath you all of a sudden, and you’re either holding on, or you’re not. It’s utterly exhausting.
When I went to the foredeck before dark to hoist the roller furled storm jib, when I got to the mast, I crawled to the sail, and did all the connections on my hands and knees. This was by far safer than trying to stand up.
Anyway, we are now in the eye of the depression. The wind has slackened from 35-40 knots to 20 knots, and it will change direction dramatically before the cold front comes across and we are predicted to have 40-45 knots. At least that will be downwind. The 35 knots last night was upwind.
Wish us luck.
47° 51’S x 77° 40’E
True Wind Speed
True Wind Direction
Mainsail (2 reef) plus Solent
46.4° F / 8° C cockpit
45° F / 7.2° C
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