Phase Two

11 Feb

Day 90

Noon Position: 48 55S 31 41E

Course/Speed: NE7

Wind: W30, gusts to 40

Sail: Storm Jib

Bar: 1002

Sea: NW12

Sky: Clear

Cabin Temp: 50

Water Temp: 41

Miles last 24-hours: 150

Longitude Miles Made Good: 141

Miles since departure: 12,095

The front, dark and heavy, moved through with rain, but not much more wind than we’d had. That was at 6pm. Two hours later I put the storm jib back up. Winds had moved to a steady 30 knots and the barometer was still dropping. By midnight you could feel that the weather was on us by the roar in the rigging. The wind gauge oscillated 20 – 40 knots, due west. A note in the log fron 1am says, “Wind ranges are stunning. Blowing 17 to 45 now but the running average is 35-40. One gust to 50 so far.” At 2am I thought I’d seen what this blow had in mind. I’d not touched the storm jib sheet or Monte’s control lines in several hours, so I hit the sack.

The morning came on clear and wind howled. The sea, now mature, ran high from the west with smaller trains from the southwest and northwest. Mo got shoved around as if she weighed like a bird.

In the late afternoon, the wind began to ease, and then the swell stood up and started to break. This is the dangerous time, and I was keen not to repeat the knockdown Mo and I experienced in the Pacific back in December at a similar point in that gale. That event happened at night, so what the dynamics were, in fact, are not to be known, but I think I was pushing a course that put the boat too beam onto one of trains.

Here we had a dominant west and a smaller northwest swell, and the later was again beam on. I adjusted Monte as best I could, trying to take the west swell a little to port without being even with the northwest train. This mostly worked. A few seas caught Mo just out of step but only one broke bodily onto her, pushing her over and (somehow) opening a galley cupboard. The contents, dishes, flatware, and that evening’s beer, flew toward the head. The can of beer exploded against the bulkhead. One dish fragmented into a million pieces; I know because I had to lift them from the floor by hand, having misplaced the dustpan. No water in the boat.

Now it is evening and the sea is down. The working jib is out and pulling and we make a happy 7 knots in a 25 knot breeze.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage

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