South

10 Feb

Day 89

Noon Position: 49 22S 28 14E

Course/Speed: E5

Wind: N20-25

Sail: Staysail and main

Bar: 987

Sea: NW10

Sky: Drizzle and Fog

Cabin Temp: 51

Water Temp: 40

Miles last 24-hours: 109

Longitude Miles Made Good: 83

Miles since departure: 11,945

South, south the wind keeps pushing us until we bottom out at 49 23S at 10amf. The fog is inescapable, and even the birds have given up and gone elsewhere. Not a soul down here but us.

Then ever so slowly the wind turns into the north and hardens, first to 20, then 30, then 35.

We are still close hauled to make a little better than east. I reef the main once, twice, three times; then the jib. Finally I change to the small orange staysail and main with three reefs. That is comfortable and fast.

Seas are steep and break readily. Water everywhere. When on the foredeck on all fours letting go the staysail gaskets, I break a cardinal rule, which says never stick your leg out toward the weather rail. A sea climbs aboard and into my foulies to the knee, then back down into my boot. Lucky–left leg only. Another time a sneaker wave throws me bodily against the shrouds. Water down my front. I’m wet all over.

By 3pm I’ve seen 38 and 40 on the meter where the forecast calls for a flat 30. We are too fast at 8 knots and I don’t know where this wind is going. I drop the main and button her up for a blow. This is a task in a big sea, dropping the heavy boom to its crutch without losing control, lashing the cradle cover where the main likes to blow out in higher winds. It takes a solid hour. Now we are running under staysail only.

As reward for our hard work, winds drop to 25 and the sky is clears. Our speed, 4 knots. We wallow.

I am beat. I have lunch, a can of tomato soup with a can of whole fish bought in Ushuaia. Then I go back on deck, drop the staysail and let out half the working jib and again make a course east at a respectable speed.

The sun makes the sea sharp and clear. Above it, now, are Albatross, count them, six, eight, ten. Black browed, gray headed and Wandering.

Sail set, I go below, change into dry clothes and nap lightly for two hours.

Sundown. Winds are easting a bit and have pushed a little south into our course. To weather, a dark mass. Phase two approaches…

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage

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