Into a Kingdom of Cloud

18 Mar

March 16, 2019/Day 163

Noon Position: 54 50S  83 53W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): ExS 7

Miles since departure: 22,411

Avg. Miles/Day: 138

I’m on edge. The day is eerie. Things are about to happen…

We have a good wind from NNW between 17 and 27 knots, which Mo takes just aft of the beam and on which we make a steady seven knots. It has held all day, this wind. But it is not meant to be, and everything points to change.

The barometer is falling steadily: 1000mb at 6AM; 996mb by noon; 993 by 6PM. The sky has been low and lead-like all day; clouds are not ragged yet, but smooth and flowing in long, dark streams. Occasionally, a pocket opens to reveal a complex network of towering cumuls and cirrus covering the heavens, but mainly we are under this low, variegated deck. There is a small sea running from the NW that becomes increasingly steeper. And above all, there is an odd, cathedralesque quiet that carries with it a sense of pent-up power and imminence. The feeling is of sailing into a world beyond the pale; possibly the gods live here.

The forecast–that fills in the gaps: a large and powerful low is approaching from the west. Its center is in the process of dropping in on top of us, thus the falling bar and the cloud. Soon wind will back dramatically and come to rest in the SSW. By morning we will be close hauled and fighting strong southerlies.

In fact, all of this was to begin hours ago. I’ve prepped the boat for heavy weather and shifted lines in preparation for a tack around.

But with a reverential hush and an eye to windward, we coast onward on a north wind and slide deeper and deeper into this strange kingdom of cloud.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


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