Southern Lows are Tough Business

8 Mar

Noon Position: 47 19S  118 48W

Course: ESE 7; Wind: NW 21 – 34

Barometer: 997, falling

Sail: Working jib, heavily reefed.

Evening now. We’re in the heart of it, so just a quick note.

The barometer has been falling dramatically all day, from 1008mb at 2am to 995.5mb as I type. I’m hoping that’s the bottom, but I’ve been hoping that since 998mb.

Wind is *still* NW, which means that for hours now we’ve been stuck in the initial, NW phase of this low. I’m tired and wet through. A random sea struck Mo’s flank while I was in the cockpit chatting with Monte. A familiar sound. KATHWHACK! I duck but the wrong way, and great gallons of water slosh over my head and down my foulies. My last pair of dry fleece–no longer dry. One less thing to worry about.

I’ve been working the deck most of the day but can’t yet relax. The issue is Monte, or rather, the wind, which is cycling between 19 and 39. Monte feeds on apparent wind and speed through the water, and having both change so substantially within a 15 minute period is more than he’s designed to handle. I set his tiller lines one way, and we gybe loudly in the slower wind; another way and we race off, rounding up into the sea when wind increases. More sail, less sail; more tiller, less tiller–I’ve yet not found the balance.

The highly variable wind speed within lows is the most challenging environmental feature down here.

It’s starting to clear. Orion is now half above cloud. The wind howls. Back on deck.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage

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