Well after my indecision to shake a reef out yesterday after I emailed the blog home I needed to go on deck and put a gybe in. while I was up there doing that, I noticed a nasty black cloud. My first instinct was to put the third reef back in and as I have always been taught if you are thinking about reefing just reef. So, I took the boat back up to wind and put the third reef back in. I was still sailing in about 15 knots but this cloud was closing fast.
As soon as I put the reef in I was slammed with a 27-knot gust. I was quietly patting myself on the back thinking of how well behaved I have been with my reefs and not pushing the boat. A few minutes later after a few slightly smaller gusts the wall of rain hit and all the wind was sucked away again. I was back to sailing in 10 knots with 3 reefs in the main...
The sun had set and night was falling fast. I was starting to get really annoyed at myself. I could have easily handled 27 knots with the double reefed main sail but in the interest of not straining the boat I have now wasted all that energy in putting the reef back in only to have to take it right back out again.
However, another little trick I live by is to always have a cup of tea before you shake a reef out. Wind can be fickle and the changes short lived so as a rule you should at least wait the duration of time it would take for you to make a cup of tea and drink it.........about 30 min. So, given it was dark now I thought that I would have dinner and then can re-assess. I have been waiting for this forecast wind to arrive so was still expecting it.
Sure enough as soon as I finished eating dinner, or my metaphorical cup of tea I was happily sailing along in 30-35 knots of wind. My sails were already the right size for the winds so I had no need to go back on deck in the dark and put that reef back in... Win Win .....I just have to remember to have some patience.
The strong winds were around all night, along with 4-6m swell but Climate Action Now was handling it great. Things were a bit bumpy and I could hear some water sloshing around in the bilge so I didn'tget to sleep until after midnight again, but when I did sleep it was a good one.
So I crawled out of bed around 10am local time (lady of leisure I know!) had some breakfast and set about some chores of the day. The winds were still up and the boat was sailing along nicely so I mostly attended to the water in the bilges and sponged them dry. It is not unusual for a boat to get water in the bilges it comes in through the hatches and down the mast so every few days I will be sponging the water out. This does however take some time when your going 10-12 knots on little surfs down the waves and the boat is bucking around.
Task completed. I thought that I would go on deck and just spend some time watching the boat sail. It is a wonderful thing to see and something that I can spend hours doing. Just staring at the waves and watching the bird glide on the surface and my girl surf.
While on deck today amongst all the grey, grey sky and the grey sea I noticed a flash of black and white... A dolphin or something similar popped out of the wave beside me and aside from the size looked exactly like a killer whale. It was however much much smaller than I expected. I began looking for more, wondering if this was indeed a killer whale, an animal I would so love to see in the wild. All of a sudden there were about 20 of them surfing down the wave beside me. Some were rolling over to get a better look at the boat and others taking little jumps to see. They did not stay to play but had a good look and carried on but it did put a big smile on my face.
They also took the wind with them because not 5 minutes later my lovely 25 knots dropped right off to 10 knots and I was back in the same battle of yesterday. To shake a reef or not shake a reef... I new that there was a change coming as the winds were forecasted to back from the NW to the SW so I decided to roll around and go slow again until the shift came in completely and then re-assess. So just on sunset I put a gybe in with the boats new course of ESE and while I could use a little more breeze I am sailing okay in 18 knots so I will likely hold with the 3 reefs overnight.
It is also now time for me to dive south to get in position for the bottom of Tasmania and New Zealand so over the next few days I will be making my way to down to 50 S. It will likely get alot colder but this is the latitude that I will be spending most of my time during this circumnavigation so I best get use to it...
Good night all.