Well last night was a bit of a long night at sea. No gigantic storms however the complete opposite and almost as difficult. Some frustratingly light winds blowing in from the South. The winds were jumping from 5 knots to 12 knots all throughout the night and then a squally looking cloud would develop over the horizon and I would be sailing in 20 knots.
Squalls are like a very small localized low pressure system and tend to pack some wind just at the beginning of the clouds, followed by some heavy rain in the middle and then back to no wind on the other side. The squalls that I was getting last night weren’t nearly as bad as the ones I have experienced in the tropics but they always require a sail change. In my case I need to furl away a bit of sail on the pro-furler and then once the system has passed, 20-30 minutes later, un-furl the sail again so that I have some control of the boat in the waves.
At some point you need to make a decision on what is a happy medium for the amount of sail you have up and suck it up. This means you go extra slow in the light wind bits but you aren’t pushing the limits of the sails in the heavy wind sections. It also meant that I was getting woken up quite a bit last night, mostly in the light wind sections as I could hear the sails flop from one side of the boat to the other with each wave rolling underneath the boat. The swell is around 4 meters so it is certainly enough to rock the boat and dump the wind out of the sails.
The windy and windless conditions have maintained all day today with the squalls dotting the horizon around me. At sunset, there were 4 different squalls around me. The barometer is also really high at the moment at 1032mb which tells me I am in an area of a high-pressure system.
This was one of the reasons that I have been diving south over the last few days. If I was to have gone straight east a few days ago we would have sailed right into the middle of this high and I would be drifting around completely becalmed. As it stands we are now around the main part of the High-pressure system and I have altered course to 070 degrees and will begin to climb back up to the North. I need to get 'up' so that I can get around the large swells being generated from the low-pressure system to the South. As Bob from METBob, who does all my weather and routing, would say 'we are always dodging something'.
So aside from a long night of minimal sleep, I have been acting as if I am on holidays in this light weather. Not a single tack or Gybe in days, no reefs in or out, just a little furling and un-furling. I am not complaining as I would much rather these conditions than dealing with the survival of myself and the boat in a storm. I have found that I was getting a touch bored though and I seem to have taken that boredom out on my stomach. I have been eating something consistently all day. I will likely come back twice the size with all this sitting around and eating.
Currently I have 13 knots of wind from the SSE which has given me a good angle to sail to the ENE for the next day or so. Despite the winds I have been making good speeds most of the day except for about 2 hours this afternoon when the winds were below 5 knots, even then I was sailing at 4 knots...
Anyway, I have been relishing the relaxing time that I have had as I know that it will not last and will likely have another blow coming through by Tuesday so I will make the most of it while it lasts.
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